BHS Changing Lives Now Available at BTRC

BTRC are proud to be working in partnership with the British Horse Society to deliver the Changing Lives Programme which uses horses as the inspiration for change and allows disengaged young people to develop key skills and engage them back in to society.

What is the Changing Lives Through Horses programme?

The British Horse Society Changing Lives Through Horses is an alternative education programme where children and young people can learn in a safe and nurturing environment alongside highly trained coaches at British Horse Society Approved Riding Centres. The BHS believes that horses and equine facilitated learning can have a remarkable role to play in impacting on a young person’s life.

When was the programme developed?

The Changing Lives Through Horses programme was developed and piloted in 2016 with excellent feedback from the twelve centres involved. Since then the programme has grown, with over 95 trained centres nationwide and with over 2000 young people  accessing the programme to date. Our coaches receive support to run the programme and regular training from our dedicated Changing Lives Through Horses team at the BHS.

Who is the Programme for?

The programme is aimed at children and young people aged 5-25 years who have become, or are at risk of becoming, disengaged or excluded from education or training, or those with additional needs that mean they need more support to maintain their school placement. Participants who have benefitted from the programme include those with special educational needs, including social and emotional mental health needs, and those who may have experienced trauma or adverse childhood experiences.

What does the programme involve?

The main aim of the programme is to develop and support 6 key life skills: Communication, Confidence, Teamwork, Building Relationships, Perseverance, and Responsibility. The programme is structured around two frameworks aimed at younger and older participants.  Both offer horse care and ridden modules with structured awards and certificates that recognise and reward achievement. Activities contained in each award provide opportunities for the participant to develop in the six key life skills that are transferable back to school or further education opportunities, practice learning skills linked to their school curriculum and build a portfolio of equine knowledge and experience that could lead to a pathway of further industry qualifications.

We also offer an accredited Personal Development Qualification integrated within the programme at Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2.

Know someone that might benefit?

If you know of a young person that could benefit, please contact us on or call 01524 812649. For more information on the programme please click here.

BTRC To Host British Horse Loggers Competition

We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the British Horse Loggers Annual Competition here at Whinney Hill Farm on 11th and 12th May 2024.
Spectators are welcome, come along and learn more about this sustainable method in modern forestry and see these amazing heavy horses at work. Further details such as timings and parking location will be released nearer the time but please save the date for this exciting event and keep your eyes on our social media for updates.
If you would like to find out more about the competition please visit or email

Volunteer Field Officers Wanted

We require the help of volunteer field officers around the country to spare a small amount of their time each year to make annual visits to our horses out on loan.

We are looking for knowledgeable equestrians who can act responsibly on behalf of the BTRC. A training day will be arranged for new volunteers to receive the required training to carry out visits. All volunteers are required to have access to their own transport, however mileage expenses are covered by BTRC.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering for this role please send an email to with the subject ‘Volunteer Field Officer’. In the email, please include a brief summary of your equine experience and the area you would be able to cover. This role is open to anyone 18 years and above. We will be closing applications on 15th March 2024.

The areas we specifically require officers are as follows:

– Glasgow

– Millom/Ulverston

– Skipton/Settle

– Coventry

If you have any questions please feel free to drop us a message.


Lunging & Long Reining Training Day

Saturday 23rd March 2024: 9am – 3pm

Are you seeking to improve your skills and understanding of lunging and long-reining? Join BHSI Stage 5 Performance Coach, Debbie Wilson for an informative training day. The training sessions will be held at The BTRC, Whinney Hill, Aughton Road, Lancaster LA2 6PQ, a profesional and conducive environment for learning and practicing.

The day will be split into two sessions:

Morning Session: 9am – 12.30pm
Lunging/Long reining theory, including how to use the equipment and demonstrations. You will discuss a range of reasons for lunging/long reining, factors that may affect lunging/long reining and look at a range of common lunging/long reining practices. (BHS Stage 2 – 4 learning outcomes will be covered).
Cost £45 (Inc VAT)

Afternoon Session: 1pm – 3pm
Four x 30 mins slots available for you to bring your own horse and learn how to long rein or lunge. Maybe you already know how but want some guidance and support on how to take it to the next level?
Cost: £35 (Inc VAT)

The afternoon session is also open for observation – you will learn from each individual session as they will all be different.
Cost: £20 (Inc VAT)

Book Now

If you would like to find out more detail about the BHS Stages and the learning outcomes for each, please click here. 

Online Charitable Auction – A Racing Weekend Away

Calling all racing fans… help BTRC round off the year with the final fundraising push! We have this fantastic auction prize, kindly donated by Fergal O’Brien Racing and The Jockey Club. Please take a look below and email your highest bid to before 5pm on 20.12.2023.
The winner with the highest bid will be notified on 21.12.23. 

Get To Know #TeamBTRC

Welcome to our new series! Every Tuesday we will be posting #TeamTuesday over on Facebook in which we will introduce you to our amazing #TeamBTRC, with a different staff member every week. We will also be sharing the week’s update on this blog so keep coming back to find out more! Get to know a little more about the staff that work so hard to care for our horses and what makes them tick…

And last but certainly not least is our fantastic Yard Manager, Toni…

Hi, I am Toni and I have worked here at the BTRC for just over 6 years. I began as a Work Rider before I was promoted to Yard Manager 2 years ago. I have been around horses all my life. I like to see the horses come into the centre and then the changes that our care has made to them when they leave us. I particularly enjoy studying their clinical history, then I work closely with Gordon our vet, who develops a work plan which I oversee and supervise on a daily basis. It’s lovely to see the results that our hard work and care makes to these horses lives.

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
Ultimate dream (who I loaned from the Centre).

Where was your first job?
Barton Equestrian Centre as a Stable Hand.

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
My dog Charlie, my daughter Sienna and a BIG bottle of Vodka!

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Ride my own horse.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Young Hearts Run Free by Candy Statton and the Source.

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
To regulate breeding of animals; particularly dogs, cats and horses.

Find out more about new Stable Staff Member, Kate…

Hi I’m Kate, I hail from Essex but recently moved to Lancashire. I am a hardworking person with a passion for all things equestrian. I enjoy working with at the BTRC as I take a huge amount of pride in my work and knowing that we are helping horses when and where we can to recover and rehome makes me that much prouder of what I do.

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
Cap Canaille (Clyde)

Where was your first job?
Working as a groom at Westlands Equestrian Centre in Essex when I was 13.

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Radio, matress and suncream!!

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Travelling/sight seeing and hiking.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chantilly Lace by the Big Bopper

Our longest standing member of the team and a face many of you will recognise… Lauren!

Hi, I’m Lauren and I’m the Communications & Engagement Manager. I joined BTRC in early 2015 as Office Manager having previously worked for a youth charity whilst studying for a degree in Business Management. Horses have been a big part of my life since I was very young; I competed in British Showjumping and was an active member of Oxenholme Pony Club for many years. Joining BTRC was a dream as it encompassed my passion for all things equine but has also allowed me to grow and develop so much over the years. My role is incredibly varied, and each day is different, which is what I love most about working here. My new role has enabled me to get out and about more and share our work with the community, which is very rewarding. Outside of work I live with my husband Tom and two dogs Poppy & Nellie (who also come to work with me!) and I enjoy spending my free time with my own horse, Ed.

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?

Where was your first job?
Working in a BnB

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
My dogs, wine and my phone (well I am the Communications Manager 😂!)

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Spending time with my family and friends, walking my dogs and riding.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2Pac – Changes

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
Free flights so I could travel the world (when I’m not working!!)

Continue reading “Get To Know #TeamBTRC”

BTRC Race Day Raises £8,000 for Vulnerable Thoroughbreds

On Saturday 5th November BTRC held their 5th Annual ‘Charity Race Day’ at Aintree Racecourse. It was a beautiful, crisp November morning and the day was a great success.

Over 50 guests enjoyed a champagne reception courtesy of The Jockey Club followed by a delicious lunch in the exquisite 1750 Suite. Prior to the first race, guests donated £10 to enter a raffle to win a pair of tickets to the first day of the Grand National Festival (donated by the Jockey Club) or a tasty hamper donated by Howard & Jean Johns from Cartmel Village Shop. Our two winners were delighted, but the winner of the Grand National Tickets quickly found out she was unavailable that day so very kindly donated the tickets back to BTRC to raffle off in the upcoming charity auction!

Continue reading “BTRC Race Day Raises £8,000 for Vulnerable Thoroughbreds”

Christmas at BTRC – 25th November

Come along for a fun filled Christmassy day out! Meet the horses, enjoy activities around the Centre, shop for your Christmas gifts at the stalls, enjoy a tasty treat from the BBQ or cake stall, take part in the fun dog show and find out more about our work retraining and rehabilitating retired racehorses.

  • 11am – 3pm
  • Free parking onsite
  • Free to book, suggested donation of £5 per person upon entry.
  • Accessible to All

There will be 5 fun dog classes:
– Loveliest Lady
– Fabulous Fella
– Young Handler (14 & Under)
– Dog Judge Would Most Like to Take Home
– Fancy Dress (Christmas Theme)
£2 entry per class, entries taken on the day.

Book Now

BTRC Vet Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS appointed as RoR Head of Veterinary Strategy

BTRC Consultant Vet Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS has been appointed the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR’s) Head of Veterinary Strategy.
Gordon has been dedicated to Thoroughbred welfare for almost 30 years. Primarily, in his role as the first equestrian vet for the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). During his time with the HKJC Gordon was responsible for establishing the veterinary standards, and providing veterinary care for the retired racehorse population in Hong Kong, as well as monitoring the welfare of almost 900 retired racehorses donated by HKJC to Mainland China for equestrian use.

Continue reading “BTRC Vet Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS appointed as RoR Head of Veterinary Strategy”

BTRC Loaners Showcase their Talent at ROR National Championships

Don’t Touch in the Always a Star Parade

Sponsored by The Jockey Club, the four-day RoR National Championships extravaganza is the biggest event in the UK for showcasing the versatility of the thoroughbred and is the pinnacle of the showing calendar for former racehorses.

BTRC rehome retired racehorses to a variety of homes, some enjoying a quieter life of hacking and others more competitive homes. A few of those in competitive homes, attended the 2023 RoR National Championships and had a fantastic time! Read on to hear how they got on:

BTRC Don’t Touch & Lauren

“When I received the email to say we had qualified for the RoR Champs I was over the moon and so proud of Donald. We have worked our socks off this year with it being our first season getting out regularly competing. Aintree has always been a favourite venue of mine and luckily is very local so to be able to ride in the middle of the track was surreal, it was also a very good experience for us both having never ridden a dressage test on grass before and I was beyond pleased with his behaviour and him keeping his cool with a lot going on and being back on racecourse since his race days. However, the proudest moment was being invited to take part in the Always A Star Parade in the evening performance Saturday night as I got to show him off for everyone to see whilst the commentator read out his racing achievements, very proud and hoping to return next year.”

BTRC Ideal Recruit  & Becca

“We had an amazing but exhausting few days at Aintree for the National Champs. We let the occasion get to us in the arena and only managed 60% in our intro test but then upped our game out on the grass and got a really solid 63.4% in the prelim. He then had a bit of a party in the in-hand class but still came 5th. Most importantly we’ve all had a great time, Rio was an absolute saint with the kids and they’ve had so much fun and are already planning next year’s trip!”

BTRC Hailing Park & Rachael

“She won national hunt veteran on Friday and amateur produced national hunt horse (only mare in both classes) and then took overall in hand champion on the Friday. She went through the first round for preliminary judging in the open in hand on the Saturday (class of 42) and finished in the top 10 narrowly missing out on the evening performance. She was the only mare to be placed and every other horse was at least 3 years her junior . She has also qualified for STARS champion of champions in November for the veterans and the ex racehorses. What a horse she is!”

Well done to all of our loaners for their achievements, it is not all about results but having a great trip out and a positive experience.