A successful return of the Middleham Stables Open day not only benefitted the charity who ran it, Racing Welfare, but other local charities as well.  The organisation of the day, traditionally run on Good Friday, was taken over by Middleham charity Racing Welfare this year at the suggestion of Middleham trainers, having not gone ahead in 2016.  2017 saw a new date of Easter Monday and a day enjoyed by over 2500 racing enthusiasts from around the country.

The public were able to visit equine stars at open yards in the morning, including a horse ‘spa’ demonstration at Mark Johnston’s Park Farm as well as enjoying seeing Trooper Middleham, a member of the Household Cavalry.  There were trade stands and market stalls in the famous racing town’s square as well as a variety of refreshments on offer from local pubs and cafés.  In the afternoon there was entertainment on the scenic Low Moor gallops including an inter-yard challenge for stable staff, a National Hunt Schooling demonstration and a musical ride demonstration provided by the charity Retraining of Racehorses.

Local charities to benefit from the day included the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Richmond and Catterick and Bedale Riding for the Disabled groups, Richmondshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Middleham Sports and Wellbeing Association with whom Racing Welfare are working closely with to get the Middleham playing fields in regular use by stable staff as well as the non-racing community.

Rachel Hunter of Richmondshire CAB said: “We have been volunteering at the event for a few years now and when I heard that Racing Welfare were running it again after a non-runner last year, I put our name down straight away.  I have links with the racing in Middleham, riding out for various trainers in my past, so I know the importance of Racing Welfare. More to the point I know the importance of letting the general public get a glimpse of behind the scenes of the racing world.  The open day is a fun filled family day and I will be putting our name down to attend next year, so my charity, Citizens Advice will benefit from the generous donation that we receive every time we volunteer.

Racing Welfare is the only charity that supports all of the people who work in the horseracing industry and has offices across England in the main racing centres.  Money raised during Middleham Open Day will help fund some of their activities in Middleham which include; running coffee mornings and outings for the retired racing community, fitness classes at the Middleham school, functional skills classes in English, Maths and ICT held at Middleham Key Centre, a racing community bus which takes those that are too young or are unable to drive to the shopping park at Catterick, organising sports events for the racing community and plans to develop a facility in Middleham for young people working in racing.  This is alongside offering support to those working in racing, past and present, with a wide range of issues such as accidents and injury, mental health, family and relationship support, addiction and money and debt advice.

Racing Welfare will run the 2018 Middleham Stables open day which will be held on Good Friday, 30th March, so put the date in your diary!