Monday, 22 August 2022

A Fun, Free & Educational Day Out For The Family With National Racehorse Week

As a child, my favourite thing in the world was horses. Whether it was reading about horses every bedtime, going to horse riding lessons at weekends or visiting the local horse rescue centre after school - there was a time when horses were my life!

I'm sad to say that as I grew up, I left this hobby behind - it's something I really regret, as even now being around horses gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing. For a long time now I've wanted to encourage my own children to take an interest in horses, and this week I was presented with an ideal opportunity.

I'm always on the look out for fun and educational experiences for my family, so when I heard about National Racehorse Week - I knew it was something that would be perfect for us!

From 10th-18th September, National Racehorse Week is celebrated and to mark the occasion, over 150 venues across the country including trainers and aftercare centres are opening their doors to the public. This is a fantastic and rare opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at the life of a racehorse, and I have to admit - I was really intrigued to see it for myself.

We were invited along to David Pipe training centre in Wellington, which is around an hour's drive from where we live. I wasn't too sure what to expect from our morning there and whether it would keep my very active 6 and 7 year olds entertained or not, but we were keen to give it a try.

We were greeted by a welcome sign especially for us on the office door, and introduced to David himself alongside some of his very friendly team of 30 staff. There is a real family environment here, with many of the staff having worked at the centre since the 1980s when the business was run by David's father.

To begin with, we were taken for a walk around the yard where we got to meet lots of the beautiful racehorses - there is space for around 120 horses at the yard and at the time of our visit there were around 80 there, but it really didn't feel like that many at all. There were so much space and each horse seemed very comfortable in their own box - my son even commented on the large forest murals that adorned the walls within the stables, which David stated were just a little something they do to make the horses living space more pleasant - I thought this was a lovely touch which really shows how loved these animals are. 

The horses we met ranged from young beginners to more seasoned and prestigious racehorses with many a title to their name, and each of them was as beautiful and calm as the last. 

After some time chatting about the horses and having the opportunity to pet them (while being mindful of not spreading germs between them...something that the staff are very hot on, infact the horses have their temperatures taken twice per day to ensure they're kept healthy and also have regular blood testing done by the onsite lab!) - we moved on to see some of the equipment.

From the weighing scales to the horse treadmill, I was impressed by how clear it was that no expense has been spared in keeping the horses healthy and entertained - we saw horses using the automatic walker which is a large device which allows numerous horses to be walked at once, the horses in here looked so completely relaxed and this peaceful environment was one I could have happily spent longer in. We also saw horses being taken for a trot around the undercover exercise area, and saw them being bathed and lovingly groomed by staff who clearly adored them.

But our favourite part was seeing the horses go for a swim in the equine pool - this is something that not many yards have the luxury of, and it was lovely to see. The horses are led down an incline into a circular 15 foot deep pool, which they complete a few laps of . This helps to exercise them without putting strain on their legs, and it certainly seemed to be something they enjoyed!

We also noticed that there were lots of security cameras positioned to allow the staff in the office and the house to see the horses at all times, which David explained was to allow them to keep watch of an evening in case any of the horses become unwell with colic which is apparently something that can trouble horses - it seems that these horses are better cared for than many humans!

My son also got to try on some of the colours, much to his delight!

It was so clear to me during my time at David Pipe's yard today that the horses there are so loved and looked after to an incredibly high standard, and I'm so glad I had the chance to see it for myself.

If you're interested in taking a look behind the scenes at a racehorses life, National Racehorse Week is the perfect opportunity to do so and in most cases it's completely free! - you can find your nearest participating venue by visiting

(This post is sponsored)
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