Appeal For Retired Racehorses
favourite jockey Frankie Dettori today appealed to the public to
help retired racehorses.
team captain on BBC TV's Question Of Sport, who will bid to win
his first ever Derby this weekend (7 JUNE) at Epsom, said: "We
need to do everything we can to ensure these great horses are not
neglected when they finish racing.
the wrong hands, ex-racehorses can be dangerous but, after proper
rehabilitation and retraining, in the right hands they can be a
joy to ride."
original organisation that pioneered the welfare of ex-racehorses
is the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre in Lancashire. An open
day is being held on Sunday 22 June to show people how horses that
no longer race are re-trained before going to new homes.
Centre costs £260,000 a year to run, most of which comes from
its own fund raising efforts.
Dettori and TRC senior groom Jenny Dunn
said: "The work done at the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre
is fantastic, and the re-training techniques and riding displays
at its open days are fascinating to see. Everyone with an interest
in horses should go along on 22 June."
Italian jockey is one of the charity's five patrons who also include
BBC TV's former 'voice of racing' Sir Peter O'Sullevan.
stars of the open day at Poplar Grove Farm in Nateby, near Preston,
are two of the best-known retired steeplechasers:
Orchid touched the hearts of a nation in the 1980s and early 1990s
as he became a legend in his own racing career, winning the Cheltenham
Gold Cup, the Irish Grand National and, on no fewer than four occasions,
the Boxing Day King George VI Steeplechase.
Dandy, a permanent resident at the Centre, won the Grand National
in 1984. He is now 29 years old.
on Sunday 22 June will be able to talk to the Centre's founder Carrie
Humble and chief trainer Julie Robinson about their work, while
keen racing fan and former Coronation Street actor Charlie Lawson
(Jim McDonald) will sign autographs and speak to fans of the soap.
UK" - a campaign founded by actress Annette Crosbie - will
also be at the Centre with their dogs to show the work that is done
for rescued greyhounds.
open at 12 noon on Sunday 22 June at the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation
Centre, Poplar Grove Farm, Humblescough Lane, Nateby, near Preston,
Lancashire. Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions,
including children under 16 and the unwaged. Further details can
be obtained by calling 01995 605007.
to the Centre: (from the north) leave the M6 at junction 33, take
the A6 south or five miles, then follow the yellow signs; (from
the south) leave the M6 at junction 32 and M55 at junction 1, take
the A6 north for seven miles, then follow the yellow signs.
The Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre
Sir Peter O'Sullevan; Lord Oaksey; The Marquess of Zetland; Frankie
Dettori; Peter Humble
Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre is the brainchild of Carrie Humble,
its founder and director. Having worked in America for 17 years,
variously in theatre, the antique trade and animal welfare, Carrie
returned to the UK in 1988. Much of 1991 was spent working with
a friend and her father preparing his thoroughbred stock for the
sales, and as a direct result of going to these bloodstock sales
and seeing the reality of what these horses face when their racing
days are over, Carrie conceived the idea of the TRC.
1993 Carrie had successfully applied for and been granted charitable
status for the TRC. She had enlisted the support of Sir Peter O'Sullevan
as one of the patrons, and Bernard Donigan, former equine superintendent
with the RSPCA, who became chair of the board of trustees. After
five years at Birkrigg Park Arabian Stud, near Kendal, where the
TRC had only seven boxes and five acres, the demand for the work
was such that a move to larger premises was vital. In November 1998
the centre moved to its present location at the former livery stables
at Poplar Grove Farm in Nateby near Preston where the Centre leases
24 stables; 60 acres of land and an outdoor manege. Since 1998 the
TRC has added an indoor school; field shelters; a round pen and
three more stables.
need for organisations like the TRC is as great now as it has ever
been. Some of the hundreds of horses leaving racing each year filter
down through other equestrian fields but many end up in the saleroom
where there is no control over their destination. This is where
well-intentioned but inexperienced buyers can find themselves with
a bargain nightmare - a highly strung, finely-tuned, race-trained
blood equine, not the average rider's ideal horse but the equivalent
of a formula one racing car. Often unable to ride their prized possession,
the novice owner turns to supposed experts to come and 'sort out'
their problem. In unsympathetic hands, these horses can become dangerous,
are then branded as rogues and all too often the first step in the
cycle of neglect is taken.
trainers, trying to balance the welfare of the horse against the
demand for competitive success is virtually impossible and whilst
it is easy to criticise owners and trainers, it is not always fair.
The TRC has always wanted to work from within racing and feels it
is important to offer solutions and alternatives to those owners
and trainers who do care where their charges end up. The TRC provides
an environment of safety and experienced, quality care where these
horses can be re-educated and converted for use in other equine
fields. The horses are given time to adjust and relax before they
are asked to rethink their way of working. Horses that have been
trained purely to race often find this difficult and the TRC makes
this transition as pleasant and productive as possible. When a horse
has reached a sensible, contented conversion, it becomes available
for re-homing but even when the horse has been re-homed, it remains
the property of the TRC and is loaned out under very specific conditions
to ensure its lifelong welfare.
the TRC has now received some financial backing from the industry,
the organisation still has to raise the majority of its income from
its own fundraising efforts and the support of the horse-loving
general public. Within the next two years the TRC is also aiming
to raise the funds to buy its own premises and will remain in the
north west of England.