Name: Breaking Down Barriers
Sort Code: 05-02-00
Account Number: 74418375
Organisation Type: Sports and Community Charity
Registration No: 1182104
A young horse rider is well on his way to his dream of becoming a jockey after less than a year of training.
Kanane Francis from Highfields recently graduated from the prestigious British Racing School earlier this year and a three-month intensive course.
Before December 2019, the now 20-year-old had no experience working with horses. That was until a Facebook post about the Urban Equestrian Academy in Leicester caught his interest.
“I was scrolling through Facebook one night and thought “why not?” – I wasn’t doing anything at the time so I got in touch and asked to volunteer to help out. I didn’t expect to be riding,” Kanane told LeicestershireLive.
Kanane’s mum, Sandra was incredibly proud of her son after he graduated from The British Racing School in September 2020
Kanane has already secured his next job towards a Level 2 qualification – another step closer to his dream of becoming a jockey
The young rider, known on Instagram as ‘The Urban Jockey’ celebrated his graduation with his proud family and friends.
“I definitely surprised my family. I’m the only one in the family who has worked with horses.
“My mum always said it’s a good thing that I’m getting into something different,” he said.
Since graduating in September, the aspiring jockey has already secured a job with the Mick Appleby Racing equestrian centre in Oakham run by the former champion trainer. The job will culminate in a Level 2 qualification and a step closer to Kanane’s dream of becoming a jockey.
In what is a predominantly white industry, Kanane said he wanted to “pave the way for other young people to get into horse riding”.
“You can do anything you put your mind to,” he said.
Given the opportunity, he took a couple of horse-riding lessons and discovered he had a natural talent.
He was then encouraged by horse trainer and founder of the Urban Equestrian Academy, Tariq Zampaladus, to take his talent further.
“Tariq has helped me a lot- I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for him. I’m happy to be under his wing, he has opened a lot of doors for me,” Kanane said.
Kanane quickly developed a love for riding so Zampaladus suggested exploring the world of horse racing, which is when Kanane enrolled in The British Racing School based in Suffolk.
During the three-month course, Kanane had a 6am start every day which began with cleaning out stables and two hours of riding followed by an afternoon lecture and an evening life-skills or fitness session.
“I had never been away from home before so it was a different experience for me. Three weeks was hard work but I got into it once I settled into the routine,” he said.
Less than one year after his first ever experience of horse-riding, Kanane graduated from The British Racing School.
“The day I was graduated was the best feeling. I knew I’d done something life-changing that will open a lot of doors for me,” he said.