Slinfold equine centre works to give racehorses a new lease of life

Mary and head girl Leanne Bird with Detour Ahead, a chestnut mare currently being retrained at Moorcroft
Mary and head girl Leanne Bird with Detour Ahead, a chestnut mare currently being retrained at Moorcroft

An equine welfare centre is working hard to give former racehorses a new lease of life.

A bright future is ahead for Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, based at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, which does such outstanding work retraining ex-racehorses to go on to lead active lives beyond the track.

Moorcroft is headed by chief executive Mary Frances BHSII and BHS.SM. Mary has an impressive background and her expertise in retraining former racehorses is unrivalled.

Her retraining achievements at Moorcroft are outstanding and she is assisted by Lianne Bird, who is a skilled yard manager. Both have worked at Moorcroft for many years, achieving consistently good results for this charity.

Mary now has a new team of trustees at Moorcroft, with Nigel Neville, Pam Tetley and Jeannie Knight helping to take Moorcroft forward, supporting the retraining with enthusiasm.

Mary said: “They are already making a difference here and are taking Moorcroft forward to a positive future.”

Mary oversees the retraining of former racehorses coming into Moorcroft’s care following a life in racing. Her expertise is invaluable in achieving good results. Nervy racehorses are transformed into meticulously schooled equines. They take part in special events at the centre which enable Moorcroft supporters to see for themselves the beneficial results of this expert retraining.

Moorcroft’s outstanding work was recently recognised with a £15,000 donation from Support Adoption for Pets towards the centre’s vet fees of which Moorcroft was hugely appreciative. On hand at the presentation ceremony was Galizzi, a seven-year-old bred by Darley, and originally trained by J Rainier.

This horse raced in France, before coming to England, where he raced for Tim Vaughan at Ascot and Epsom.

Mary said: “He is a lovely horse and his retraining is developing well. We are extremely grateful for this financial boost from Pets at Home, which will help us continue our vital retraining work with ex-racehorses so they can go on to lead active lives.”

The money donated by Pets At Home branch in Horsham was from its Support Adoption for Pets, an independent charity established in 2006. Fundraising continues at Moorcroft, where an extension is being built to the indoor school to help the centre progress. Moorcroft thanked the Peter O’ Sullevan Trust for its support. Mary firmly believes in long reining horses as part of their training. All Moorcroft horses learn to long-rein for posture improvement and strength. They can work on straight lines in a good outline, strengthening and lifting their backs every step of the way so they become comfortable horses for riders to sit on and therefore happy horses.

Another long reining course at Moorcroft is on May 18. To book email moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com.

Mary said:”There are many advantages to this schooling method and if taught correctly has huge benefits for any horse. Running around on the end of the lunge line on a permanent circle is something I never understood and it certainly will weaken and strain your horse in many ways – apart from exhausting it.

“We work well with an excellent vet and an ACPAT registered physiotherapist who have never failed to unearth and treat the problems that we often find these ex-racehorses have gone through. There are problems, which, if not found and solved, will prevent them from going on to comfortable new careers and therefore we are committed to helping them to change their way of going and their basic understanding of how to carry a rider. To this end they must be sound and pain-free.”

For more about Moorcroft demonstrations or how to donate contact moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com or ring 07929 666408.