First Scholarship student graduates from Foundation Course
Oshane, 16, from South East London has become the first student from the Riding A Dream Academy to graduate from the British Racing School’s Foundation course. Oshane first learnt to ride at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton and, prior to joining the Foundation Course in December last year, was one of the first students on the Academy’s Khadijah Mellah Scholarship programme which seeks to support talented young riders from underrepresented communities get into British horse racing.
Oshane, whose dream is to become a jockey said, “I loved the Scholarship and really enjoyed the Foundation Course but it was a lot of hard work. You get up at 6am to look after the horses and are busy all day. I loved riding all the different horses, particularly the challenging ones and I really liked a horse called The Gay Cavalier – I just liked his way and his intelligence. I went back to London for a few days before starting on my yard placement and London is boring by comparison – usually you would be busy the whole time in Newmarket so I am looking forward to getting started.”
ITV Racing’s Oli Bell who co-founded the Riding A Dream Academy alongside GBR’s Naomi Lawson said, “We are all so proud of what Oshane has achieved and can’t wait to follow his career. I first saw him at Ebony Horse Club a few years ago and for him to have grown into the stylish rider he is today and be riding racehorses is so exciting. Oshane is the perfect example of how the Riding A Dream Academy can support young riders into the racing industry and our hope is that he is the first of many young people from the Academy who go onto pursue a career in the sport.”
The Riding A Dream Academy is funded by the Racing Foundation and currently runs two riding-based programmes – the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship, named after the first Muslim woman to win a British horse race and a Residential Week which acts as an introduction to the sport. Based at the British Racing School in Newmarket, its aims are to help racing become more diverse and inclusive and to support young people from underrepresented communities, disadvantaged backgrounds and diverse ethnic backgrounds get into racing.
To date, demand for the Academy’s programmes has meant we have received nearly four times as many applications as available spaces, with 60% of applicants and 72% of our current cohort from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Our first ever Scholarship students will graduate in July and we will welcome a second Residential Week group at the end of May.