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Leave your hat on: dad’s naked Christmas Day ride raises thousands

Christmas Day was a bit different for many people this winter — possibly for none more so than Stewart Turner.

The 40-something father of three found himself riding in the buff, apart from a fetching Father Christmas hat, late in the evening of 25 December.

Stewart, who has only recently taken up riding and bought his first horse soon afterwards, has amassed a huge following on social media, and has used that to raise money for equestrian charities.

He told H&H he realised last year that he had some 16,000 followers on Instagram, including Carl Hester, which gave him an idea.

“I said if I made it to 20,000 by Christmas — which was pretty unbelievable — I’d ride naked on Christmas Day,” he said.

“I wanted to cheer people up, then everyone started sharing the post and I had a slight panic!”

Stewart spoke to a friend who had supported his fundraising in the past, and who agreed to donate £500. Another two friends said they would match this.

“Some other people said they’d sponsor me too, all in aid of Ebony Horse Club. I didn’t get to 20,000 but people weren’t giving me money to get followers, they were doing it for me to get naked on a horse, so I thought ‘Right, I’m going to have to do it!’”

Stewart had intended to do the deed on Christmas morning but there were children about at the yard, which scuppered his plans, so he went back in the evening.

“I thought there wouldn’t be anyone there but there was,” he said. “I chatted for a bit, and then thought ‘You’re not going, are you?’ So I went to put the school lights on and the yard owner asked what I was doing.

“I said ‘Something for charity’, and she said ‘You’re not getting naked, are you?’ I put music on the video soundtrack but before that, all you could hear was her laughing her head off.”

Stewart used an automatic tracking device to film his ride — “my wife said she wouldn’t and neither would my children; the looks of disgust on their faces!” — and then did some tactful editing on the footage, especially when sitting trot meant “a bit too much was on show”.

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“It was a bit chilly but that was the last thing on my mind!” he said. “People asked why I did it but £2,000 for charity in return for two minutes’ embarrassment; there was no question really.”

Stewart said he chose Ebony to benefit as he has long felt that he would like to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds learn to ride, and have access to horses, which the inner-city riding club does so well.

And is he a convert to riding in the buff?

“Well, if something else came up, I’d consider it,” he said. “I’m not sure what I’d do next though, maybe showjumping!”

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