A racehorse used by a learning charity and its handler have been shortlisted for a national award.

Dreamisi and his handler Matt Bannon have been recognised for “making a significant contribution to the Barnet community” through a therapy programme for vulnerable young people run by the Strength and Learning Through Horses charity’s stables in Mays Lane.

Matt has built an inseparable relationship with the 15-year-old stallion that has changed the lives of around 1,000 of vulnerable youngsters.

Dreamisi and Matt are one of three finalists nominated for community impact awards by the charity Retraining of Racehorses.

“Equine-assisted therapy has given Dreamisi a new lease of life after his racing career,” Matt said. “He has helped youngsters with his unique personality at our stables. He makes a lot of the difference to their young lives.” 

Dreamisi was deemed unsuited to horse racing after a short 12-race career — but has since gone on to show versatility of a thoroughbred when adapting to the discipline of equine-assisted therapy.  

The Barnet stables use educational therapy horses in educational services for youngsters struggling with mental health or behavioural problems and learning difficulties.  

Equine-assisted therapy programmes are growing in popularity due to the characteristics of the thoroughbred. Children identify with Dreamisi’s quirks and use these observations to reflect on their own behaviour.

The Peter O'Sullevan Charitable Trust's inaugural community impact award has been introduced by Retraining of Racehorses, the official charity for horse welfare, to recognise anyone who shows how racehorses have helped make a difference in their community.

Some 200 nominations were submitted from the racing and equestrian worlds for a shortlist of 12 horses, narrowed down to three finalists. Dreamisi is up against Goldream from Yorkshire and Papineau from Suffolk.   

The public vote closed at 5pm on January 19. The winner will be announced on Wednesday (January 31).

Retraining of Racehorses was set up in 2000 to provide thoroughbred owners with the ongoing healthy option for former racehorses. Its annual awards show the aftercare and versatility of the thoroughbred former racehorses that help many peoples’ lives long after they have retired from racing.