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Olivia May’s Newbury Racecourse debut - in aid of the Greatwood Charity

Olivia May with her eventing horse - 'Bug' (Photo: Eastern Light Photography) Olivia May with her eventing horse - 'Bug' (Photo: Eastern Light Photography) On Saturday, 29 February, the Amateur Jockeys Association will stage a charity race at Newbury Racecourse in aid of the Greatwood Charity – which cares for former racehorses and uses them to assist children with special educational needs through its Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) educational programmes.  I am honoured to be taking part with nine other jockeys.

Taking up the reins on a racetrack for the first time is extremely exciting for me as I've been riding since before I could walk (now aged 24).  Horses have played a huge role in my life, following my family's passion for point-to-pointing and National Hunt racing and breeding.

After representing the local Pony Club and Riding Club at regional and national level for many years, I am now currently striving to compete Internationally in Eventing with my Spanish Thoroughbred, ‘Bug’ – who has had a winter holiday whilst I have been training hard in the run up to my Newbury debut.

Most mornings have consisted of 5am alarm clocks, multiple outfit changes throughout the day and the aim of being in bed before 10pm.

An average weekly routine for me is outlined below:

I could not have managed the past two months of preparation without the help of my parents, Julian and Anne, and my partner, Benedict for helping with the horses and animals at home.

Since working at the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association in Newmarket as their Communications Co-ordinator, my interest and involvement in racing, Flat and National Hunt, has grown. I cannot thank the TBA team enough for their support and encouragement.

I would also like to thank Tattersalls Ltd, Ariat and Charles Owen for their support. Long Melford Saddlery for sponsoring me, Tom and Jackie Clover for letting me ride out during the week with their team of horses, Neil Pollard at the British Racing School for his tuition on the equicizer training aid (a mechanical 'horse' contolled by the rider's own movements), the personal trainers at the Peter O’Sullivan House (Injured Jockeys Fund) for their patience and support in the gym, and Melissa Castiel for her ongoing support in keeping my body in one piece with regular deep tissue treatments. Also my thanks go to Jack Quinlan and my sister, Molly.

Please keep a look out in March for a report on how it all goes for me.

In order to compete in this race, each jockeys has to raise a total of £2,500 for Greatwood. If you wish to support Olivia or follow her story, please visit her Just Giving page.

The Greatwood Charity is at Clench Common - just south of Marlborough.  You can find out more about their work here.

The Newbury prizegiving podium ready for the Greatwood winner The Newbury prizegiving podium ready for the Greatwood winner

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