Author Jilly Cooper Officially Opens High Dependency Unit for Horses

Author Gilly Cooper Officially Opens High Dependency Unit for Horses

Author Jilly Cooper Officially Opens High Dependency Unit for Horses

The Racehorse Sanctuary and Re-homing Centre, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of thoroughbred horses (Reg Charity No. 1117361) and established for over 10 years, was thrilled yesterday (Wednesday 26th April) to welcome much loved popular author and charity Patron Jilly Cooper to officially open a specialist dedicated unit for the rehabilitation of High Dependency horses, those that need extra time before being able to be rehomed.

The new facility will be named The Peter O’Sullevan High Dependency Unit in memory of a man who came to be recognised as ‘The Voice of Racing’, and has been made possible with the support of a grant from the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust

The late Lord Oaksey OBE wrote:

There can be few people in the world who have not at some time in their lives heard the “Voice of Racing” calling home the horses in The Derby or Grand National.


It was a voice that not only communicated the thrills and excitement of racing, but which also told the listener that here was a man who cared passionately for the Sport.”

Behind the scenes however, few outside of racing’s hierarchy knew of Sir Peter’s charitable work in general and for animal welfare in particular.

His retirement allowed him to devote more time to this important work, always making himself available to the various charities involved, and tirelessly working to better the lot of the retired, injured, or ill-treated animal, forgotten by an uncaring or unconcerned former owner.

“What is the value of a fulfilled retirement for a thoroughbred equine athlete? These wonderful animals have been bred exclusively to excite and entertain us with their racing prowess. In exchange do we not owe them lifetime care and the chance of second career whilst they are still capable of enjoying life?” Graham Oldfield, Co-founder of the Racehorse Sanctuary and Rehoming-Centre and Welfare Officer explains.

“At The Racehorse Sanctuary we certainly believe this to be the case. Despite all the good things the industry has done to enhance the welfare of former racehorses, our experience is that a safety net is still required, particularly for injured or difficult animals and I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust for helping us provide this specialist safety net.

Our philosophy is to take each horse presented to us on its merits; if we can see a way to give it a quality of life, for life, we will try to find a way to do so, however long it takes – even for the more difficult cases.”

Nigel Payne commented on behalf of The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust:

When we saw the Racehorse Sanctuary proposal the Trustees knew immediately that this was a cause we would like to support and it gives us enormous pleasure to help with this marvellous unit.  Since Peter’s passing in 2015 we always consider what Peter would have thought and we were all convinced he would totally approve of this donation.

In addition to Jilly Cooper and Nigel Payne guests included Mrs Angela Yeoman OBE, Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset, Equine Artist Michelle McCullagh, Peter Wilson MBE, Olympic Gold Medallist (Shooting) and members of the media.

More about the Sanctuary at  The Racehorse Sanctuary.

Watch the video of the ribbon cutting ceremony at TheRacehorseSanctuary.

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