Following on from the recent announcement of the return of National Racehorse Week, members of the public are now able to book their visit to a local yard via the website. Taking place 10th -18th September, yards up and down the country will open their doors to the public to showcase the welfare and care given to racehorses 365 days a year. To see which yards are currently opening up and secure your free entry place, go to the website nationalracehorseweek.uk.
Originally the idea of trainer Richard Phillips, 90 yards have already signed up to participate in 2022 including Nicky Henderson, Charlie & Mark Johnston, Emma Lavelle, Kim Bailey and of course, Richard Phillips himself. This year’s event will be bookended by the open days taking place at Epsom and Malton on 11th September and The Henry Cecil Open Weekend in Newmarket on 17th-18th September, bringing the total number of locations on offer to the public during that period to more than 140.
To help promote the launch this week, trainer Jo Foster took racehorse Sigurd to visit a care home and school in Ilkley, Bradford. Supported by his owner, Mrs Verity, Sigurd began community visits during last year’s National Racehorse week. Jo Foster explains: “Sigurd is an incredible horse - he competes on the racecourse, but also regularly visits schools and residential homes, which has become second nature to him. I’ve never known a horse so able to relax and genuinely relate to people, from children with special needs, to older people in wheelchairs.
“For me, National Racehorse Week is about how we, as trainers, can help people and give back to the community. These wonderful horses offer us so much more than winning races. It’s also an opportunity for people to come and see how we, in turn, look after our racehorses.” See video of Sigurd’s day here.
Barry Johnson, Chair of the Horse Welfare Board commented: “It’s so important that racing throws open its doors to welcome people behind the scenes. Racing can talk about the levels of care racehorses receive every day, but it’s experiencing this personally that truly makes the difference.”
Gabi Whitfield, Acting Head of Welfare Communications at Great British Racing added: “This is about galvanising the sport around a specific moment in time to help showcase the life of horses in racing. We want open days happening up and down the country at yards and centres of every possible size and stature with a real focus on making everyone welcome. There is still time for trainers to sign-up and there are many ways to take part.”
As well as those opening up to the general public, some trainers have chosen to create their own personalised community outreach activities during the week or are focusing on bringing in young people with the support of Racing To School and Racing Together.
And new for this year, studs and aftercare organisations have been included with centres such as HEROS, Greatwood, BTRC and New Beginnings all confirmed as taking part.
National Racehorse Week will be funded by the Racing Foundation, with additional support from the Horserace Betting Levy Board as part of its funding of welfare communications. The week will once again be led by Great British Racing.
To find out more go to the website nationalracehorseweek.uk which is sponsored by the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust.