Everyone who rides accepts the risks associated with the sport they love, despite the fact that a bad fall could potentially lead to spinal cord damage and possible paralysis.

A UK-based charity, Spinal Research, is leading the way with research into paralysis caused byspinal cord injury and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and its member bodies have pledged their support to it.

News and events concerning Spinal Research will appear on a dedicated page of the BEF web site, www.bef.co.uk, while BEF member bodies will be liaising with Spinal Research about fundraising and promotional ideas for the year ahead.

Endurance GB is the first BEF member body to act by adopting Spinal Research as its special charityfor the Alfred’s Tower Ride (9 August).

Jonathan Miall, chief executive of Spinal Research, says: “This is a very exciting and crucial time for us. We are leading the world in our research and our initiative to set up clinical trials for spinal injuries, but face our most challenging period of fundraising ever to continue this essential work.

“The support of the BEF and its members will help us to raise the equestrian community’s awareness of our work and fundraising initiatives, such as the ‘Saddle Up’ campaign. Equestrian events and individual supporters have raised £120,000 so far, and we hope to increase this in 2003 with the help of the BEF.”

Andrew Finding, chief executive of the BEF, says: “We are delighted to be supporting the charity, at a time when research into spinal injuries is achieving such impressive results. This work is inspirational and deserves the attention and support of anyone involved in equestrian sport.”

To find out more about Spinal Research, including the dates and locations of 2003 Saddle Up events, visit: www.spinal-research.org