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Meet the equestrians working on the NHS front line *H&H Plus*

Simple yard chores are among the few things keeping NHS staff sane during the pandemic. Lucy Elder tracks down healthcare workers to find out how they are coping

Our NHS heroes are all around us in the equestrian world – and right now they are facing an unprecedented situation. They are the riders we pass in the collecting ring, the medics who sit for hours in freezing fields so we can enjoy our sport. They are stabled next to you on your livery yard, the people we see when we are injured, and they are the ones who fix us to get back on board.

H&H spoke to a tiny snapshot of thousands connected to both the equestrian and healthcare worlds to find out more about their roles and say thank you, on behalf of the horse world.

“No matter what else is going on, you need to get up and muck out,” says Karla Parsons, a radiographer at West Suffolk Hospital and amateur event rider. “As Covid-19 is a respiratory illness, we X-ray patients with symptoms, so our workload is really ramping up.

“Normally my life involves balancing my shifts around the horses and my two children; it’s always been a bit of a balancing act. The horses are usually – I’d say about 80% of the time – really good for my mental health. I’m noticing they are more important than ever at the moment. They give you that routine to your life, that stability.”