Alex Drabble

Student blog

BA International Horseracing Business student blog

Alex Drabble

Hi, I'm Alex and I'm studying for the BA International Horseracing Business degree.

I love every minute of my work experience 

Alongside my academic studies at Hartpury University, I’m employed as a stable assistant for dual-purpose trainer David Dennis in Worcestershire.

The opportunity to work for Mr Dennis wouldn’t have come about if I hadn’t been studying the course at Hartpury.

I had ridden horses all my life but I’d never had an opportunity to ride racehorses and I wanted to give it a try.

When I told my tutor, they advised me to get in touch with Mr Dennis, who is a friend of theirs, because he might have an opening within his team.

I have been at Mr Dennis’ stable for 18 months now and I have loved every minute. Alongside what I’m learning on the course, it has given me a real insight into the different elements involved in running a successful training business.

I ride out up to seven horses in the mornings and perform general yard duties, plus I get to experience trips to the races when we have runners. I even led in a 50-1 winner at Chepstow!

Gaining expertise for my career  

I’m studying at Hartpury on the recommendation of Hartpury graduate Sophia Monkman, an operations executive at York Racecourse.

I had an admin job at York Racecourse at the time and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do career-wise, but Sophia, who studied BA Equine Business Management, suggested I had a look at what Hartpury had to offer.

When I saw that they were introducing the racing programmes, I decided to enrol on the BA International Horseracing Business.

Because of the business element to the course, it doesn’t limit your options to a career within the horseracing industry – you'll still have a business degree at the end of it.

A network of contacts 

Thanks to my tutors, who have years of experience working within racing, the contacts I have made through the programme have been brilliant.

For instance, I have worked at the renowned Tweenhills Farm and Stud, which is ideally located next door to Hartpury.

Our student cohort benefitted from a fantastic study trip to Ireland, where we spent time with leading trainer Gordon Elliot and members of the Godolphin team.

The course has really improved my communication skills, and being involved in group work and taking part in mock interviews, which are designed to help prepare us for future careers, has really helped.

The course has also improved my teamwork and organisational skills, which will stand me in good stead in my future career.

My future 

When I graduate from Hartpury, I am looking at graduate programmes with the British Horseracing Authority or perhaps the Godolphin Flying Start international management and leadership training programme, as well as marketing and business roles within racing.

People tend to think that jobs in racing are all about riding out and that’s it, but in fact there are a wide variety of careers out there, such as marketing, sponsorship and the media.

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