Residents at Coombe End Court in Marlborough met racehorse Ouzbeck earlier this month as part of a six-week pilot project to learn about the impact of horses on the wellbeing of elderly care home residents. The care home, run by The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) was chosen for the pilot by the three organisations collaborating in the project, racing charities Greatwood and Retraining Horses, and community partnership Racing Together.
The pilot aims to explore and measure the impact on, and the benefit to, the physical and mental health of the residents in the care home, and to use these findings to build and promote wider support.
For six weeks, Ouzbeck will visit the care home including on 16 September which coincides with the inaugural National Racehorse Week (12- 19 September). These events enable residents to interact with the former racehorse in a way that suits them, such as watching, stroking and grooming him and chatting to the Greatwood team. Residents can come out to see Ouzbeck in small groups, assisted by the team from the care home and Greatwood staff to make the most of his time spent on the care home’s front lawn.
Kelly Edwards, OSJCT Coombe End Court Home Manager, said: “We are very excited about being involved and residents have been talking about Ouzbeck’s visit all week. One lady is really excited, herself having been involved in racing. It is a great confidence boost after the pandemic and a huge boost for all of us to be taking part in this project.”
Helen Yeadon, Founder and MD of Greatwood Charity, said: “This pilot aims to celebrate the racehorse, showcase their versatility and provide another way to connect horseracing with its communities and to the public nationwide. Once evaluated, it is hoped that the programme will be extended to connect more former racehorses with community groups.”