It was a pleasure to spend time in Otterburn recently visiting Girsonfield Stud & Racing and celebrating its successful expansion with the support of a grant from a European rural funding Scheme. The LEADER programme grant, worth over £9,000 has helped Girsonfield Stud & Racing increase the number of stables and improve training facilities with the addition of a new horse walker. The LEADER scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Racehorse owners and members of the Northumberland Uplands LEADER Action Group joined owners Susan and Frank Corbett for a tour of the stables and facilities, and I was thrilled to be asked to ride eight year old Harleys Max, who was born at Girsonfield and hand reared after his mother died, and has already won over fences.
Girsonfield employs eight full time staff and two part-timers, with an average age of 19, and encourages all the staff to attend training courses to increase their skills and employability. With 32 horses in training, and a number of syndicates available to make ownership more affordable, the yard is going from strength to strength under the stewardship of Susan. Girsonfield’s resident Stallion - Kutub - is leased from Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and is a triple Group 1 Winner.
Girsonfield is a real example of a successful, expanding rural business, which is offering real jobs and career opportunities to young people from the area. I wish them every success, and look forward to visiting again.