Victoria Pendleton HEROS Charity Ambassador
Victoria, a British cycling gold medalist and now Category A licence jockey, visited HEROS in July to see how we work with ex-racehorses. We look forward to many exciting campaigns working together.
She has a unique understanding of what it takes to retire from one sport and retrain to be successful in another discipline. Now she is helping HEROS Charity highlight how thoroughbred athletes retiring from horseracing also deserve ‘A New Life After Racing’.
Having only started horseriding in 2015 she was successful in her 'Switching Saddles' campaign where she rode in the 2016 Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters on board PACHA DE POULDER.
Grace Muir, founder and CEO of HEROS Charity, says: "Victoria's passion for the horses is so evident and honest, it is exactly what is needed for a true HEROS supporter. Her enthusiasm on a recent visit amazed the whole team and I am thrilled to have her on board."
For Victoria making the move from cycling to horseracing was ‘shockingly different, but amazing’. Had she not been talent spotted to go in to cycling (a sport that runs in her family) she would have gone in to animal husbandry and she has a clear affinity with animals. Having retired from cycling “horses gave me something to get out of bed for. It’s the most fun thing I have ever done in my life”.
The initial proposal for the Switching Saddles campaign was for her to ‘simply’ ride in a bumper (a National Hunt race run on the flat) so she thought she would give it a go and agreed to two weeks of lessons to see how things went. “I was hooked within two hours. I fell in love with it instantly.”
When she progressed to riding racehorses she admits: “The balance was tricky for me at the start – and I thought it was crazy that you pull to stop, but also take a pull to go faster. It’s madness right?”
While not all racehorses are champions like Victoria, each one of them has the same potential to enthusiastically enjoy 'A New Life After Racing' – and they are all winners in the eyes of HEROS Charity.