‘Wobbling for Willberry’: new challenge for riders of all levels to run in 2020

  • Riders of all levels who want to “dream big, fight hard and never give up” are being recruited for a new initiative by the founders of the Wobbleberry Challenge.

    The Wobbling for Willberry – 7 Goals for 2020 will run in addition to the original challenge, which involved riders aiming to complete a British Eventing BE80(T) to raise money for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.

    A spokesman for the Wobbleberry Challenge, which began in 2016, said hundreds of riders have completed the challenge so far raising more than £300,000 for the charity.

    “This new initiative came about because there are people who have completed the original challenge; and some that for various reasons who will never be able to complete it, but still want to be involved. We’ve also been approached by people who want to raise money but a BE80(T) is not currently a suitable aim. This initiative is aimed at anyone interested in supporting the charity, that want to – in Hannah’s words – ‘dream big, fight hard and never give up’.

    “The idea is anyone who wants to participate, sets and registers their own seven goals. These can be at any level and they need not be competitive. All those who complete their goals next year and have raised the minimum sponsorship, will be given an achievement rosette.”

    Sally Barr, founder of the Wobbleberry Challenge, thought of the initiative after she was unable to complete a BE80(T) due to her horse’s retirement.

    “I have now been lucky enough to find another horse, but it is going to be a long journey for us. I am still as committed to my BE80(T) aim, but that’s not realistic for us for 2020. I decided to break it down into mini goals, which is where this idea came from,” she said.

    “I’ve made some great friends within the online community, and I know this idea suits many of them. I am hoping by opening it up we can grow this further and continue to help build Hannah’s legacy and raise funds for the wonderful work that the charity does.”

    Participants will have access to a private Facebook group to support each other and Jenni Winter-Leach of Flying Changes Coaching, a graduate of the Wobbleberry Challenge, will also be supporting the initiative.

    “A video tutorial on goal setting is available to all who sign up, and Jenni is also donating a free one-to-one session to one lucky winner – to be drawn in January,” said the spokesman.

    The spokesman added that those who do not own their own horse are also being encouraged to get involved and said the organisers are keen to work with riding schools, including The Owl House Stables in Kent.

    The Owl House Stables manager Rachel Wright said: “I think it’s a great idea, I have a few clients I have already mentioned it to as some of them will never do a BE80(T). This is a great way to engage people who want to be involved. I have really enjoyed helping the Wobbleberry Challenge. We run camps and clinics at a discounted rate and participants can bring their own horse or borrow one of ours.”

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    Hannah’s mother Rachel Francis, trustee of Hannah’s Willberry Wondery Pony charity, said the initiative is a “fantastic idea”.

    “Hannah had many goals, we all know how hard she fought to achieve these driven by her passion, determination and love for her horses – she would approve. Hannah continues to inspire so many, and as her parents this makes us so proud. We cannot thank Sally and her team enough for their continued support, every penny raised will help us to fight this truly devastating disease.”

    Participants must raise a minimum sponsorship of £20, and riders who raise more than £50 will be entered into a prize draw at the end of 2020. Those interested in signing up can do so at www.wobbleberries.com.

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