More than 9,000 riders have so far signed up to take part in an epic fundraising relay ride across the UK.
The Great Horses for Health relay starts on 2 May in Yorkshire and will take place in 11 regions of the UK over five months. 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.
Rider Sophie Gifford came up with the idea during lockdown, and the event will raise funds via sponsorship for charities HorseWorld, Redwings, Hope Pastures, HorseBack UK, Bransby Horses, North Wales Horse Watch and the Riding for the Disabled Association.
Sophie, who is supported by a group of volunteers and a team from HorseWorld, set up the relay to celebrate how much horses have done for people during the pandemic.
“My Irish cob Jack helped me cope with the mental challenges of the pandemic and I was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start a community event which would highlight the positive effects an equine can have on your wellbeing whilst also raising money for horse welfare,” she said.
The tool will gather data on equestrians’ use of routes, such as tarmacked roads that are not slippery, railway crossings
“Because we are lunatics, we decided we still wanted to do something to help our charities and our objective now
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“This ride is for everyone who loves horses and has experienced the positive impact they have on their mental wellbeing. Our website will have a dedicated area for everyone to share pictures and stories providing a space for horse lovers around the UK to connect. We hope as many people will take part as possible.”
A HorseWorld spokesman added that every “horse lover” is invited; be it astride, side-saddle, western, as a carriage driver, or in hand. Individuals can also cycle or take part on foot.
Registration for the event is open at www.horses4health.co.uk.
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