Catch up with our expert panel hosted by TV Presenter and Freelance Journalist Sally Ann Grassick as they discuss “The enduring power of racehorses to help people – exploring the horse-human connection”. They highlight some of the challenges as well as exciting initiatives designed to broaden the sport’s appeal.
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Meet The Panel
Host: Sally Ann Grassick
Sally Ann is a TV Presenter and Freelance Journalist, a keen Racing to School Ambassador and founder of Thoroughbred Tales, a social media channel dedicated to showcasing racing stories from those behind-the-scenes.
Racing to Relate co-founder Jennifer Twomey is a law graduate from the University of Warwick, passionate about Thoroughbreds she has advocated for off-track Thoroughbred welfare across the professional industry for many years. Jennifer worked collaboratively with a steering group including Aga Khan Studs, Godolphin and France Galop to set up France’s leading Thoroughbred retraining organisation, Au-Delà des Pistes.
In 2015 Jennifer participated in the first international Aftercare Think Tank organised by Godolphin (now IFAR). It was a visit to Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, an American EAT organisation, that moved her to deepen her commitment to the possibilities of ex-racehorses in this sphere.
Coming from a military family who had experienced significant loss, it was in a quiet moment of realisation, after seeing the impact of the horses on people in programs such as this and other excellent programs such as Square Peg in California and HorseBackUK in Scotland, that it became clear to Jennifer she could combine her love of the Thoroughbred with their ability to support humans who may need it, including ex-servicemen and women.
She went on to become a certified Equine Specialist in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Therapy and assisted in research at Shumbashaba in Diepsloot, South Africa where she met and joined forces with Dr. Anna Buckingham. Racing to Relate has since pioneered an international-first in a collaborative research PhD with the University of Bristol (UOB) entitled, The Selection and Education of Former Racehorses (Thoroughbreds) for Equine Assisted Therapy: Developing the Evidence Base for a Global Standard.
Jo is a racehorse trainer based in the Yorkshire Dales. As part of National Racehorse Week she took a racehorse and shetland pony to care homes, residential homes and a local primary and grammar school. For the last four years her yard has been involved in 14-16-year-old apprenticeships. They offer opportunities to young people who are struggling at school with an interest in animals, and they have experienced excellent results for both the yard and the young people involved.
Growing up in Trinidad around horses, Quai developed a love of all things equine from an early age, and has a long association with Ebony Horse Club. Her children were members, with her elder son Aidan having been privileged enough to be chosen to ride for the Duchess of Cornwall for the opening of the centre on 2011. She was the Treasurer of Friends of Ebony Horse Club, prior to joining the Board in 2015 with a background in both Finance and Education. She has been a local resident and Community Advocate for 20+ years and is currently a Foundation Governor at St Helen’s R.C. primary school, Brixton. It is with great pride she is associated with a fully inclusive riding centre serving the Coldharbour Ward, offering respite and freedom to disadvantaged children such as Young Carers, which fosters belonging and promotes life-changing development.
Alex is the Education & Wellbeing Lead at Greatwood Charity, which was the first charity to use former racehorses to educate disadvantaged children and young adults with Special Educational Needs.
With a background in teaching mainstream further education, he now combines his knowledge of animal science and a MSc in mindfulness to deliver bespoke alternative education programmes to learners that don’t thrive in mainstream education, for whatever reason.
He has a particular interest in improving and increasing engagement of mental health awareness and support, especially in men and under-represented racial and ethnic groups.
Alex was involved when charities Greatwood and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) worked with the Racing Together to deliver a pilot programme at OSJCT Coombe End Court care home in Marlborough, Wiltshire. The six-week pilot programme aimed to develop and measure the benefits of introducing former racehorses to the residents of the care home.
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