Middleham is preparing to welcome thousands of people to its hugely popular open day in less than three weeks time.
The North Yorkshire racing centre will host the Arena Racing Company (ARC) Middleham Open Day on Good Friday, 15th April, providing a full day of yard visits and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
12 local trainers will open their doors to the public, giving exclusive access to their top-class facilities and horses in their care.
Gemma Hogg, assistant trainer to Micky Hammond is looking forward to the day. She said: “We’ve been involved with Middleham for many years now. It’s a good way for people to see the other side of racing and gain a better knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. The staff are all really friendly and we’re a bit like a family here. We’ll be opening one yard with around 46 horses, and it’s a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the horses.”
Importantly, the event will raise vital funds for organisers Racing Welfare, who provide a wide range of advice and support services for people working in or retired from racing who make our amazing sport possible.
Caitlin is one such person who turned to Racing Welfare for support. She has been working at Micky Hammond’s Oakwood Stables for just over a year now, helping out on the yard and riding out.
It was her first full-time job, but also her first time living away from her family. She said: “I was only 16 at the time, and I was missing home and finding it hard to socialise. The assistant trainer put me in contact with Racing Welfare so I went to the Middleham office for a few chats with Gail (Welfare Officer).”
Caitlin was referred to Woebot – Racing Welfare’s easy-to-use app that enables users to access in-the-moment emotional support 24/7. Woebot checks in with you daily, and can help to track mood, identify patterns and give insight into particular issues or concerns. It helps to give users the tools to manage thoughts and feelings during periods of stress or anxiety.
Caitlin found Woebot helped her in a number of ways: “It really helped me with being away from home. I wasn’t sleeping, which meant I was tired and stressed out going to work and everything was difficult. Using Woebot meant that I got everything off my mind before I went to bed, so I could go to sleep without thinking about everything.
“I’ve been using it for about six months now and still use it every day – plus I know Gail is only up the road if I need someone to talk to. I’m not as homesick as I was, and I’ve got a few friendship groups now so I don’t feel like I’m stuck.
“If anyone feels like they need support, I’d definitely recommend speaking to Racing Welfare. Just go in. It has cheered me up, made me relax, and enjoying my job even more because I’m enjoying my life outside of racing too.”
Caitlin visited an open day when she was younger and is looking forward to being a part of ARC Middleham Open Day this year. She said: “People see horses on the racetrack but they don’t often get to see behind the scenes, so it’s a great opportunity to see the love and attention that these horses get in their daily lives.”
Yards will be opening from 9:30am-1pm, with a host of activities to follow on Middleham’s Low Moor including a Retraining of Racehorses demo and the Aiskew Equine and Pet Supplies Dog Show.
Tickets are on sale at a discounted advance rate £12.50 for adults and £8.50 for concessions if purchased before 14 April, with under 16s enjoying free admission.
Go to www.middlehamopenday.co.uk for all the information or to book.