Georgia, 15, grew up around horses as her mum was a professional jockey. Her fave discipline is showjumping and she competes internationally. She owns Bella, a seven-year-old mare who’s stabled at school.
“I love keeping Bella at school with me and being at Milton Abbey is loads of fun,” she says. “It’s great that I can ride during my school week and I’ve made lots of friends who love horses, too.
“In lessons, I’m studying for my BTEC Horse Care Diploma, as well as other important subjects such as biology, English and maths. Outside of classes, I’m working with the school’s riding instructor to achieve my British Horse Society Rider and Coach qualifications, as I want to become a full-time professional rider after school.
“I love showjumping and I’m able to take part in competitions at weekends, both individually and as part of the school’s team. This year we’re hoping to qualify for Royal Windsor Horse Show.”
Horses on the timetable
So, how does Georgia fit caring for her horse, riding and learning into her school day, while still having time to have fun with her friends?
6am Get up, make sure I’ve got everything ready for the school day and change into my riding gear.
7am Head to the school stables to meet Mr Kilbey, Milton Abbey’s Head of Riding, who helps get Bella ready for me to ride.
7:30am Enjoy a ride in or around the school’s grounds, which helps me learn new skills and keeps Bella fit.
8:30am Grab a quick breakfast before lessons start.
9am I take part in a full morning of lessons, studying Horse Care, Countryside Management and other key subjects.
1:20pm Time for a bit of lunch with my friends.
2:20pm Depending what day of the week it is, in the afternoon I either have more lessons, take part in team sports, or have some time for riding.
4:30pm Head back to the stables to feed and brush Bella, to make sure she’s comfortable for the night.
5pm I have an hour to finish off any school work before getting something to eat.
6pm By now I’m ready for a hearty supper in the canteen!
7pm In the evenings, I’ll either complete school work, spend time with my friends or take part in a club. I’m lucky that the school staff do the night-time check on Bella and the other horses.
10pm I usually go to bed fairly early, to recharge my energy for the next busy day!
A range of opportunities
Milton Abbey is a small school set in beautiful Dorset countryside, popular with outdoors-loving girls and boys. For horsey pupils it offers a brilliant range of opportunities to ride, study equine courses and to stable their pony or horse.
“We have qualified instructors to take your riding skills to the next level,” says teacher and head of riding, Jason Kilbey. “We care for any animals stabled with us, plus we’ll help you to learn how to look after your pony or horse. We even provide courses to study if you’re aiming for an equine career.”
Aside from riding, the school has a huge range of other extra-curricular, sporting and social activities. It also has one of the widest choice of courses available at any school, so pupils can find the education they want on top of equine activities. Most pupils board from the age of 13, but there are also some local boys and girls who attend each day.