Introducing Rhi Lee-Jones, the Racing Foundation’s new Communications and Events Manager. A former horseracing journalist and equestrian sport presenter, Rhi is equally at home in the saddle when competing her ex-racehorse at three-day eventing.
Tell us about your love of horses and racing?
I fell in love with racing through ex-racehorses. As a keen equestrian, I’ve owned many over the years to play polo, polocrosse and to event. Their characters, willingness to work, intelligence and sensitivity make them such great teammates on the competition field and off it, and I’ve always championed the ex-racehorse for these reasons. Curiosity about their beginnings got the better of me, and trawling through their former race records, owners and trainers got me hooked on the sport. The way the industry interconnected fascinated me.
My love of horses and racing led me to working for the BBC as horseracing journalist, where I broadcast and reported from the big race meetings. From a journalistic perspective the stories in racing are unlike any other sport. It’s a cliche to say the sport encompasses the highest highs and the lowest lows, but it’s a cliche because it’s true.
What does it mean to work for an organisation that is so beneficial to the sport?
Earlier this year, I joined the Racing Foundation as the Communications and Events Manager. The opportunity to contribute to making a difference to the sport I love is a privilege. And the stories that first captivated me and brought me to racing surround the Foundation in abundance. The people and the horses the Racing Foundation has helped through its grant giving activity all have a story to tell, and my role as the communications manager is to showcase the difference we’ve made not only to these individual lives, but to the industry as a whole.
Highlight some of the community and education projects that the Foundation supports and what’s coming up.
The Racing Foundation has supported so many community and education projects, and community engagement is one of our key focus areas of our new strategy. The Urban Equestrian Academy and Ebony Horse Club are two examples of beneficiaries that are changing lives, and I’m really looking forward to getting out to Brixton and Leicester to meet the teams once lockdown restrictions lift.
We’ve recently funded a couple of really exciting community projects that are being announced this month that could really make a difference to the lives of those involved. The people working on the projects are just so passionate about it, too. The enthusiasm is infectious! It makes me genuinely excited to see the outcomes. I can’t say any more at this stage except they could really impact the industry in a positive way and I’m so looking forward to promoting them.