Ryan Colley from York will head to Lexington, Kentucky - benefit of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival-backed IFHRA initiative
16 January 2016 ~ Another worthy candidate has been chosen from the United Kingdom and will leave for a study program at Lexington, Kentucky, on 18 January, under the Racing Scholarship Fund (RSF) as part of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) initiative.
Twenty-two-year old Ryan Colley from York is the first representative of the Northern Racing College in Doncaster to take part in this international scholarship scheme, which is the brainchild of IFHRA, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Ryan is attending the eight-week program in Lexington, Kentucky, after taking a break as assistant trainer at Ruth Carr’s North Yorkshire Horse Racing stable.The funding for Ryan’s Mentorship program is provided by His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival.
During his stint in Lexington, Ryan will be under the direction of Remi Bellocq, Executive Director of the North American Racing Academy.
Before his departure, Ryan who always wanted to be a racing official, said: “I’m really excited. It’s my first visit to America and I’m looking forward to seeing how their racing system operates. I’m told it’s very different from ours, so this is a fantastic opportunity to see it at first hand. My ambition is to become a starter in the UK and the experience I gain in America could provide me with a valuable foot in the door.”
He thanked IFHRA and His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival for their extraordinary and unique venture which will help youngsters like him to learn new racing techniques.
“Having been a stable lad and ridden as an amateur, it will be fascinating to learn new skills from the racing officials’ side,” he added.
Ryan had never ridden before he attended the 12-week NRC foundation course on leaving school. He completed his training qualifications through the College while working for trainers James Given, Alan King and Willie Mullins, before joining Mrs Carr, for whom he has ridden two winners from eight rides as an amateur.
According to the RSF guidelines, the candidate should have finished at least one year or graduated from a racing academy based in his/her home country or other entity that provides horse racing or related industry workforce training.
Twelve candidates were short-listed under the RSF program from different countries during the 2015 IFHRA General Assembly meeting held in November in Abu Dhabi. Any candidate between the age group of 18-29 and employed within the racing industry either as an amateur jockey or apprentice jockey or involved in some other racing activity is eligible for this scholarship fund. The His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival-supported mentorship program lasts a maximum of eight weeks and takes place in a country other than where the incumbent resides.
Ms Lara Sawaya, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), was immensely happy that the second student has already taken to the wings at such a short period with the first student still on the field
“The initiative of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, is encouraging many youngsters to learn new skills in riding and providing them new opportunities to learn different riding skills from countries other than their own birth country,” she said.
The IFHRA Racing Scholarship Fund (RSF) is designed to benefit both students of IFHRA member racing academies and employers within the horse racing and related industries. Students will work abroad in real-world situations gaining experience and benefitting from mentorship which will be a long-term benefit to future careers. At the same time, future employers will also benefit from students who have experienced from the IFHRA RSF and who have therefore gained training in the newest practices our industry offers.
According to Ms Sawaya: “The goal is to improve the horse racing and breeding industry workforce by providing deserving racing academy students or recent graduates with the opportunity to gain new training and experience within the horse racing industry and related disciplines, while learning about new cultures and customs.”
The RSF Mentorship program started on 7 January with another British apprentice, Tom Marquand, who is currently training in Adelaide, Australia. Other students who will be heading to their mentorship programs soon hail from Australia, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, Korea, Poland, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Turkey.
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