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Volunteers spend Easter at Racehorse Rescue Centre

No horsing about in the holidays

Volunteers have worked tirelessly to make improvements to an arena used by rescued racehorses.

Instead of lounging around in the sunshine or scoffing on Easter eggs, friends Ryan Howe, 21, and Adam Holliday, 33, from Brampton spent their Easter weekend installing drainage in the arena at the Racehorse Rescue Centre in Westlinton near Carlisle.

Mr Howe said: “It was hard, we gave up all our spare time to do it but we don’t mind helping them out. It was a good job to do. We enjoy doing that sort of thing.”

Mr Holliday added “It was just like a pond when we started.”

The two discovered that the work was needed through a friend and, though they had nothing to do with the centre before, called in to see if there was anything they could do. Mr Howe works as a builder and Mr Holliday is a tree surgeon.

Their hard work paid off and horses will now be able to exercise in the arena even after heavy rain.

Nigel Wood, 51, the manager of the centre, said: “These guys were brilliant. Four full days of holidays with all the equipment and everything and they just volunteered the work.

“To see it now, it is really dry and it was constantly muddy before, so it’s going to make a big difference.”

Now Mr Wood is looking to raise money for wood chipping to fill the arena. He has been given a quote of £850.

One of the ways the centre raises cash is through sales of their lucky horse shoe brooches with crystals which they sell on eBay for £5.95.

The Racehorse Rescue Centre was founded in 2010 and costs £18,000-a-year to run. It relies heavily on volunteers and donations to look after its six retired racehorses and four ponies.

Mr Wood said it normally took about a year to retrain racehorses. The centre also takes in and rehomes ex-racehorses to places all over the UK.

The centre runs many group activities for a variety of people – teenagers with confidence and self harming issues, veterans and injured soldiers and people suffering from depression. Looking after the horses can have a very cathartic and positive effect on people.

Mr Wood said “It’s one-on-one with the horses and it gives them a lot of confidence working with a large animal.

“They get that contact and it’s such a gentle animal. The horse knows when its got a child on its back. We’ve got one where it will be jumping through the air in the find and as soon as there’s a child on its back it doesn’t move.”

The centre has a Just Giving website where people can donate at