In a bid to raise more than £10,000 for charity a British entrepreneur is to attempt every Olympic and Paralympic sport in the run-up to London 2012.

But the hardest challenge will be the equestrian phase – especially as Dan Thompson has a phobia of horses and had never ridden before.

Dan set up the “Gold Challenge” in November last year in association with Team GB and the British Olympic Association.

As part of the challenge, participants try an Olympic or Paralympic sport and raise money for charity. But Dan’s taking it a step further.

He aims to try every sport before the opening ceremony and raise money for charities, including Cancer Research UK, Scope, Right to Play, Oxfam and the NSPCC.

His riding lessons were set up by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

Dan started riding at Trent Park Equestrian Centre in north London in August – last month he completed a small showjumping course and rode a dressage test.

“Having been scared of horses all my life, it was a huge mental challenge even to get on a horse,” said Dan.

“I may have only jumped some very small poles, but the feeling was truly amazing.”

A spokesman from Trent Park told H&H: “We’re used to teaching people quickly, but the fear of horses was a challenge.

Dan was a fast learner and was determined and he did really well.”

To complete the challenge, Dan will have to take part in 110 events in 26 sports – from triathlon and rowing to pole vaulting and diving.

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This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (1 December 2011)