On a gloriously sunny day in early September, a select group of ROA members undertook an interesting double-header visit in Yorkshire. The first port of call was the trainer Brian Ellison’s yard, where members were warmly greeted by Brian and his wife Claire (plus a myriad of dogs!).
After some initial questions and introductions over a hot drink the group was taken on a tour of the dual-purpose yard, which includes some unusual Australian-style stabling for the best horses and those thought most likely to benefit from them.
Open-doored stables lead onto small, individual sand-based paddocks, allowing the horses plenty of ventilation, more space to move, and the choice of whether to be inside or out. The most prestigious of these occupants included Definitly Red, and the ever-popular Top Notch Tonto, who was very happy to have an audience! After the tour the members got to accompany Brian to the gallops, to watch a few horses canter in front of the simply stunning backdrop of the surrounding countryside.
Thereafter, members travelled a short distance to the Retraining of Racehorses centre New Beginnings, which is one of the newest retraining venues, and enthusiastically run by Pam Hollingworth and Kevin Atkinson. They have very few permanent residents – although these do include 2008 Cheltenham Festival winner Mister McGoldrick – but are known for the patient approach they take in retraining the horses in their care.
As well as a tour, members were treated to a long-reining display by ex-National Hunt horse Singeur, and a ridden display from one of the centre’s real project horses The Banana Man. Attendee Cliff Verity also got to say hello to one of his ex-racers who is currently going through the retraining process there – Kirkham. The ROA extends its thanks to both the Ellison yard and New Beginnings for allowing these visits to take place.
The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) has around 8,000 members and promotes and protects the interests of racehorse owners in Great Britain. Since 1945 we have been making members’ racehorse ownership more cost-effective and enjoyable.
To find out more about the ROA, visit their website here