The search to find the next winner of the transition year programme From Foal to Race by Agri Aware and equuip for 2024 is underway.
Agri Aware and equuip were joined on Thursday, November 16, by the winner of the 2023 programme Ruth Shanley and her classmates in Columba College in Killucan, Co. Westmeath at Punchestown Racecourse in Co. Kildare to celebrate her success and launch the popular TY programme for the third year running.
Ruth’s winning entry was her poem ‘From Foal to Race’ which saw her scoop €1,000 for her school and a family pass to the Irish National Stud in Co. Kildare, along with a VIP behind-the-scenes trip to Punchestown Racecourse for Ruth and her classmates.
The 2023 From Foal to Race programme saw 5,334 students from 134 schools around the country participate – a 31% increase in participation since the programme launch in 2022.
Speaking about the 2023 winning entry and looking forward to the 2024 programme, Agri Aware Executive Director Marcus O’Halloran said: “Ruth’s winning poem typifies all that the programme stands for.
“Ruth has spoken about her and her family’s love for horses and how much of an impact they had on her growing up. To have a programme that reaches students like Ruth that gives great opportunities for students to learn all about the horse racing industry and the journey of the thoroughbred horse from a foal to competing on the racecourse is very satisfying.
“I’d like to congratulate Ruth on her success and to all students that engaged in the programme in 2023. Today marks the beginning of the 2024 programme which we are excited about and look forward to rolling out.
“We saw an amazing uptake in the programme this year and we are hoping for further growth in 2024 so that Agri Aware alongside equuip can reach more second level students across Ireland and to enhance their understanding of the Irish horse racing and breeding industry.”
Also commenting on Ruth’s success and looking forward to the 2024 programme, Elaine Burke, equuip manager said: “Incorporating youth into Irish Racing is essential for the future of the industry. It ensures the continued growth and evolution of the sport, as well as the passing on of knowledge to the next generation of enthusiasts.
Ruth’s poem was truly impressive, capturing the nurturing a thoroughbred receives to help it develop from a foal to a racehorse.
“Her words resonated with passion and demonstrated a deep understanding of the care a thoroughbred receives, leaving a lasting impression on all who experienced her work. The programme has grown from strength to strength since its launch two years ago, and we’re excited to keep collaborating with Agri Aware to ensure it continues to do so.”