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

Get To Know #TeamBTRC

Welcome to our are 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…

New team member Niamh always has a smile on her face and is quickly learning the ropes! 

Hi, I’m Niamh I’m 22 and I work full time as a Rider Groom here at the BTRC. Before moving to England and working at the BTRC I lived in Ireland where I worked as an Instructor on a livery yard/riding school for 3 years. I have my own 6 year old Connemara pony, Corrib, who is still in Ireland but I can’t wait to bring him over to England in the very near future! I really enjoy working for the BTRC as I have always been very passionate about the rehabilitation of horses and how it is so rewarding seeing each horse improve and become ready for rehoming to then going to their new homes. Also it is incredible to work with such an amazing and passionate team.

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
Golden Cape

Where was your first job?
Working as an instructor on a livery yard / riding school

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Colouring book, colouring pencils and chocolate

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

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Shout Out to My Ex – Little Mix

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
How much it costs to learn to drive 😂

A long standing member of #TeamBTRC, who knows the place inside out, will do anything for anyone and someone we would be lost without… Holly!!

Hi, my name is Holly and I am the Equine Co-Ordinator for the BTRC. I have worked here for the past eight and a half years. When I first joined back in 2015 I was a part time stable staff member before working my way up to become a Rider Groom and then eventually to the role I am in now as Equine Co-Ordinator. This role means I am in charge of the rehoming of our BTRC horses and arranging their annual visits once they have gone out on loan and making sure all of our loaners are happy. I love being able to see all the horses that I rehome progressing with their new loaners. I also spend time with our work experience students to make sure they learn everything they need to while they are on their placement with us. Outside of work I live with my partner Jake and our two children, Leo & Archie and our two dogs, Rupert & Dexter. My Mum and I have 5 horses between us that are kept at our yard close by to my house. So I am very busy when I’m not at work!!

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
No Tears (Teddy)

Where was your first job?
At a local private showing yard


What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
A book, chocolate and a warm tent!

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Spending time with my family and my own horses,

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jordan Davis – Next thing you know

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
I would change Winter being less muddy… I own a grey horse!!!

It’s #TeamTuesday again and this week we have a VERY special team member to introduce you to…

“Hello, my name is TuTu Wilde, or Toots to my friends. I am 18 months old and I am a Dartmoor Hill Pony from Pew Tors in the Dartmoor National Park. I desperately needed to find a new home because as much as I loved living on the Moors with my pony pals, I always preferred spending time with humans and my loving Mum was worried as I would jump in the gaiter when being fed and try to disappear off on an adventure! The BTRC were looking for another mascot and because I’m SO friendly, I was the perfect fit!! They even had a very generous supporter named Julie donate the money towards my long trip up North, which I made in a super luxurious Eric Gillie lorry with lots of other horses and finally arrived at my new home a few weeks ago.
I have settled into life at the Centre very well and have loved getting to know everyone, especially my new mate Washbear. I’m not sure she loves me as much as I love her but I’ll soon win her round!
I’m looking forward to meeting you all very soon at the Christmas event and hopefully I’ll be out and about next year to say hello to even more supporters.”

We are very grateful to Pew Tors Ponies for trusting us to care for Toots and of course to Julie for donating towards her journey. Tutu has been named after the late Jane Wilde, a lifelong friend, loaner and supporter of BTRC. Together with her friend Julie who made the donation, we feel this is a fitting tribute to our friend who is missed so very much.

Introducing you all to our new Retraining Rider… Debbie!

Hi, I’m Debbie, I’m 34 and recently took up the position of Retraining Rider at BTRC, I have always had a passion for horses from a very young age and I’ve never grown out of it . I worked on an event yard early in my career and then went into retail and now finally at the BTRC. I’m looking forward to seeing the horses progress and find their forever homes.

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
Mare: Lakshmi Lola and Gelding: Second Wind

Where was your first job?
Working on a Eventing Yard

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
My daughter, unlimited pizza and sweets

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

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Morgan Walle – Last Night

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
Nicer British weather

Experienced, compassionate, patient and a real horsewoman, Charlotte is the BTRC Rehabilitation Supervisor…

Hi I’m Charlotte, Rehab Supervisor here at BTRC. Maybe this is a little longer than the others but at 46 there’s a lot to get into a few words!
I was born and raised in Lancashire, my love for horses began at an early age and I spent most of my weekends with one of my cousins and her pony. One of my auntie’s managed to loan ponies for me to attend Pony Club camp as my Mum and Dad weren’t ‘horsey’ though they have come to like all the horses and ponies I’ve had over the years. I moved, with my now husband Stephen, to the Northeast of England in 1997 and that’s where my bit of Geordie twang comes from, we managed dairy farms and our own dairy heifer rearing enterprise, alongside this I had 2 cracking kids, Josh and Tanya. They always had ponies and we backed every pony we bought. We then moved back to Lancashire 20 years later and I was lucky enough that the BTRC were hiring and so here I’ve been for 7 years. The experiences I’ve learnt from each and every horse that comes through the yard gate is unbelievable and they are all so different. I love getting to know what they struggle with and helping them improve with understanding both mentally and physically, it is so rewarding.

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
Other than the 2 I took home, my all time fav Mare, Stars Lecacy and Gelding Clockmaker.

Where was your first job?
Holmescales Riding Centre

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Biscuits, Matches and Cider

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Spending time with my family and my four legged friends

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
OneRepublic – I Ain’t Worried

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
To have more daylight hours in winter

From Stable Staff to Office Support Manager, Molly has done it all and can turn her hand to absolutely anything!!

Hi, my name is Molly and I am 25, I have worked at the BTRC for just over 3 years, initially I started out on the yard but I now work in the office as the office support manager.

When I left school I spent a couple of years working and living in Australia as a PE teaching assistant/hockey coach and upon return to the UK I started at The BTRC. I have ridden and had horses all my life and at home I currently have 3 horses that I share with my younger sister and also my dog, Bessie.

I have learnt so much since I started working at the BTRC and have become really passionate about the welfare and aftercare of our wonderful thoroughbreds. Everyone here works so hard to get the horses through their retraining programmes and ready to rehome, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say there is nothing better than seeing the horses heading off to their forever loan homes ❤

Favourite BTRC horse (of all time)?
Prince will be my forever favourite but Bee comes close second

Where was your first job?
Waitress at a pub

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
My dog Bessie, a pair of tweezers and Rose Wine!

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Spending time with my horses and going out with friends

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Billy Joel – Just the way you are

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
The English weather!

Third up we have the Marvellous Mollie! 

Hi I’m Mollie, I’m 24 and I work part time as Stable Staff at the BTRC. I have 3 cats and a Shire X TB. I began my career within the Equine Industry as an apprentice groom at Country Farm Stud where I gained my Level 3 Certificate in Horse Care and Management in Breeding. After this I worked at HAPPA alongside my work at a local pub. I moved up to Cumbria to work for Witherslack Hall Equestrian Centre as a riding instructor and trek guide which unfortunately closed down whilst I was on maternity leave. Once my maternity leave was up I began working for the BTRC as it has always been my dream workplace and I feel lucky to work with such hardworking colleagues and horses! I enjoy seeing the rehabilitation the horses go through to eventually get rehomed. My favourite horse is Cilla, my all time fave and my colleagues know because she’s all I go on about!

Where was your first job?
My first job was as a waitress in a pub.

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Coffee, my dressing gown and my baby’s nappy bag!

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Spending time with my family and my horse.

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fleetwood Mac – The chain

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
More trees and less houses!

Secondly, we have the small but mighty… Emily!

Hi, my name is Emily, I’m 20 and I am a full-time stable staff member. I moved up to Lancaster to live in the accommodation on site at BTRC when I was 18. I previously attended Reaseheath College where I studied Level 3 Horse Management. Following this I joined The National Horseracing College for their 12 week foundation course, leaving with a merit. I enjoy working at BTRC as they encourage you to develop your skills in different aspects as well as seeing all the different personalities of the horses that come in.

Where was your first job?

What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Matches, blanket and crisps

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Looking at thing to buy and sleeping

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Danza kurduro – Don Omar

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
Making plane tickets free.

First up is the most hard working, quad driving extraordinaire, always smiling… Megan!

Hi, I’m Megan, I’m 23 and I work full time at the BTRC as Stable Staff. Before starting at BTRC I worked for a stud and showing yard.
I have my own pony, a dales x cob called Beauty and I love spending time with her in my free time.
I live with my partner Martin in our own house, and we have chickens and Indian Runner ducks!
I enjoy working at the BTRC as every day is different and I enjoy looking after the horses, who each have their own personality. I also love seeing them progress and go onto loving homes.

Where was your first job?
In my local Chippy serving fish and chips on a Saturday!


What are the three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
A boat, ice cream and a radio.

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Going to Wallings for ice cream with my boyfriend Martin! And spending time with my family

If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Burning Love by Elvis Presley

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
The price of riding leggings/jodhpurs

And finally… who is your favourite BTRC horse of all time?
Abs (Abbey Express) for sure, but Theo (Timeless Touch) is a very close second as he is so snuggly!



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.


Raise Funds for BTRC By Joining the Virtual Balloon Race

🎈Tickets available now for our Virtual Balloon Race🎈 A fun, interactive way of helping BTRC raise funds…
To support us, you can take part in the Halloween Race. Buy a virtual balloon for just £3, between now and the start date, using the blue tab at the bottom of this page. You can even gift balloons to your friends and family! The race starts 31st October 2023 at 12pm. The race will be 7 days long and the winning balloon is the one that has flown the furthest, as measured in a straight line from the launch location.

You will be able to name, decorate and alter the parameters of your balloon which will effect how it flies. The race uses real weather conditions including wind speed and current temperature.

This is a national race, and there are other charities and organisations taking part. This means that your balloon is competing individually. The national race are offering 2 prizes:

1.£100 cash
2. Amazon Alexa / Echo Dot 4th Generation!

We will also be offering prizes for the 1st to 3rd place and the best decorated balloon will win a mystery prize – so it’s all to play for! If we sell more than 1000 balloons, we will receive a further donation of £100.

You will need to create an account when buying a balloon, as this allows you to track it’s progress all week via the dashboard. It also ensures eco racing can contact you if your balloon wins the national race. You can buy as many balloons as you would like (£3 per balloon) which increases your chance of winning. Once the race has started you will be unable to buy more balloons or make any changes to it. Every balloon bought will help towards our goal.

Please share to all your friends, family, colleagues and anyone you know! Thank you for your support, and good luck!

Win 2x Tickets to HOYS

Enter now for your chance to win 2x Sunday Evening Performance Tickets to Horse of the Year Show worth over £100!

To enter the draw, donate just £5 to our work with vulnerable, retired racehorses. To find out what’s on at HOYs please visit: Horse of the Year Show (  Thank you to Horse of the Year Show for kindly donating the tickets to assist with fundraising for BTRC.

The draw will be made week commencing 18th September
Winner will be contacted by telephone and/or email
If not claimed within 48hrs it will be drawn again
To enter you must be over 16 years old
Winner to receive tickets only, any travel and accommodation required is not the responsibility of BTRC or HOYS
If you are a UK tax payer, please select gift aid when purchasing – this allows us to claim 25% on top of your donation at no cost to you.



Fun for All at the BTRC Open Day

Saturday 5th August saw many people turn out for the Family Fun Open Day at BTRC. With the wettest July on record, the field was out of bounds for parking and with Storm Antoni heading our way it was due to be a wet day but with all activities and demonstrations being inside we went ahead in true British spirit and what a great day we all had! With all monies donated and received on the day, BTRC were incredibly grateful to have raised over £4,500!

Continue reading “Fun for All at the BTRC Open Day”

4Racing Owners Club Donate £1,000

We must say a huge ‘Thank You’ to the shareholders of 4Racing Owners Club for their very generous donation of £1,000. Members, David Moore, Tony Smith and Sue Young joined us at the Open Day to present their cheque.
David said “The visit was a real eye opener to how BTRC retrain and rehome vulnerable thoroughbreds when they are no longer suitable for racing. I have pledged future support to Lauren, Gillian and the rest of the wonderful staff at the BTRC.”
Donations like these are what keep BTRC going and the support of racing owners is incredibly important as it demonstrates their passion and care for racehorses not only when on track but also when their racing days are over, so thank you!
Tony, David and Sue are pictured with (L-R) BTRC Abs ridden by Hannah, Rehab Supervisor Charlotte, BTRC Ambassador Charlie Lawson, Mayor of Lancaster Roger Dennison, Yard Manager Toni, CEO Gillian and BTRC Theo ridden by Molly.

BTRC are Charity of the Year for Lune Valley Pods

Sam Westworth (LVP Managing Director), Gillian Carlisle (BTRC CEO), Carly Callon (LVP HR & Office Manager) and Lauren Vickerson (BTRC Communications & Engagement Manager)

BTRC are thrilled to announce local company, Lune Valley Pods Ltd have pledged their support to former racehorses by selecting BTRC as one of their chosen charities to receive donations from the sales of their luxury, glamping pods.

Lune Valley Pods, established in 2003 evolved from a timber building manufacturer, based just around the corner from BTRC, to the premier camping pod producer in the UK, who today employ over 30 people at their base in Heysham.

This exciting partnership came about when BTRC began Whinney Hill Farm C.I.C (WHF) as part of their diversification strategy in early 2023. As a new member of the Greener Camping Club, WHF needed sustainable, eco-friendly toilets and showers for their new camp site but at a competitive price.
Gillian and Lauren visited the local company to discuss requirements and from the first visit to delivery of the new facilities; Sam, Carly and the whole team at LVP have been supportive of BTRC’s new venture and provided professional advice and friendly support along the way.

Continue reading “BTRC are Charity of the Year for Lune Valley Pods”

BTRC Support Dalkeith Show with Retrained Racehorse Classes

We were thrilled to be a part of the Dalkeith Show on Saturday 8th July in what was a ‘first ever’ for BTRC. Lisa, a generous supporter, kindly sponsored BTRC to hold our first ever ‘Retrained Racehorse’ classes at the show.

The sun was shining as Gillian, Lauren and Molly made their way up North to the beautiful Dalkeith Country Park for the In Hand Retrained Racehorse Class and the Ridden Retrained Racehorse Class, followed by the Retrained Racehorse Championship.

These classes were open to all registered Thoroughbreds that have a Weatherbys passport and that had been in training for minimum of 6 months. ‘Blemishes’ were ignored as BTRC believes a retrained racehorse should not be marked down for these, it’s all about the retrained horse and many Thoroughbreds are able and proud to continue their new careers with blemishes from racing. Barefoot horses were also welcome along with those only shod up front and those wearing properly fitted hoof boots.

Judging was based not only on the horse but also the partnership between horse and handler/rider and BTRC encouraged grass roots entrants to these classes.

The sun was shining and it was around 25 degrees, with a brief thunderstorm at the beginning of the in-hand class, starting just as quickly as it ended! The sun returned for a wonderful class full of variety and great partnerships. The class had 9 entrants, including 1 BTRC horse, Malingering. The results were as follows:

1st : Laura Mcleod – Uncovered

2nd : Jenna Mays – Motamarred

3rd : Susan Laidlaw – Get Help

4th : Caroline Pennycook – Maureen’s Lass

The ridden class had 9 entries and again was full of great partnerships, some of whom it was their first ever show! Following an individual show and stripping, BTRC CEO Gillian concluded the class with the following results:

1st : Karen White – Sudski Star

2nd : Fiona Perry – Try It You

3rd : Jeremy Smith – Oski

4th : Lorna Mcelhaney – Carrickcross Boye

One of the competitors said “I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Judges at Dalkieth Show. It was my first show in 30 odd years and the judge was so kind and nice to us, I felt more at ease despite being so nervous.”

This was a fantastic day out for BTRC and a great opportunity to spread the word about our work and support those with retrained racehorses who put their time and effort into caring for thoroughbreds following their racing careers.

If you would be interested in having BTRC classes at your event/show please get in touch with Lauren on

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