The local racing community in Epsom are gearing up to welcome hundreds of attendees to the annual Epsom Open day on Sunday 11th September as part of National Racehorse Week – a celebration of the racehorse and a chance to see first-hand the love, care and attention that goes into looking after them.
Four of Epsom’s leading trainers (Jim Boyle, Pat Phelan, Mark Pattinson and Michael Attwater) will open their doors to the public, giving the opportunity to go behind the scenes at their yards and meet some of the equine stars who reside there, as well as the dedicated staff who care for them on a daily basis. The Open Day will provide a great day out for followers of racing and families alike, with a number of additional activities and demonstrations taking place, including the opportunity to see horses working on the gallops.
British horseracing’s human welfare charity, Racing Welfare, organises the day which raises much needed funds, and supports the work they do in the area. In the first six months of the year in Epsom alone, 815 instances of support were provided to the local racing community. One of many people to benefit from the charity’s local presence is Louisa Allen (feature image) – Head Person for Epsom trainer Jim Boyle.
Louisa has worked with Racing Welfare’s South-East representative, Katy Ferguson, since Katy joined the charity in 2017 and says:
Katy has been amazing, she has worked so hard to bring racing’s people together. The community had become fragmented, but the change in recent years has been outstanding.”
When asked about the help she has received from Racing Welfare personally, Louisa speaks in-depth about the challenges she has faced with her own physical and mental health:
I’ve been in racing for many years and being over 40 you can say I’ve had my fair share of tumbles! My injuries mounted up, and there came a time that I needed to seek help to be able to continue to do my job.
I contacted Katy for help with the countless niggles I was facing. I’d injured my shoulder and my lower vertebrae in separate incidents, and the injury to my back in particular was starting to see effects on other areas of my body, such as shooting pains down my leg. There was a point where I didn’t want to carry on due to the pain. I’d lost faith in my GP and my back pain was so bad that I was struggling to even sit in the saddle at one point.”
After contacting Racing Welfare for help, Louisa was referred to a physiotherapist through Racing’s Occupational Health Service.
I can safely say that without the physiotherapy Racing Welfare provided the pain would have been unbearable and I’d not have been able to continue working in a racing yard at all. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my everyday life is genuinely so much more enjoyable now!”
Louisa continues to talk passionately about Racing Welfare’s services, as in her central role as a Head Person she is often the person that other members of racing staff come to in times of need.
I have signposted countless members of Epsom’s racing staff to the charity for help with a myriad of issues – not just for their physical and mental health. I know that at the end of the phone there is someone that can help us get through any of life’s challenges, including bereavement, housing, financial issues and even nutritional advice!”
Louisa will be among the team at Jim Boyle’s South Hatch Stables welcoming people on Epsom Open Day. She said:
I hope that everyone attending the Epsom Open Day has an enjoyable day. All of us at South Hatch Stables are looking forward to welcoming members of the public, and to raising money for a charity that has had such a huge impact on our local racing community in recent years.”
Tickets are available now for just £10 for adult admission, while under 16s go free. Book at www.epsomopenday.co.uk.