Giddy up for National Racehorse Week!
It’s not quite a pony for Christmas, but we have something nearly as fabulous (and a lot less expensive) - free entry into the top stables around the UK!
Were you inspired by Rachael Blackmore winning the Grand National this year? Or the British horse-riding team galloping to the medal podium in the Tokyo Olympics? Or maybe your children just love My Little Pony and want to pretend to ride unicorns and brush manes all day (basically, they’re living my dream).
Whatever your equine predilection, the brilliant news is that I have an innovative, super-exciting new way to indulge it. National Racehorse Week takes place from 12 – 19 September in more than 100 yards across the country, including training centres like Epsom, Malton and Newmarket , offering a rare chance for the public to experience the love and care that goes into looking after the most elite horses across the UK. (See your local participating stables here).
So riding crops, jodpurs and your, ahem, well-worn copy of Jilly Cooper’s Riders at the ready, here are five reasons to put National Racehorse Week on your September ‘to-do- list.
YOUR CHANCE TO BE THE FIRST
It’s the inaugural year for this event, which means easy bragging rights with friends and actual real life awe from your wide-eyed children (tip: if their mouths gape long enough, take your chance and ram in some fruit). Unless you hang out with Queen Liz II on a regular basis at her royal stables your kids are unlikely to have seen a 35,000 calorie-eating, 92 stone, mane-shaking, lightning bolt of a racehorse galloping in front of them before. Mind. Blown.
MEET THE ELITE ATHLETES
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a racehorse? Actually, it’s very much like being an Olympic athlete (I can say this with authority – I brought home gold this year in the Armchair Junk-food Endurance race). No world-class athlete can do without his or her constant support team, and for the first time you’ll be able to see ‘behind the scenes’, watching these beautiful horses be taken through their physio, treadmill exercises, vet checks, swimming, schooling and exercising on the gallops in a series of demos from the top trainers in the country.
THE EVENT IS ON YOUR DOORSTEP
No need to travel far m’lady. Local highlights for us include Harry Whittington’s Hill Barn Stables in Wantage where you can see the Cheltenham Festival winning trainer’s 30 horses in full-time training, or Eve Johnson Houghton at Woodway stables in Blewbury – catch both farrier and equine physio demos here, along with hosted tours and refreshments. Not your bag? Here, search all the participating stables near you.
IT’S FAMILY FRIENDLY
One of the big calling card for National Racehorse Week is its family creds, so the little people aren’t forgotten here. Kids will receive their own activity pack on the day full of games and activities to keep them entertained, if they can tear their eyes away from the horses.
IT’S * FREE!*
Yup, that’s right, sister. It costs zip. Nada. Diddly squat. Zero. Isn’t that refreshing? The only thing you must do is register as, no surprise in a working yard, places are limited and certain yards have already filled to capacity. Just decide on the yard you want to visit and then it’s a quick click to confirm your spot.
National Racehorse Week takes place 12 -19 September across the UK.
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