National Racehorse Week is a nationwide annual celebration of the racehorse and a chance to see first-hand the love, care and attention that goes into looking after them.
In an experience like no other, racing training yards up and down the country will showcase the fantastic lives that these magnificent animals lead.
Over 100 yards across the country, including training centres such as Epsom, Malton and Newmarket are opening their doors to the public in order to show what life as a racehorse is really like. It is a chance for you to talk to the people behind the scenes who commit their lives to looking after racehorses and to see for yourself what being a racehorse is all about.
Here are just some of the things you’ll likely experience on your yard visit:
See fitness training
Just like any human athlete, fitness is imperative in preparing the racehorse for the track and ensuring they are in the best of health. There are many parts to keeping a racehorse fit, so during your visit you may get the chance to see the horses on the gallops, taking a restorative swim, warming up/down on the horse walker, or even doing a few reps on an equestrian treadmill.
See racehorses honing their skills. Racehorses regularly need to practice all the skills they need on the racecourse, whether that be jumping or learning a particular way of racing to optimise performance. Schooling over jumps, working on different surfaces and environments are all an important part of a racehorse training routine that help the horse to successfully adjust to different situations at the racecourse. It also adds variety to their work and gives them mental stimulation.
Veterinary care demonstrations
Ensuring that racehorses are in the best health is an absolute priority. There are teams of people dedicated to making sure that racehorses receive the best veterinary care going. Some of the demonstrations you may see on the day are routine vet checks, physiotherapy, the horse solarium and equine dentistry.
You may well get to watch a vet do a routine check on a racehorse, a dental examination, or even a physio demo and have the chance to ask them interesting questions.
Meet the people who look after a racehorse’s hooves, keeping them in the best condition and shoeing them ready for every race. See a racehorse having its hooves trimmed and being shod. Take the chance to ask questions to the experts in equine foot care. They are an essential part of maintaining a racehorse’s health.
Horses at home in the yard
An important part of any racehorse’s routine is down time and the ‘chance to be a horse’. Racehorses will have a freshly made bed every day and often enjoy a hack or time in the field which is where they all have the opportunity to put their feet up and enjoy a bit of time off.
Stable staff work hard to ensure that racehorses are kept in clean, safe environments where the horses can relax and enjoy being pampered. You will have a chance to see how a stable gets prepared, how horses get looked after in the stable, and what fun they have being treated to snacks by their favourite person who looks after them.
National Racehorse Week Champions
“I have always been a massive fan of racehorses and this week is very much about connecting people and families to the horses and giving them a chance to meet these equine stars. This is a unique opportunity to see the horses at home relaxing in their favourite places.”
“I am delighted to see the idea of National Racehorse Week spring into life. It truly is a fantastic opportunity for our wonderful owners, staff, trainers and jockeys to come together for a common love of the racehorse and a chance to show the public and policy makers that racing has absolutely nothing to hide. Racing has a great story to tell, so let’s get it out there and tell it.”