The phrase ‘it takes a village’ is no understatement when it comes to producing and caring for a racehorse. From foal to training to racing superstar, every step is managed, and each horse is treated with its own carefully constructed regime by a team of dedicated individuals that support them every step of the way.
National Racehorse Week will take place from the 10th until the 18th of September and is a nationwide celebration of the thoroughbred racehorse. During the week, more than 150 venues up and down the country will be granting rare access to the British public to experience the care, love and attention racehorses receive 365 days a year. Best of all, the majority of events are entirely free to attend making it a fantastic family day out. As well as training centres there is the opportunity to visit former racehorses in their new lives. Two British charities Greatwood and HEROS and have enhanced the lives of both humans and horses, by using former racehorses to educate and provide comfort to people. In September, as part of National Racehorse Week, they will invite the public to open days, to witness their magic.
A number of leading trainers and yards across Britain are offering this exciting opportunity to people of all ages, to get up close and personal with these fabulous animals. See just how fast a racehorse gallops, how much they eat a day, how they spend their downtime and just how much time and affection goes into caring for a racehorse before, during and after their career. You can ask questions to the wonderful team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to give these horses a happy, healthy life.
The thrill of horse racing has long captured the nation’s heart – in fact it’s our second biggest spectator sport. But the high-octane thrill of the race day is a far cry from the calmer day-to-day life of these spectacular athletes enjoy at home. Whether it’s a morning canter on the gallops, taking a restorative swim in a state-of-the-art equine swimming pool or a physiotherapy session to ease away any aching muscles, there’s a huge team involved in keeping a racehorse fit and healthy. During National Racehorse Week there is the opportunity to see a range of training yards from those that train horses on the beach to yards with over 150 horses. You can book your place at a venue local to you here.
Greatwood was the first charity to combine equine welfare with educating children and adults through Animal Assisted intervention. They do this entirely with former racehorses. There are many inspirational stories like James, a homeless person who came to Greatwood on a summer programme in 2012 having never touched a horse. He went on to work in racing, leading a Cheltenham festival winner in 2015 and has now realised another dream making his debut as a jockey. Greatwood also retrains and re-homes former racehorses. These are carefully vetted to ensure a long and happy partnership for both horse and carer. For National Racehorse Week, the Wiltshire-based centre will be putting on a parade of horses that are involved in their educational work. There will also be a demonstration on retraining a racehorse.
HEROS began as a charity focusing on retraining and rehoming horses after they had finished racing. Their mantra “A new life after racing”, is still at the core of their work but beyond retraining and rehoming over 700 horses, they have helped many young people. HEROS provides a range of education and training including an alternative to school placements, for youngsters who may struggle with mainstream education – with great success.
HEROS, in Oxfordshire, has recently been appointed by the sport’s Horse Welfare Board, as a primary aftercare partner for British Horseracing’s official welfare charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). Grace Muir, HEROS CEO commented: “This endorsement from the industry gives HEROS the confidence to forge ahead and achieve even more with our work. Thoroughbreds have such a wide range of capabilities, it’s rewarding to see them go on to have useful, healthy, active lives after their racing careers”