Take The Reins was founded five years ago to encourage young people from all backgrounds to consider a career in racing. The racing industry has a constant need for new staff and there seemed to be a huge pool of young people unware of the range of opportunities available.
Take The Reins has taken hundreds of young people for days out at the races and visits to racing yards. Richard Fahey Racing in North Yorkshire has given young people the opportunity to get up close to the horses and talk to people that look after them day in day out. Many of those that work in a racing yard do not ride horses, but they still look after their every day needs and take them racing. The young people visiting have a chance to speak to their peers – all around the same age – and hear about the courses and apprenticeships available. A fully-funded residential course is an option for those wanting to care for horses with continued learning available once attached to a racing yard.
Groups of young people from Lambeth and Brixton have also had the opportunity to visit Lingfield Park Resort, which houses Britain’s busiest racecourse, a hotel and a golf course. Many of these young people had never left their Borough before so this was a huge occasion for them. They got to see the horses in action but also to understand there are hundreds of jobs available in the racing industry. It is possible to work as ground-staff or in catering, marketing, finance or public relations.
As an industry, racing is very open and understands that it needs to engage with new audiences. Even if the young people don’t end up taking a career in racing this program affords them an unprecedented insight. They have seen first-hand how well cared for the horses are and how much the staff love working with them. Take The Reins hopes the young people leave with a positive experience of the industry and that they may even pick up the racing bug.