Bernard's Blog - 12 July
Attendees at the Pukekohe Park Ride to Time on Thursday enjoyed their day at the track.
We are in the middle of the winter school holidays and by the end of next week more than 70 school-aged kids will have enjoyed taking part in our Ride to Time programme.
Ride to Time is a joint initiative with the New Zealand Pony Club Association and aims to teach Pony Club riders how to ride at a given pace over a given distance, while understanding their horse’s natural pace. It also helps young riders to judge how fast they are travelling and what is a safe and balanced speed.
National Riding Mentor Noel Harris, along with NZTR Licensing, Training & Welfare advisor Matthew Barnsley, attended the Ride to Time event at Pukekohe Park this week. So successful was the uptake on Thursday that a second session had to be scheduled for next Friday, which indicates the programme is filling a need. Noel and Matthew will also be running the session at Ruakaka on Tuesday.
Noel was also on hand at Hastings on Tuesday, alongside Bridget Flynn, NZTR Licensing, Training & Welfare advisor – Central.
The South Island hosted two events, at Cromwell on Tuesday and Wingatui on Thursday, with South Island Riding Mentor David Walsh and South Island Apprentice Tutor Amy Johnson representing NZTR.
The feedback from the participants has been extremely enthusiastic and it is a wonderful way for our industry to give a glimpse into some of the requirements needed if considering a career in racing.
Clubs have been embracing the concept and some, like Counties next Wednesday, will be welcoming the Ride to Time attendees back on track to get a behind the scenes look at what happens on a race day.
While Ride to Time will help to give young riders the skills required to become a trackwork rider or a jockey in the future, it also aids them in other disciplines, such as show-jumping or eventing, when riding against the clock.
It has been pleasing to see how attendance at these events has grown and with a further six to be run in the next school holidays we are looking on target to have around 150 graduates of the Ride to Time programme this year. Already some of those graduates of the first two years are making good use of their skills as trackwork riders.