Royal backing for 10,000-rider relay

  • An epic fundraising relay featuring more than 10,000 riders kicks off this weekend and has attracted a royal supporter.

    The Duchess of Cornwall has been announced as the patron of the Great Horses for Health Relay 2021. The event starts on Sunday (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.

    The relay is the brainchild of rider Sophie Gifford, who came up with the idea during lockdown. The event aims to highlight how horses can have a positive impact on mental health, while raising funds for equine charities HorseWorld, Redwings, Hope Pastures, HorseBack UK, Bransby Horses, North Wales Horse Watch and the Riding for the Disabled Association.

    “We are incredibly grateful to HRH the Duchess of Cornwall for accepting the invitation to become our patron. As a keen equestrian herself, Her Royal Highness understands how horses can help have a positive impact on our wellbeing,” said Sophie.

    “To have the duchess as our patron is also a huge boost for our equine charities, which have struggled through Covid and are in need of support to continue their vital work.”

    Sophie is being supported by a group of volunteers, and a team from HorseWorld in organising the relay. The event is open to all “horse lovers” and people can ride, carriage drive or take part with horses in hand. Individuals can also cycle or walk.

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    Horseworld chief executive Peta Ingram said the charity is delighted to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall as patron.

    “We hope that with her support we will be able to connect with the horse loving community across the UK, to celebrate together the positive power of horses and help raise funds for equine charities,” she said.

    Registration for the event at www.horses4health.co.uk.

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