Over 10,750 members of the general public will visit a racing yard as part of Britain’s first ever National Racehorse Week, taking place 12th–19th September.
Dame Judi Dench has lent her support to this inaugural event that will celebrate the 14,000 racehorses that are cared for in the UK and that are at the centre of the UK’s second best attended sport.
Chris Hughes shares what to expect from National Racehorse Week:
In just four days’ time, 131 trainers from across the UK will open their doors to the British public offering the chance to witness, for free, the care, love and attention that goes into looking after these magnificent animals and the fantastic lives they lead.
National Racehorse Week, supported by The Racing Foundation and Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust, incorporates pre-existing open days at some of British racing’s most important training centres such as the Malton and Epsom Open days on the opening weekend (12th September) and the Henry Cecil Open Weekend in Newmarket (18th–19th September), home to almost 3,000 racehorses.
To start the week on Sunday 12th September, 55 racing yards will open across the country, including 36 National Racehorse Week open days and 12 yards in Malton and seven in Epsom.
During the open days members of the public will experience the day-to-day workings of a racing yard with the opportunity to meet the horses themselves, and the dedicated support team that care for them 365 days a year. Further activities and demonstrations vary from yard to yard, and include seeing the horses exercising on the gallops, treadmills and swimming pools; welfare demonstrations, for example horse physio and farriers, as well as offering light refreshments.
In addition to the open yard events throughout the week, National Racehorse Week will host a series of virtual events from 13th–17th September. Content will include videos such as day in the life of a groom, retirement, racehorse yoga and fitness.
There are currently 131 participating trainers (including the trainer centres) for National Racehorse Week:
- 84 trainers are opening up their yards across Britain specifically to host National Racehorse Week open days (which are all free to attend). There is a great regional spread including 10 yards across the South West to two yards in Scotland as far flung as Fife
- 28 yards are opening as part of the famous Henry Cecil open weekend in Newmarket on 18th–19th September, where nearly 3,000 racehorses live
- 12 yards are opening at the Malton open day on 12th September
- 7 yards are opening at the Epsom open day on 12th September
Of the 84 National Racehorse Week open days, 71% of guest lists are already fully booked, with availability remaining at 24 yards. See the yards that are available to visit here if you would like to reserve a place. The Henry Cecil, Malton and Epsom open days also have availability.
Trainer Tim Vaughn who is based in Cowbridge, Wales, is one of many trainers who has increased guest list capacity on open days due to high demand. Speaking on the initiative he said: “Due to demand we have increased our capacity for the open day and are delighted that the event has had so much interest and support”
He continued: “We are excited to show to the public how passionate we are about the care, love and attention that we provide our horses before, during and after racing. It is a privilege to allow interested parties to take a look behind-the-scenes of what goes into getting these wonderful animals to the racecourse.”
To find out which yards are open in your area there is a postcode search on the website that will direct you to the activity closest to your home. Please visit www.nationalracehorseweek.uk now to book your free place.
Credit: National Racehorse Week
Karen can usually be found glued to her computer or at the stables. Having edited several national magazines she co-founded Eclipse Magazine in 2008 after realising that many of her friends were nervous about going racing due to lack of information – what to wear, how to bet etc.
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