BROMYARD cake supremo Charlotte Bateman has come up with the perfect recipe for helping county brides and rehabilitating thoroughbred horses at the same time.

“It’s one way of me being able to do something through the business,”

explains the 45 year-old, who diverted from the family equestrian tradition to set up and make a success of Cake Creations.

Every bride who orders and places a deposit on her wedding cake from Charlotte will see, depending on the price, about 30% donated to the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre, one of the country’s few, at Halton in Lancashire.

The centre has welcomed the gesture, saying it helps to highlight its work. For Charlotte, who has been involved with horses all her life, it’s a natural choice of charity to help.

The family business was based around schooling young horses for eventing, show jumping and dressage as well as taking on horses others couldn’t manage and, as a school leaver, Charlotte spent work experience with show horses.

“The cake thing came alongside – I was working at home and took it up as a sideline and it’s developed into what it is now,” she said. “I was eventing mostly but since I’ve had my last child, I hardly get a chance to do anything. But I keep my foot in that stirrup and ride when I can.”

And, having seen the results of people she says “shouldn’t even be on a horse let alone have their own”, she feels strongly about supporting the rehabilitation centre.

“There’s so many racehorses that don’t make it at quite an early age and then they have to be found homes or loaned out to keep them going,” says Charlotte, whose eldest son James, aged 23, is continuing the family theme by riding, show jumping and qualifying last autumn as a farrier. Nicky McDonald, operations director at the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre, is only too grateful for Charlotte’s support.

The work the centre does in rehoming about 30 ex-racehorses a year only “scratches the surface”, she said, pointing out that about 5,000 animals leave the sport every year, either through injury or unsuitability.

“We rely on donations from the public for most of our funding so when people do things for us, like Charlotte has, it does make a huge difference,” she said. With the centre’s daily running costs alone at £1,500, it’s no surprise that she’s delighted.

“The winter months are very bad for us; the phone never stops ringing from people wanting us to take horses but we rehome less in the winter because people don’t want to take horses on.” All animals arriving at the centre are thoroughbred ex-racehorses.

“They come straight from racing or private homes where people have gone to sales, purchase them cheap but don’t realise what they’re buying and then realise they have something they can’t ride and all sorts of problems,” said Nicky.

“They comes here and are checked by a vet for any preexisting or undiagnosed injuries and conditions.

“If all is fine, we’ll give them a bit of time to chill out with friends and start work with them, generally bringing them back in slowly, getting riders on and seeing what kind of level of work they can do.

“They have to be rehomed as ridden horses but some would only be suitable for light hacking where as others can go on and do a bit more competition work. It just depends on whether they have any pre-existing injuries or conditions.”

Once a horse is ready, the centre will check it against those who have applied to take an animal on a loan basis for its lifetime.

“If we think we’ve got a good match, we’ll invite them to come here for a ridden assessment and, if they like the horse, we carry out vigorous checks to ensure their premises are suitable,” said Nicky. “The horse then goes and will be checked by one of our field officers every six months. It remains the property of the centre and if the loan doesn’t work out for whatever reason, it will always come back here.”

So, for some lucky ex-racehorse, thanks to Charlotte, they’ll be having their cake – and eating it. Says Nicky: “It’s an unusual gesture but it’s that kind of quirky take on things that is good for us and promotes the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre to people who probably would never even think about or consider it.” For more information about the charity, visit thoroughbredrehabilitationcentre.

To contact Charlotte Bateman, go to, email info@cakecreationsonline. or call 01885 410433 or 07855 262376.