Meet our team

Gillian Carlisle – Chief Executive


Gillian joined BTRC 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


Lauren joined BTRC in March 2015 as the Office Manager. Lauren has a degree in Business Management and has previous experience of working in the Third Sector. In her role as Office Manager Lauren is responsible for communications, finance, HR, marketing and social media.

Lauren is an active member of the local equestrian community, having ridden and competed locally throughout her life and now supports the local Pony Club by volunteering, judging at competitions and assisting with events.

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


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.

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

Photo of Lauren Lindsay

Lauren Lindsay

Office Manager

Photo of Alexandra Hillier

Alexandra Hillier

Office Assistant

Photo of Holly Hunter

Holly Hunter

Equine Co-Ordinator

Photo of Stephanie O'Connor

Stephanie O'Connor

Assistant Trainer

Photo of Charlotte Bewley

Charlotte Bewley

Rehabilitation Supervisor

Photo of Toni Price

Toni Price

Part Time Assistant Trainer

Photo of Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith

Facilities Supervisor

Photo of Molly Wilson

Molly Wilson

Stable Supervisor

Photo of Amy Ward

Amy Ward

Rider Groom

Photo of Lauren Witterick

Lauren Witterick

Stable Staff

Photo of Lily Smith

Lily Smith

Stable Staff

Photo of Danielle Flynn

Danielle Flynn

Stable Staff

Photo of Chloe Ward

Chloe Ward

Apprentice Stable Staff

Photo of Rebecca Irvine

Rebecca Irvine

Part Time Stable Staff

Photo of Lucy Wilding

Lucy Wilding

Part Time Stable Staff

Photo of Maddy Wattam

Maddy Wattam

Part Time Stable Staff

Photo of Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS

Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS

BTRC Consultant Vet

Photo of Callum Garvey DipWCF

Callum Garvey DipWCF

BTRC Farrier

Photo of BTRC Washbear

BTRC Washbear