Q&A with BTRC Chief Executive, Gillian Carlisle

New Partners Bedmax rcently held a Q&A with our Chief Executive, Gillian Carlisle. Read more below to find out all about Gillian and her career in the equestrian industry.

The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre (BTRC) is a charity dedicated to improving and promoting the welfare of retired race horses through education, retraining and suitable rehoming in order to ensure a rewarding and valuable life after their racing careers have ended.

We caught up with BTRC Chief Executive, Gillian Carlisle to find out what led her to a career in the equine industry.

“Horses have always been a huge part of my life,” says Gillian. “My first memory of being on a horse was riding a pony called Bullet at a local riding school. He was probably about as tall as he was wide and had far too much attitude for someone so small!”

At the age of 13, Gillian’s parents purchased her first horse, Ebony, who she kept at Birr House riding school. “I was also given the opportunity to help out with lessons and quickly decided that I wanted to acquire my BHS teaching qualifications,” adds Gillian, who went on to train for the exams, whilst continuing to compete in both eventing and showjumping. Qualifying as a BHSII Int’SM (International Level 2 Trainer) in 2004, Gillian then travelled to the USA where she taught for several months each year in Vermont before becoming a commercial operations manager.

In 2011, Gillian was appointed as Equine Operations Manager for the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), managing the Beas River Equestrian Complex. “I was also responsible for the retired racehorse population that was not exported by their race owners, as well as ensuring the welfare of a further 800 HKJC horses in mainland China,” Gillian continues. “After returning from Hong Kong, I was delighted to be appointed as Chief Executive of the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre as this provides me with the fantastic opportunity to continue working in this unique area which spans across the racing and equestrian industries.”

As Gillian was starting out in her riding career, she was lucky enough to have lessons with Irish Olympic Event Rider, Eric Smiley F.B.H.S. “Even though we were just kids, he took the time to explain everything in such simple terms that it all just made sense. He is a very talented coach and inspired me and many other young riders,” says Gillian.

A recent partnership between the BTRC and BEDMAX Shavings has been formed to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Centre. “The health and welfare of our horses in the stable is a huge priority,” Gillian comments, “dust makes me sneeze and wheeze so I would definitely choose to sleep on a BEDMAX bed as it’s dust free!”

It’s clear to see Gillian has a real passion for her work and has paved a very successful career path in the equine industry. Thankfully, it appears she was always better at looking after her horses than she was her cars. “When I was growing up my Mum’s choice of car was a Deux Chevaux, she had several different models and colours,” Gillian explains, “They are great fun and fairly indestructible. My Dad actually bought me my first one because I kept forgetting to put water in all my other cars, causing them to blow up!”

Gillian advised young people embarking on a career in the industry, “Time is money; walk quickly and talk less!”

We finished with some fun, quick-fire questions:

Q1. Traditional or Bling?
A. Traditional.

Q2. Cats or Dogs?
A. Dogs.

Q3. Peas or Beans?
A. Peas.

Q4. Wine or Whisky?
A. Hot Whisky, my Dad’s speciality which is worth going home for every time!

Q5. AP or Ruby?
A. AP, County Antrim wins!

[Source – http://www.bedmaxshavings.com/qa-gillian-carlisle-chief-executive-british-thoroughbred-retraining-centre/]