Racing - Where to begin?

Does the thought of riding trackwork, or even the ultimate experience of being a jockey, sit high on your "wish list", but it's difficult because you've never ridden a horse? That's no problem!

Come to Kyrewood and you will learn riding and horse handling from the very basics up to the stage where you can canter racehorses around the training track, and go to the nearby racecourse to learn to gallop.

Kyrewood Equestrian Centre's Directors Fred and Pauline Gorton have been involved with the racing industry as owners, trainers and administrators. They hold firmly to the belief that students who are looking for involvement in the racing industry should gain a thorough grounding in basic knowledge and ability before embarking on a career as an apprentice jockey, trackwork rider, stablehand or trainer.

New Zealand-born Larry Cassidy is a past pupil of Kyrewood. Larry is now one of Australia's leading jockeys.

Awapuni jockey Bruce Herd also learned the basic skills of riding at Kyrewood before entering the racing industry. His major wins include the Grade 1 NZ Oaks at Trentham and the Winter Cup at Riccarton.

Early riding tuition helps to establish balance, rhythm and 'feel for the horse' before the prospective jockey embarks on a full apprenticeship.

Takashi Hokari came to Kyrewood Equestrian Centre direct from Japan during 2004. He took the Stable Practice course and, despite having no previous experience with horses, made outstanding progress. Within 24 weeks he was able to competently ride fast track gallops at Awapuni Racecourse. He has now returned home to pursue employment in the lucrative Japanese racing industry.

Pauline Gorton holds a 'Permit to Train' licence. As well as a handful of horses in full training, they have a number of former racehorses whose mission in life these days is to help educate prospective jockeys and trackwork riders in the particular skills required for this type of riding.

A feature of Kyrewood's training facilities is the eight-horse walking machine. This is an invaluable part of the fitness and training for thoroughbreds. The walking machine also provides students with the opportunity to become adept at using a training aid that is increasing in popularity both in New Zealand and overseas.