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30 September 2022

National Racehorse Week delivers for second year

Now in its second year and following a delayed start as a mark of respect following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, National Racehorses Week got underway earlier this month.

The annual celebration of the racehorse saw 10,000 places made available with yards up and down the country opening their doors for the public to come and experience a day in the life of a racehorse. From training facilities and studs to aftercare and rehoming centres, 138 different events took place over eight days helping to demonstrate in ‘real life’ both the passion for the racehorse that underpins the sport and how well racing’s equine athletes are cared for throughout their life.  

With core funding provided by the Racing Foundation, National Racehorse Week was able to put a significant focus this year on community outreach and engagement. A total of 26 dedicated events took place across the country, supported by Racing Together and Racing to School, with more than 800 people from schools, charities, urban equestrian centres and community groups getting involved to have their first experience behind the scenes of racing. And where people were not able to attend a yard visit, racehorses were taken to them. Events included:

  • Dan Skelton Racing hosted 50 young people from Birmingham’s Summerfield Stables, an equestrian charity supporting disadvantaged and disabled young people
  • Jo Foster took racehorse Sigurd to a primary and secondary school alongside two care homes in West Yorkshire 
  • Paul Nicholls OBE hosted a special visit for NHS and Emergency Service workers 
  • Godolphin hosted Leicester’s Urban Equestrian Academy and took a retired racehorse to Newmarket Academy as part of the Newmarket Godolphin Beacon Project
  • James Fanshawe and Emma Lavelle hosted children with serious illnesses from the Barrie Well’s Trust Box4Kids initiative 
  • BTRC and Greatwood aftercare centres took racehorse ambassadors to care homes, as part of the growing trend for thoroughbred equine therapy in the community

Rod Street, CEO Great British Racing, commented, “National Racehorse Week brings the British racing industry together, from grassroots to elite level, to showcase to the public the very best of what it does – namely, providing the very best care for racehorses across their lives. Thanks to the generosity of the participants and their flexibility during a challenging period both for racing and the country, it achieved that purpose and we thank every person involved for helping us to deliver that.” 

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation which provided core funding for the initiative said, “It’s essential that racing connects with new people of all ages and backgrounds, and I am delighted that our investment has helped achieve so much within such a short space of time.  We hope this becomes a catalyst for the sport to take a much more strategic approach to community engagement in the future.”

Trainer Richard Phillips, the originator of the idea for National Racehorse Week, welcomed over 300 people at his open day in Adlestrop, Gloucestershire. Phillips remarked, “We had a fantastic day with a huge number of people coming to the yard, many of whom were new to racing. It’s easy to forget that there are a lot of people out there who don’t really understand racing or equestrian sports or even horses in general. It’s up to us to show them what is great about it and why we are confident that we give racehorses a great life. That’s what National Racehorse Week allows us to do and why it’s so important.”

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