Skip to content

‘The kindness of the thoroughbred’: former racehorse spreads joy on visit to St Leonard's

A former Group One-winning racehorse has spread joy on a visit to St Leonard’s Hospice that was “incredible to witness”.

In partnership with racehorse rehoming and retraining charity New Beginnings, York racecourse equine ambassador Goldream (Remy) and Welsh section A Poppy visited families at the Sunflower Wellbeing Hub on Thursday 27 July.

The visit follows new research released by Bristol University via the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses on the mounting evidence that former racehorses are particularly well-suited to providing equine-assisted services and therapy.

John Kirk, who has Parkinson’s disease, met Remy and Poppy at the Sunflower Wellbeing Hub.

“‘It’s brought John to life, I’ve not seen him animated like this in a long time or move so well. It’s remarkable,” said Jan, John’s wife.

“John has a history with horses as his first job after qualifying as a doctor in 1958 was in Africa. His job involved travelling many miles every day in remote, mountainous terrain on horseback seeing patients, so being up close with Goldream and Poppy was especially poignant for him.”

Pat Atkinson of New Beginnings said the way Remy and Poppy responded to each person they met at the hospice was incredible to witness.

“We are so proud of them both, with Remy being an outstanding example of the kindness of the thoroughbred along with its versatility,” she said.

We are sincerely grateful to New Beginnings and York racecourse for arranging such a special afternoon for our patients, visitors and staff. Having Remy and Poppy here was an absolute privilege for us all, giving patients a truly memorable experience to talk to their families and friends, with lots of reminiscing about past experiences with horses. We’re grateful to all involved in making this invaluable visit happen.

We look forward to welcoming Remy, Poppy and the team again in the future.