Ashleigh Wicheard has worked on and off in racing for over 10 years, and is pursuing a new interest in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). She is also a Mentor for Women in Racing.
I feel privileged to be a Mentor for Women in Racing, as I was always the (Brown girl in the ring) something I embraced. People at the racecourses may not have known my name but they knew who I worked for because I stood out. There was nobody in racing that I could relate to when I started and it would have been so nice to see more BAME representation within the industry. Who knows I may have even taken out my jockey’s licence if I had seen somebody else that looked like me, doing it.
Working in racing provided me with a lifestyle that I was passionate about, having won a bronze medal at the English Schools Athletics Championships at 13yrs old, competition has always been in my blood.
I’ve had some interesting experiences in racing, Leading up The Druids Nephew before the 2015 Grand National, The Young Master in the Badger Ale in 2014 (Wincanton) that caused controversy when the victory was void. Also Southfield Royale when he came second to Tea For Two and Lizzy Kelly in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase 2015.
I have ridden from a young age, and went to work in racing on and off for around 10 years. Since stepping away from full-time employment in racing, I have worked in a few specialist schools supporting children with Autism, SEMH, and various other behavioural issues, and as a Case Worker and Equine Coordinator for a charity supporting young offenders 18-30 or young men in prison. I recently supported a young man from a London Hostel through the Northern Racing College and into employment, he is currently still employed a year on.
Working with horses has really improved my skillset when it comes to supporting children with complex needs and challenging behaviour, and adults going through crisis. Emotional Resilience is something everyone needs to work on from time to time, especially with Covid-19 being at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Horses are amazing at holding a space for people with or without mental health issues, they have the capacity to support good mental health by keeping people in the present, rather than dwelling on past issues or becoming anxious about what is to come. Because of this, I have recently qualified as a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, and trained in Equine Facilitated Learning.
I hope that my input will motivate and empower my BAME counterparts to embark on their equestrian journey and that trainers will also take some responsibility to do more to increase the diversity within their own yards.
I have seen first-hand how the racing industry can provide a fresh start to someone with a passion for horses, providing them with routine, structure, a sense of belonging, and a purpose to wake up every morning.
If you would like to support me in changing the narrative contact me via:
Find out more about the mentoring programme and see Ashleigh’s Mentor profile: