Former England footballers and mounted police back national equestrian relay

  • Mounted police forces and former England footballers Glenn Hoddle and Rio Ferdinand are among those to support the Great Horses for Health relay as it makes its way around the country.

    The event, which started on 2 May in Yorkshire and will cover 11 regions of the UK over five months, aims to celebrate how horses can have a positive impact on mental health. Participants have two weeks to choose their own routes in their local areas, which will be recorded on a map, and the relay “baton” will be passed to the next region at a pre-arranged Covid-safe event.

    The relay launched at Wentworth House, supported by South Yorkshire Police’s mounted section. On 6 May West Yorkshire Police’s mounted section picked up the baton at a handover in Woolley. The force went on to show further support for the relay at a Leeds United home game at Elland Road on 8 May, joined by former England football player and manager Glenn Hoddle, former England and Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand, and Leeds players Pascal Struijk, Luke Ayling, Mateusz Klich and Tyler Roberts.

    Inspector Nicola Brown of the West Yorkshire Police operational support, which includes the mounted section, said: “West Yorkshire Police mounted officers are proud to be involved in this good cause, which highlights how horses can improve the mental health of the people who own and care for them. Being around horses, not just in a policing environment, has a positive effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing.”

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    A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police added that the baton will be “proudly” taken on patrol and to a series of events throughout the week before going to Leeds city centre on Saturday (15 May) where it will continue its journey across the country. The relay next moves to the northeast region, where it will be supported by Northumbria Mounted Police.

    “The Yorkshire region has really embraced the launch of our UK fundraising relay and shown that the mental health and wellbeing message has no boundaries,” said Sophie Gifford, founder of the relay.

    “The aim of the Great Horses for Health Relay is already bringing communities together to celebrate the positive power of horses and help raise funds for equine charities. We are off to a great start to achieve our goals and invite everyone to join our growing list of celebrity and sporting supporters.”

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