The power of the horse is something that is difficult to put into words. At its very least, it is an experience, at its very best, it is a life saver. The benefits of equine therapy have become more well known in recent years and proven to benefit both physical and emotional health. But many people may never get the chance to experience one to one contact with a horse, not in the saddle or on the ground, for many reasons. And #GoRacingGreen is here to change that.
#GoRacingGreen wants as many people as possible to have the opportunity to experience contact with horses. In 2019 The Kindred Group, through Unibet Racing's Community Wellbeing and Engagement Fund, partnered with the initiative to make this possible.
As well as many people not having the opportunity to have contact with horses, many people live with, or care for someone that lives with, various challenges in life. These may relate to physical or mental health conditions; social and other defined phobias that prevent or restrict people from having social contact, such as social anxiety, emetophobia and agoraphobia; and sensory challenges relating to conditions such as autism, Asperger's syndrome or dementia. Or, it may relate to a financial situation, bereavement, a carer or young carer or loneliness/social isolation. Other causes could be behavioural or development challenges such as ADHD, terminal illness, or addiction recovery. The stable visits are designed to support people no matter what their life circumstances, and the visits are by no means limited to just those challenges mentioned here.
The stable visits are all year round, and are run across the United Kingdom. Ocassionally there are also visits in The Republic of Ireland and the Channel Island of Jersey. You can see the schedule here: Events (goracinggreen.co.uk) which is regularly updated, and events are posted on the social media channels.
Anyone. No questions asked. Everyone is welcome. Children are welcome, but must be supervised by a parent or carer over the age of 18.
They are free of charge, and refreshments and cakes/biscuits are also included.
The maximum number of people in any group visit is 15, though generally visits are kept to 8 people, including the facilitator. However, if you or a friend or family member struggle, single and friends and family visits are also available.
Companies, charities, support groups and any businesses/organisations are welcome to get in touch if they feel this type of visit may be of benefit to their service users and/or employees.
The visits are run by the founder of #GoRacingGreen, Debbie Matthews, who has her own experiences with mental health and social phobias. Debbie has worked in accessible and inclusive tourism for over 20 years, is a Mental Health First Aider, Autism Awareness trained and a Dementia Champion, as well as working with local and national tourism bodies, including VisitEngland, to develop inclusive and accessible tourism policies.
No. Unless you want to talk about it, of course, or unless you have anything that you are particularly anxious about, in which case you can discuss this by email, in confidence, prior to the visit. It is, however, worth advising of any dietary requirements as drinks and cakes are served.
It is also worth mentioning if you use walking or mobility aids, or use a wheelchair, so arrangements can be made to ensure you can move around with the group easily on the day.
Generally the visits will take place in the morning at a racing yard, but other facilities are also used, such as The British Racing School, Avon & Somerset Mounted Police Unit, Foaling Units and Studs. Generally we will watch the horses do some work, then have a drink and some cake, talk to the team, and then walk around the stables and meet the horses. They generally last for 2 hours.
You will be able to spend one-on-one time talking to, and stroking horses. There is a misconception that racehorses do not have the best temperaments, but this is actually a myth, most are extremely calm in their stable environment. Of course, some are flightly, but we will only have access to those that are suitable for the visit.
All yards visits have toileting facilities. However, if you specifically require an accessible toilet, please advise prior to the visit. In most cases, this can be accommodated, however there are some yards where this would not be possible.
Yes, please, as this way the number of people in the group can be controlled, and we do not exceed the limit set. You can do this via emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or, if you see the visit on one of the social media channels, you can send a direct message through that platform.
If you know in advance that you aren't able to come, we would appreciate you letting us know so your place can be offered to others. However, illnesses and anxieties can rear their heads at any time, and we understand that it may be difficult or uncomfortable for you to get in touch. Therefore, if on the day of the visit you feel you are not able to come, you do not have to feel pressured to let us know.
This link Stable Visit Information (goracinggreen.co.uk) provides general information, including things like what should I wear? Can I take photographs? Can I bring my dog? However, if there is anything you would like to know that is not covered, please email email@example.com
Emails are monitored 7 days a week, throughout the day and evening.