frequently asked questions

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What is the Riding A Dream Academy?


The Riding A Dream Academy has been established to help young people aged 14-18 from underrepresented groups and communities get involved in British horseracing. We are particularly focused on riders who do not have their own pony and have learned to ride at an urban equestrian centre. The Academy runs two programmes – the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship which is a year-long programme for talented riders, and the Riding A Dream Residential Week which acts as a fun and interactive introduction to the sport. Both are free, riding-based programmes which will take place at the British Racing School in Newmarket.




What is the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship?


The Scholarship takes place over the course of a year and starts with an introductory week at the British Racing School from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th August. Thereafter there will be 11 monthly sessions at the British Racing School starting on Friday evenings through to Saturday afternoon. These sessions will include riding and horse care sessions and the chance to take part in paid work experience at a top yard in Newmarket. If you’ve taken part in pony racing before, we will try to arrange additional races for you. At the end of the Scholarship you will come out with a 1st4Sport Level 1 Award in the Structure and Organisation of the Horseracing industry and will be supported to take your next step within racing.




Who can apply for the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship and how?


There are 8 places available for the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship which aims to support young people aged 14-18 from underrepresented groups and communities get involved in British horseracing. We particularly welcome applications from those who have learned to ride at an urban equestrian centre, don't have their own pony and those from minority ethnic groups. To apply you need to complete the application form by Monday 14th June.




What does the Residential week involve?


It is a fun, week-long introduction to British horse racing which will include riding the British Racing School horses, learning how to look after them and getting specialist training from the team of friendly experts at the school. There will also be trips to the races; the chance to visit top yards and meet some of the famous faces from the world of racing.




Who can go on the Riding A Dream Residential Week?


There are 8 places available for the first Riding A Dream Residential Week for riders aged 14-18 from who come from a non-horsey background, do not have a pony and ride at an urban equestrian centre. The first week which will take place from Monday 2nd to Friday 6th August and there will be a second week in 2022.




Where will the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship and Residential Week take place?


Both the Scholarship and the Residential Week take place at the British Racing School (BRS) in Newmarket, Cambridgeshire.




When does it all take place?


  • The Residential Week takes place from Monday 2nd August to Friday 6th August.
  • The Scholarship starts on Monday 23rd August with a week long residential at the British Racing School (BRS) until Friday 27th August. Thereafter, the Scholarship will include monthly sessions at the BRS which will begin on Friday evenings and finish Saturday afternoons.




How will I get to and from the British Racing School ?


We can arrange transport for you to and from the Academy in line with the British Racing School’s transport policy. Please drop us a line to discuss your needs.




I don’t have all my own riding kit


We know that not everyone will have all their own kit. Once you have been accepted onto the Scholarship or the Residential Week, we will be in touch with you to find out what you might need and we will then provide as much of it as possible for you, free of charge.




What about coronavirus?


We are very conscious of the ongoing threat of coronavirus and the need to keep everyone involved in the Academy safe. We appreciate that we may have to change the Academy dates if new Government restrictions are put in place. The British Racing School has been operating throughout the pandemic, in line with Government guidance, and has implemented covid-protocols throughout the site to help minimise the risks. Please email us to find out more.




What is the British Racing School (BRS) like?


The British Racing School is based in Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, the headquarters of British horseracing. It runs a variety of horseracing courses throughout the year for people from all different walks of life and is particularly focused on training and nurturing talented young people. With its state of the art facilities, on site yard and accommodation and expert team of staff, the BRS is the perfect place to start your racing career.




What is the accommodation like ?


Both the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship and the Riding A Dream Residential Week take place at the British Racing School where onsite accommodation is provided. Rooms are a combination of single and twin bedded and all have en-suite facilities. There is a Staff Flat located in the Hostel and this allows for 24 hour supervision. All meals will be provided by the BRS catering team.




What safeguarding polices are in place?


The Academy programmes will take place at the British Racing School (BRS) in Newmarket whose full safeguarding policy is available here and that of the sport's governing body, the British Horseracing Authority, here. All of the staff at the BRS are trained in safeguarding and there is a designated safeguarding lead, together with a member of staff on site 24/7 to ensure that all attendees are safe and protected from harm. We will do everything possible to keep everyone taking part in the Riding A Dream Academy safe and well, and every reasonable measure will be taken to prevent accidents whilst at the BRS. However, as with any sport and one that involves horses, we do have to make sure that you and your parents / guardians are aware of the hazards and risks involved in working with racehorses.




It’s important that I am able to practice my religion whilst I’m on an Academy programme


We’ll make every effort to accommodate your religious beliefs and practices whilst you’re on one of the Academy programmes at the British Racing School including setting aside a dedicated prayer room and providing alternative menus within the canteen. We’ll also help to arrange for you to attend a local place of worship if you wish.




How is the Academy funded?


We are very grateful to the Racing Foundation for kindly funding the Riding A Dream Academy in 2021/22 as part of a pilot year. The Foundation supports charitable work in the areas of equine welfare, people, community engagement and environment & emerging issues. Since it began, it has awarded grants totalling £23million. If you would like to contribute to the funding of the Academy, please contact Naomi Lawson at info@ridingadreamacademy.com