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 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 – Facilities 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 – Stable Staff
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
Gordon Sidlow BVMS MRCVS – BTRC Consultant Vet
Gordon has been the consultant veterinary surgeon for the centre since 2015. As such he visits us at least once a month to assess how all the horses are progressing and attempt to alleviate the lameness and other issues that are thrown up by the retraining process. He also supports the centre by participating in CPD days or industry demonstrations and events that the Charity hosts to promote their work and British Racehorse Aftercare. Gordon has a great deal of experience with retired Thoroughbreds, he was the first equestrian vet for the Hong Kong Jockey Club from 1996 – 2009 and during that period worked with over 2000 horses which were retired from racing and retrained for use in Hong Kong riding schools or for equestrian use in China. As well as caring for riding school and racing horses in Hong Kong and working as a treating vet for the 2008 Olympic Games. He still visits China regularly and continues to monitor the health and welfare of retired HKJC horses throughout the country. Since returning to the UK Gordon runs the equine side of a busy mixed practice in Mid Devon and frequently officiates as an FEI Veterinary Delegate at competitions both In the UK and overseas. He also regularly flies with horses for both racing and equestrian competitions throughout Asia. Gordon’s many years of working with retired Thoroughbreds has led to an understanding that many of their lameness and apparent behavioural issues in retirement can be attributed to back and sacroiliac pain and has allowed him to develop treatment protocols which recognise this situation and to encourage as many horses as possible to take up equestrian careers.
Lauren Witterick – Stable Staff
Lauren attended BTRC for a work placement in 2019 and loved it so much she returned to join the team in 2020 following completion of a Level 3 Equine Management Extended Diploma achieving distinction at Myerscough College. Lauren hopes to continue her education with BHS qualifications. Lauren has a keen interest in the rehabilitation of Thoroughbreds and assists with treating injuries and providing the care they need in their rehabilitation programmes. Her favourite part of the job is seeing the horses progress through rehab to retraining. After just six months working at the Centre Lauren took home BTRC Don’t Touch as her own loan horse, they have a great bond and we wish them all the success for the future!
Rebecca Irvine – Work Rider
Rebecca holds an NVQ Level 2 & 3 and an advanced apprenticeship in Racehorse Care from the National Racing College in Doncaster. Rebecca previously worked in racing for 10 years, led up Cheltenham festival winners and had an amateur jockey’s licence for 4 years and rode on the flat and over hurdles. She now concentrates her efforts on her own ex racehorse Risky, she has owned for 9 years. Her favourite part of the job is seeing the horses individual personalities come out and their confidence grow during their time at BTRC