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Rider challenges others to use horses for travel – to help boost equestrians’ profile

A rider who helps lobby authorities on access is challenging others to use their horses for everyday journeys to help boost equestrians’ profile.

Hannah Gardner, who helps run the Horse Access Campaign UK group on Facebook, wants others to take up the “active travel challenge”.

Hannah explained that active travel – any method of making journeys that involves physical exertion – is promoted by authorities for its health benefits – and that of course it includes riding.

She told H&H: “This translates into ‘we need to leave the car at home more and use a green form of transport’, so everyone (and our horses) can be healthier and we all do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint. The #ActiveTravelChallenge would be about getting everyone to dust off their saddle bags and start doing everyday journeys on their horses.”

She suggested trips such as collecting Christmas trees (pictured), voting in next week’s (12 December) general election and trips to the shops, while of course ensuring no horses and riders are put at risk as a result, as well as citing farming friends of hers who have started riding to check cattle rather than using a quad bike.

Hannah believes the benefit would not only be to human and equine health.

“So many multi-use rights of way don’t included horses and I think if we were seen out and about more, it would be harder to exclude us,” she said.

“There are also so many negative things shared on social media, and this would be something really positive.”

Hannah wants people to share pictures on social media with the hashtag #ActiveTravelChallenge, tag a horsey friend and try to spread the word.

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“Seeing more horses on the roads might also help with road safety,” she said. “I see myself as a bit of an ambassador; I always over-thank drivers and stop to chat to people when I’m out riding, to help try to show we’re not the pigeon-holed type of person some seem to think.

“It would be great to show horses still play an important part in our society.”

What do you think of this idea? Let us know by writing to hhletters@ti-media.com for a chance to see your views in H&H magazine and you could win a bottle of Champagne Taittinger (please include your name and address; letters may be edited).

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