By: Sonja Moon |
The charity ‘Racing to Schools’ was formed a couple of years ago by the British Horseracing Association (BHA) to encourage schools to match up their classroom curriculum in both Maths and Science to real world situations. In return the BHA hope to raise the profile of the multitude of careers available in the horse racing industry from trainers and stewards to nutritionists and facility managers as well as providing an unforgettable visit. Thirty of our Year 7 pupils were able to experience this unique, behind the scenes, visit to a racecourse on race day. Despite the rain, much credit must be given to how enthusiastic and engaged they were throughout the day.
During the visit the children had a workbook of questions to answer, with a variety of challenges ranging from Imperial and Metric conversions to creating a balanced diet for a jockey who was limited to just 800 calories. For example, who knew that the word for ‘inch’ is the same as ‘thumb’ in several languages and that a chain was a measure used for a parcel of land, the length of a cricket wicket and the distance made by 100 links of chain used for a drawbridge!
Everyone got a set of silks to wear and we were able to visit the Jockeys’ room, the Weigh In room and even the Sauna where questions were asked about how a jockey can lose weight. All the equipment used was inspected allowing the children to discuss the design and its function. At regular stages they were tested with some tricky calculations ranging from unit conversions to statistics and speed distance calculations.
The culmination of the trip was experiencing the Parade Ring and watching the first race. The Racing program was discussed, how and why the handicap system works and a chance to choose their runner using the minutiae of detail available on each horse. To be within 5 metres of the horses as they raced past at 30mph will live long in the memory. It was a majestic and fitting finish to a most enlightening day.