Greatwood – Enhancing Welfare Facilities


Established in 1993, Greatwood is the longest standing racehorse welfare charity in the UK and the only organisation that uses ex-racehorses to educate disadvantaged children and young adults. We are also the only racehorse welfare charity that does not have criteria for entry; Greatwood will never turn away a horse at risk; in danger of neglect; or suffering. Greatwood operates a ‘Cycle of Rehabilitation and Change’: horses helping young people ⟳ young people helping horses. At any given time Greatwood cares for between 40-60 horses depending on the time of year.

The ex-racehorses that are cared for at Greatwood may have suffered neglect several years after their retirement from racing; often because they have been passed from owner to owner and have fallen into a downward spiral of neglect. Greatwood uses them as vehicles for teaching, with direct parallels being drawn between the experiences of these horses and the students attending the courses. This is particularly pertinent to those children who may have come from the care system and find it difficult to trust or respect others; as well as engaging in nurturing, caring relationships. Those horses that cannot be re-homed or used for our educational programmes simply have a place in our sanctuary to spend the remainder of their life in peace and free from fear of neglect or harm.

It costs Greatwood over £250,000 each year just to care for the ex-racehorses and small animals that we look after, whether they are at Greatwood to be retrained for a new career and rehomed; participate in one of our NOCN or BHEST accredited Special Educational Needs programme; or remain at Greatwood on a sanctuary basis. Due to the obvious nature of the ‘at risk’ horses that we frequently rescue, the level of care that they require is substantial and the subsequent costs contribute to a considerable part of the charity’s running costs. The Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust has been supporting Greatwood for over a decade, funding which we are enormously grateful of and which has been integral to both the charity’s survival and on-going development. Thanks to the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust, Greatwood has been able to purchase a quad bike to help streamline yard management; install electric fencing in one of the paddocks; purchase an industrial washing machine for rugs; and build a stunning outdoor school.

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