Gillian Carlisle – Chief Executive
Gillian joined BTRC in June 2015 and was instrumental in the planning of the Charity’s 25th Anniversary in 2016, including the rebranding of the Centre to become The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.
Gillian came from a professional background in operational management specialising in B2B, CRM, Marketing and Strategy development in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors in Ireland, United States and Hong Kong. Previous to joining BTRC she held the position of Equestrian Operations Manager for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Gillian managed the HKJC Beas River facilities as well as being responsible for the rehabilitation and retraining of the retired racehorse population that were not exported by their race owners and overseeing the rehabilitation stables for active racehorses at BREC. As ninety-five percent of all the horses in riding schools and private livery stables in Hong Kong are retrained retired racehorses this provided Gillian with a huge amount of experience in this unique area which spans across the racing and equestrian industries.
Privately, horses have always been a huge part of Gillian’s life and she has been involved in equestrian sport for 30 years, riding competitively in both show jumping and eventing and being a registered BHS Trainer (BHSII,SM/BHS Level 4 Senior Eventing Coach).
In 2016 Gillian was awarded a full scholarship by the Racing Foundation to represent the horse welfare sector on the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) supported Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries, MBA at the University of Liverpool. Gillian’s thesis was completed on behalf of the BHA and consisted of researching the welfare challenges facing retired racehorses in racing jurisdictions throughout the world, in order to provide an overview on International Aftercare and retraining practices. Following this, Gillian completed a post graduate course in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at the University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
Lauren Vickerson– Communications & Engagement Manager
Lauren joined BTRC in March 2015 as the Office Manager. Lauren has a degree in Business Management and has previous experience of working in the Third Sector. In her role as Office Manager Lauren was responsible for communications, finance, HR, marketing and social media. In late 2021 Lauren became the Communications & Engagement Manager for BTRC with the aim to increase brand awareness across all sectors, create new opportunities for BTRC, work with the local community and develop new & existing partnerships. Lauren has completed the Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement course at the University of Cumbria and also recently became a qualified Mental Health First Aider. In her new role Lauren has already developed many new partnerships and has arranged visits to local care homes/schools and has welcomed members of the local community to the Centre. She also signed the Centre up to take part in the annual Racing Together Community Day in 2022.
Lauren is an active member of the local equestrian community with her own horse Ed and has ridden and competed locally & nationally throughout her life. She supports the local Pony Club by volunteering, judging at competitions and assisting with events.
Holly Hunter – Equine Coordinator
Holly joined BTRC in June 2015, after previously working at a number of showing yards in Lancashire. She has completed her BHS Stage 1 and NVQ Level 3 in Horse Care and Management.
Holly worked as a Stable Staff member for 3 years and after recently returning from maternity leave, became our Equine Coordinator, responsible for finding the horses their new forever homes and looking after all horses out on loan.
Charlotte Bewley – Rehabilitation Supervisor
Charlotte joined BTRC in September 2016 and soon fell in love with every horse at BTRC! Her passion, knowledge and experience is admirable. Charlotte holds a BHS Stage 2 and the Ride & Road Safety certificate along with a National Certificate in the Management of Horses.
Charlotte enjoys welcoming and settling in the new horses, as well as working with those horses in our rehab unit tCharlotte loans BTRC Oscar and really does live, sleep and breathe horses!!
Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS – BTRC Consultant Vet
Gordon has been the consultant veterinary surgeon for the centre since 2015. As such he visits us at least once a month to assess how all the horses are progressing and attempt to alleviate the lameness and other issues that are thrown up by the retraining process. He also supports the centre by participating in CPD days or industry demonstrations and events that the Charity hosts to promote their work and British Racehorse Aftercare. Gordon has a great deal of experience with retired Thoroughbreds, he was the first equestrian vet for the Hong Kong Jockey Club from 1996 – 2009 and during that period worked with over 2000 horses which were retired from racing and retrained for use in Hong Kong riding schools or for equestrian use in China. As well as caring for riding school and racing horses in Hong Kong and working as a treating vet for the 2008 Olympic Games. He still visits China regularly and continues to monitor the health and welfare of retired HKJC horses throughout the country. Since returning to the UK Gordon runs the equine side of a busy mixed practice in Mid Devon and frequently officiates as an FEI Veterinary Delegate at competitions both In the UK and overseas. He also regularly flies with horses for both racing and equestrian competitions throughout Asia. Gordon’s many years of working with retired Thoroughbreds has led to an understanding that many of their lameness and apparent behavioural issues in retirement can be attributed to back and sacroiliac pain and has allowed him to develop treatment protocols which recognise this situation and to encourage as many horses as possible to take up equestrian careers.
Megan Townley – Stable Staff
Megan joined BTRC in October 2021 after previously working at a stud and showing yard. Megan studied level 3 Equine Management and although hasn’t worked with Thoroughbreds before is enjoying getting to know them all at the Centre. She has also achieved the BHS Ride & Road Safety certificate and hopes to do her BHS stage 1 and more in the future. A real animal lover with her own pony and dog.
Molly joined BTRC in 2020 as part time Stable Staff and found she loved what the BTRC was all about and quickly became full time as Stable Supervisor and more recently Office Support Manager. Molly loves thoroughbreds and seeing each one progress through their programmes. Molly has had horses all her life and participated in Pony Club teams and activities for many years, she especially enjoyed coaching the Pony Club games team. If you phone BTRC you are most likely to speak to Molly!
Please click here to find out more about Molly and her role (YouTube link)
Rob Potter – Rider Groom
Rob joins BTRC in 2022 with over 10 years of industry experience. Rob holds his BHS Stage 1,2,3 Care & Ride, BHS Riding Road safety certificate, BHS Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults certificate and studied Level 2 Equine Management at Myerscough College. Rob previously worked for David Pincus (Dressage Trainer) and at many local equestrian centres and riding schools. Rob has loaned BTRC Roxy Spirit since 2015 and has produced her further to become a successful dressage horse.