Oaklands College alumni and current volunteer at the Equine Centre Thomas Miller talks to Oaklands about podiums, courses, future plans and more in our behind-the-scenes interview with our Special Olympian!
Tom Miller, who began his journey at Oaklands College working at the Equine Centre as an Intern/Work Experience student, has come on leaps and bounds at the college.
Tom helps current Oaklands College Equine students from Levels 1-3 and has spent the past 6 years looking after Haflinger Horses in the Highlands of Scotland during summer break, where he has honed his skills even further and his love for equestrian sport and care began.
Tom's love for equestrian has taken him all over the globe, most recently to Abu Dhabi as part of the 2019 Special Olympics, representing Team GB.
We sat down with Tom to talk all things Oaklands College, Olympics, future plans and much more:
Why did you choose to study at Oaklands?
"Whilst I was at Secondary School, I regularly took part in horse riding and anything Equestrian based, so when leaving school I wanted to pursue my hobby and the facilities at Oaklands College attracted me and led to me volunteering."
What was the experience like at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi?
"We [Team GB] all flew over together, it was a long flight [7 hours+], but we enjoyed it and I enjoyed being part of the team and getting to know everyone. We stayed in a youth hospice and were able to sight-see in-between competitions, it took a long time for us to get used to the weather and the horses struggled at first, but it was nice once we did."
Tom travelled with over 150 paralympians on Team GB and was just one of six competing in Equine.
How many events/competitions did you compete in at the World Games this year?
"I competed in three difference events. I won my first gold of these World Games on the Sunday in Show-Jumping, I then won my second gold on the Monday in Equitation [the art of horsemanship], then I won a silver medal the next day in Dressage.
Tom's three medals at the 2019 Special Olympics added to his already impressive tally, taking him up to 8 medals in total, whilst achieving his best ever finish in the Dressage event.
What was the experience like standing on the podium with your medals?
"It was a very proud moment for me, all of my family were there watching and cheering me on, including my mum, dad and younger brother."
It was the first time that Tom's family were able to see him win medals at a live World Games event and Tom proudly recalls his family "rushing up to celebrate with me and give me a big hug!"
Upon Tom's return to the UK, he was invited to a special celebration with the local Mayor of St Albans Rosemary Farmer, you can read all about the celebrations here