BCTC-NARA Focuses Future as a Workforce Provider
With the retirement of its founding father, famed jockey Chris McCarron, Bluegrass Community and Technical Colleges North American Racing Academy(BCTC-NARA) is focusing on the future. And that future looks bright, according to Remi Bellocq, executive director of Equine Studies for BCTC-NARA.
We want to be known as a workforce provider and weve been working hard to get that message out, said Bellocq. We are not just a jockey school. Our students can receive excellenttraining in horsemanship and otherhorse racing and breeding industry disciplines. We even providethem with the basics of track management and racing regulations. You dont have to be 5 ft. tall and 90 pounds to be in our program.
According to Bellocq, NARA will attract approximately 40-50 students on average during the year, with approximately 10-15 of those who eventually opt for the rider pathway. This year, our Intro to Riding class will have a greater focus on rider physical fitness to go along with their riding. Students will have to pass the intro class with an A in order to go on to the next level, said Bellocq. We like to call itWinter Boot Camp.
And for 2015, BCTC-NARA welcomes Kristina McManigell as the new adjunct instructor for the Intro To Riding Class. A 2009 graduate of the NARA program, McManigell worked as a professional jockey on the Maryland racing circuit, among others, and had 196 wins. Due to a series of injuries, she had to retire from racing, but is looking forward to her new job as an instructor.
Ill be working with new students, starting from the ground-up, said McManigell, who at 25, hopes her experience with NARA and working in the racing world, will be an invaluable asset to students who are just getting started in the equine industry. The students in the intro class will learn the basics of tacking, grooming, riding racehorses and will work on the fitness tests, among other things. I cant wait to teach kids to do what I love, said McManigell.
Spring semester for BCTC-NARA will also feature one-to-two day clinics with recently retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, and jockey Julien Leparoux among others. These clinics will give our students the opportunity to get different tips and advice from some of the worlds top riders including, of course, Chris McCarron, said Bellocq. McCarron will also be teaching an advanced riding class for those students who aspire to ride as a professional jockey, once they have successfully completed all prep classes.