Meet our team

Gillian Carlisle – Chief Executive

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Gillian joined the TRC in June 2015 and was instrumental in the planning of the Charity’s 25th Anniversary in 2016, including the rebranding of the Centre to become The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. Gillian came from a professional background in operational management specialising in B2B, CRM, Marketing and Strategy development in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors in Ireland, United States and Hong Kong. Previous to joining BTRC she held the position of Equestrian Operations Manager for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Gillian managed the HKJC Beas River facilities as well as being responsible for the rehabilitation and retraining of the retired racehorse population that were not exported by their race owners and overseeing the rehabilitation stables for active racehorses at BREC. As ninety-five percent of all the horses in riding schools and private livery stables in Hong Kong are retrained retired racehorses this provided Gillian with a huge amount of experience in this unique area which spans across the racing and equestrian industries. Privately, horses have always been a huge part of Gillian’s life and she has been involved in equestrian sport for 30 years, riding competitively in both show jumping and eventing and being a registered BHS Trainer (BHSII,SM/BHS Level 4 Senior Eventing Coach). In 2016 Gillian was awarded a full scholarship by the Racing Foundation to represent the horse welfare sector on the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) supported Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries, MBA at the University of Liverpool. Gillian’s thesis was completed on behalf of the BHA and consisted of researching the welfare challenges facing retired racehorses in racing jurisdictions throughout the world, in order to provide an overview on International Aftercare and retraining practices. Presently, Gillian is studying a PgCert (ICL) in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at the University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Lauren Lindsay – Office Manager

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Lauren joined the BTRC in March 2015 as the Office Manager after gaining a 2:1 in Business Management at the University of Central Lancashire. She studied for her degree part time whilst previously working full time as the Office Manager for a Lancashire based youth charity.

Lauren has experience working with horses as well as office based work, therefore enjoys the challenge of working at BTRC and the large variety of tasks her job covers. Lauren has been involved with horses all her life, riding competitively in British Showjumping throughout her junior years and now focusing on eventing with her own horse, Mr Ed.

Stephanie O’Connor – Assistant Trainer


Having previously worked at BTRC, Steph returned in Autumn 2016 after spending a season with event rider Izzy Taylor. Steph holds her BHS Stage 3 and is currently working towards her PTT.

Not only a valuable member of the team, Steph is also a dedicated loaner of a BTRC horse, Finn Mac. She took him home after falling in love with him during her previous employment here and hopes to event him next season.

Rachel Dearnley – Stable Supervisor


Rachel joined the BTRC in January 2018, after working at another horse yard in Lancaster. She owns her own horse Merlin and enjoys showjumping and hunting. Rachel has always had an interest in the racing industry and loves being part of the BTRC team, watching the horses progress through their retraining program and on to their new homes.

In the future Rachel hopes to be able to retrain her own retired racehorse.

Holly Hunter – Equine Coordinator

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Holly joined BTRC in June 2015, after previously working at a number of showing yards in Lancashire. She has completed her BHS Stage 1 and NVQ Level 3 in Horse Care and Management.

Holly worked as a Stable Staff member for 3 years and after recently returning from maternity leave, became our Equine Coordinator, responsible for finding the horses their new forever homes and looking after all horses out on loan.

Charlotte Bewley – Rehabilitation Supervisor

Charlotte joined BTRC in September 2016 and soon fell in love with every horse at BTRC! Her passion, knowledge and experience is admirable. Charlotte holds a BHS Stage 2 and the Ride & Road Safety certificate along with a National Certificate in the Management of Horses.

Charlotte enjoys welcoming and settling in the new horses, as well as working with those horses in our rehab barn to ensure they are ready for retraining. She works closely with our Consultant Vet to ensure all horses are receiving the correct care/support they require. With 6 horses of her own and a BTRC horse on loan, Charlotte really does live, sleep and breathe horses!!

Amy Ward – Rider Groom

Amy joined team BTRC in November 2018 after previously working at a local riding school and also a Stud Farm. Amy studied Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management.

Amy recently gained her BHS Stage 1 and is hoping to continue her education to gain further BHS exams in the future. Amy is a big animal lover and enjoys getting to know all of the horses at the Centre.

Leah Boyle – Rehab Assistant

Leah joined the BTRC team in July 2019 as Apprentice Stable Staff. Leah had previously worked at Pets at Home and had been having riding lessons since a young age. She took the opportunity to undertake and apprenticeship at BTRC to help her access a career with horses.

Leah has learnt so much during her time at BTRC and has progressed to assisting Charlotte in the Rehab Unit. Leah enjoys watching the horses start out their retraining journey in the Rehab Unit and seeing them develop as they move through the program.

Alex Hillier – Office Assistant

Alex joined BTRC in April 2017 as a stable staff member, then went on to be a Rider Groom and then took on the Office Assistant role due to an injury. Previous to working at BTRC Alex worked for a private showing/event yard for 10+ years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience working with horses. Outside of work Alex retrained her own ex-racehorse Hector Spectre (seen here in the picture) and also owns a Connemara, Roary. In her role as Office Assistant Alex is responsible for work placements at BTRC and having worked in a variety of different roles at the Centre she is able to provide help and advice to those wishing to learn at BTRC.

Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS – BTRC Consultant Vet

Gordon qualified at Glasgow University in 1984. He worked for 11 years as a farm and equine vet for West Ridge Vets in Devon. Then in 1996 he joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club as their first Equestrian Vet and for 12 years looked after over 1000 retired Thoroughbreds in both Hong Kong and China. During this time, he also undertook a variety of other duties including racing and serving as an official FEI Veterinary Delegate in various international competitions and as a Treating Vet for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Shortly afterwards he returned to Devon and helped to establish West Ridge Equine in January 2013. He joined BTRC as Consultant Vet in Summer 2015 and is a vital asset to the team, visiting monthly to assess progress of the horses and providing 24/7 support and advice.


 
Photo of Gillian Carlisle

Gillian Carlisle

Chief Executive
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Photo of Lauren Lindsay

Lauren Lindsay

Office Manager
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Alexandra Hillier

Office Assistant
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Stephanie O'Connor

Assistant Trainer
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Charlotte Bewley

Rehabilitation Supervisor
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Holly Hunter

Equine Co-Ordinator
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Rachel Smith

Stable Supervisor
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Amy Ward

Rider Groom
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Leah Boyle

Rehab Assistant
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Lauren Witterick

Stable Staff
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Molly Wilson

Stable Staff
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Lily Smith

Stable Staff
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Danielle Flynn

Stable Staff
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Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS

BTRC Consultant Vet
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Callum Garvey DipWCF

BTRC Farrier
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BTRC Washbear

Mascot
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