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25 August 2022

34 community visits to take place across Britain during National Racehorse Week

From 10-18th September 2022, in an experience like no other, over 180 venues across the country, including training yards, studs and retraining centres, will open their doors to the public to show what life as a racehorse is really like. 

As part of the initiative that invites 12,000 members of the public to meet a racehorse, 34 community events will take place, that will include engaging with 1,000 school pupils as well as racehorses visiting care homes.

Throughout the week, the industry aims to bring racing closer to people of all ages and backgrounds, giving those, particularly in city locations, the chance to get up close with a horse, sometimes for the very first time. The community visits will give those who may not have the chance to visit a venue the opportunity to meet a racehorse, to learn about the racing industry and the wonderful lives current and retired racehorses lead.

The 34 community events include:

  • 14 school visits – these include 11 schools visiting racing yards in person, organised by Racing to School and National Racehorse Week, and three schools who will receive a special in-school visit from a local racehorse 
  • Six charity visits – three racing yards will host visits from local autism support groups via Autism in Racing, while Emma Lavelle, along with James Fanshawe and the British Racing School, will also host visits from seriously ill children as part of the brilliant Barrie Wells Trust’s initiative, Box4Kids
  • Five care home visits – former and current racehorses will visit care home residents in Wiltshire, Lancashire, and West Yorkshire
  • One NHS/emergency workers visit via Blue Light Tickets – 12-time Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls, will host an open morning for NHS and emergency service workers
  • Seven urban equestrian centres and community groups – these include Ebony Horse Club, Urban Equestrian Academy, Park Lane Stables and more
  • One village visit – Paul Webber will take a racehorse to meet village residents in Cropredy, near Banbury

Research commissioned by Great British Racing to support the launch of National Racehorse Week has revealed a disconnect with animals and the countryside among the UK’s city dwellers, including the startling finding that 26% of 12-40 year olds have never seen, or can’t remember seeing, a horse in real life. 18-24 year olds are the least likely age group to have seen a horse ‘in person’, with 44% having never had an equine encounter. 

Coming into close contact with a horse is also something that many of those surveyed have never experienced. 36% could not recall ever being physically close to a horse (within two metres) and over a third (34%) have never touched one. Almost one in three (30%) of 12-17 year olds surveyed have gone through life without ever coming into physical contact with a horse.

There is clearly an appetite among people to remedy the situation: 48% of those surveyed said they would like to have contact with animals more regularly (rising to 55% of 12-17 year olds) and 41% of those who haven’t seen, or can’t remember seeing, horses in person would like the opportunity to change this.

Recent research commissioned through a partnership between the charity Mind and GoRacingGreen found 100% of Mind participants reported an uplift in their mood following a yard visit. 

John Blake, CEO of Racing to School and Racing Together said, “We are a proud partner of National Racehorse Week since its inception, and we know that being around horses has a positive impact on our beneficiaries. The week-long event has significant potential to connect people with racing’s incredible equine athletes and this year will see school children, care home residents and community groups involved again. 

“Racing to School, Racing Together and Autism in Racing are all programmes that aim to connect people with horses during National Racehorse Week and beyond. We would like to thank our many partners for their support to increase our contribution to National Racehorse Week this year.”

Jo Foster who is based near Bradford will take active racehorse, Sigurd, to visit two care homes, two schools and Lothersdale Young Farmers Club during the week. Sigurd regularly visits schools and care homes in between racing.

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Sigurd visiting a school and care home in June

Find out more about National Racehorse Week and find an event near you here.

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