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Side saddle doyenne Martha Sitwell is to ride across Mongolia — sideways — to raise money in memory of her late sister Polly.

Martha and her younger sister Clementine will trek from Zamyn-Uud to Sukhbaatar, a distance of about 650 miles, leaving next May. They expect the trip to take around 6 weeks.

Polly de Blank, their eldest sister, died earlier this year aged 35. She was an accomplished journalist who had produced documentaries for the BBC World Service and, in recent years, founded The Yoga Agency, providing yoga lessons for businesses.

“Polly battled bipolar disorder with her characteristic intelligence, bravery and self-containment,” said Martha.

“But she could no longer cope with the knowledge that there is no cure.

“Polly was a fighter for human rights and equality for all, including those who suffer stigma due to mental health problems.”

Martha and Clementine will be raising money for 2 charities close to Polly’s heart: MIND, which helps people with mental health issues and Prisoners of Conscience.

While Martha is an accomplished side saddle rider who hunts with the Ledbury, Clementine “has hardly been on a horse since Pony Club days”.

They will travel with a guide and Polly’s widower, the artist Anthony Faroux, who is making a film of the ride.

Travel costs are being sponsored by Steppes Travel, but the riders also need sponsors for insurance, hire of horses and the guide.

If you would like to be a sponsor, please email pbdebms@gmail.com

Visit www.justgiving.com/Side-Saddle-Ride-For-Mind and www.justgiving.com/Side-Saddle-Ride-For-Prisoners-Of-Conscience

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (26 September, 2013)