Moorcroft’s outstanding work

THE outstanding work in retraining ex-racehorses at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold, West Sussex, went on display at a recent day attended by almost 100 people. Horses were long-reined and ridden at various stages of their retraining before a demonstration by Bridgefield Physiotherapy  enabled the audience to understand more about a horse’s muscle system.

Diamond Sweeper, painted to show muscle functions. Photo Mark Beaumont

Diamond Sweeper, painted to show muscle functions. Photo Mark Beaumont

Horses used in the display highlighted the outstanding retraining work undertaken at the centre by Mary Henley-Smith and her staff. Their mission is to re-school and rehabilitate former racehorses that have been gifted to this charitable centre, so they have a real chance at a second career outside racing.  The success rate is impressive.
Following the display of horses,  Bridgefield Physiotherapy gave a demonstration to illustrate and discuss the muscle system of a horse. Jenny and Maruska explained to the audience the way in which it works and how muscles can be affected. Diamond Sweeper had been painted by them for this display.

This horse had come to Moorcroft with a tendon injury which halted his promising racing career with trainer Alan King. He only ran six times, but had been progressive and in the frame three times. He also scored a well-deserved win at Plumpton before the tendon problem halted his career.  Plenty of veterinary help, time and patience at Moorcroft has enabled him to recover from his injury so that he is now totally sound.

Mary said: ” He is adorable, trainable and will make somebody a very safe and sane horse to hack or school. He is only nine-years-old and so has a good life ahead of him, especially with the right owner, who would find him extremely rewarding.”
American Bling was one of the horses used in long reining and ridden demonstration, currently being retrained at Moorcroft. He is only six-years-old and had been bought from a sale before being sent racing, where he developed problems and his owner was advised to retire him.

Diamond Bling during the recent demonstration Photo: Mark Beaumont

Diamond Bling during the recent demonstration
Photo: Mark Beaumont

Mary added:” He came to us with some physical probems, but we have got him through them and he has been working sound. After much physio and veterinary help he can now be ridden, but he is not a novice ride. American Bling needs an experienced new owner who can give him the attention and time he needs.”

Moorcroft is a charitable centre for recently retired racehorses, acting as a temporary home for a maximum of 28 horses while they are retrained to the point that they can be rehomed. Extreme care is taken in this process, with the backing of excellent vets, physiotherapists and riders under Mary’s management.

Following the inexplicable withdrawal of funding to Moorcroft, and three other centres like it in the country, by Retraining of Racehorses Charity at the end of this year, fundraising has become a vital issue to ensure this valuable work can be continued. Money raised at demonstrations like the latest one, all go to help Moorcroft continue to provide this exceptional work to ensure ex-racehorses can go on to a useful and happy life.

Anyone able to offer long term sponsorship to Moorcroft, or any donations should contact Mary on 07929 666408 or email  To read more about Moorcroft’s outstanding work, see:

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