The Agri Aware and Equuip (Horse Racing Ireland’s education, training and careers department) joint initiative ‘From Foal to Race’ is a free programme to introduce transition year students to all aspects of horse racing.

Over 4000 students from 120 schools got involved. The end-of-programme project tasked the students with designing a poster or flyer for an event that was inspired by the horse racing industry.

Shauna O’Keefe, Miriam and Abbie O’Connell and Katelyn O’Keefe from Castleisland Community College created a flyer for a Family Fun Fest which included clever ideas such as a kiddies’ corner, a jockey meet and greet and even pledged to raise money for the ISPCA Equine Rescue Centre.

The winning students were rewarded with a trip to Punchestown Racecourse which included a meet and greet with Rachael Blackmore, a track walk with jockey Sean Flanagan and they also shadowed Wexford trainer Paul Nolan as he saddled a horse for a race.

All schools who submitted a group project received a free trip to the Irish National Stud in County Kildare.

Kellie Sheehy, Teacher at Castleisland Community College, noted: “The students were thrilled to win the group project element as it gave them such an insight into the horse racing and breeding industry. It was also great to see the wealth of talent we have in Irish racing.”

Agri Aware Executive Director Marcus O’Halloran said: “It is brilliant to have Rachael Blackmore’s support, you can see how much it meant to the students to meet her.

“Rachael is an inspiration to all young people and maybe through this collaboration with Equuip we can find the next generation of Rachael Blackmores.”