The Bluegrass Community & Technical College North American Racing Academy (BCTC-NARA) is welcoming a new member to their team of instructors and staff.
Dixie Hayes is an Equine Studies graduate of Midway College with a concentration in management. Prior to joining NARA, Hayes held various management positions with Thoroughbred breeding and sales prep operations in addition to being a licensed trainer for over three years.
“The North American Racing Academy is such a brilliant idea and it’s something that’s long been over due,” Hayes said. “For me this was just the perfect spot.”
Hayes joins a team with over 90 combined years of experience in the areas of race riding, training, farm and track management and education. She will join former professional jockey and founder of NARA, Chris McCarron, as NARA’s Academic Coordinator & Instructor. Hayes will teach the equine science courses for all NARA students as well as the horseman specific training courses, while McCarron will continue to teach the jockey specific training courses.
Remi Bellocq, BCTC-NARA Executive Director and former CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said he knew NARA needed a full time faculty instructor for its equine courses.
“It’s important to have consistency, and Dixie had been doing the work quite awhile on an adjunct basis,” Bellocq said. “Dixie has the work ethic and experience necessary for the position. I couldn’t be happier.”
NARA is working to strengthen its horseman pathway program as part of several new initiatives started by Bellocq. The initiatives are designed to further solidify NARA’s presence in the horse racing industry.
“I know for a fact a lot of horseman are looking for their future assistant trainers and farm managers and that is going to be an important aspect of what we do in the future,” Bellocq said. “Dixie will play an important part.”
Hayes will teach several classes, including breaking & prepping two-year olds, equine reproduction and life-skills for horseman. “I’d love to see this program succeed and expand,” Hayes said. “I think Chris McCarron has done a fabulous job with the jockey pathway and with the addition of Remi Bellocq and myself, we will now be able to expand the horseman’s pathway.”
Hayes encourages all students interested in horses to pursue their dreams of working with them. “You don’t have to give up your dreams of being in the industry if one path doesn’t work out because there are so many opportunities out there,” Hayes said.
BCTC-NARA will now offer a one-year (26 credit) Exercise Rider and Racehorse Care and Training certificate program in addition to the two-year Associate degree curricula (65-68 credits) already offered through Jockey or Horseman pathway.
Hayes is excited to be a part of NARA and its new emphasis on the horseman pathway.
“I’m very thankful to Remi and Chris for giving me the opportunity, I’ve loved working with them and I’m excited about the future of NARA,” she said.
NARA is holding a pre-admission orientation meeting for local high school graduates and their parents, as well as other interested applicants. Information on the admissions process can be found on the Equine Studies page or by calling (859) 293-0209. Orientation is April 16 at 1:00 p.m. at the Keeneland Track Kitchen followed by a brief barn area tour. Admission deadline is May 7.