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We all know that our routine with our horses, the enjoyment of their company and being able to ride regularly are hugely important factors in our mental health and wellbeing. But for many, this has become even more apparent in the last year, as our horses have provided us with essential support and structure through challenging times.

During lockdown, horse lover Sophie Gifford was inspired by the fundraising efforts of others – most famously, Captain Sir Tom Moore – along with the huge mental wellbeing benefits she experienced herself from life with her Irish Maxi Cob, Jack, and felt there should be a fundraising event in celebration and support of our horses and all that they do for us.

What began as a suggestion in a facebook group has flourished, and with the support of equine charity HorseWorld Trust and a team of enthusiastic volunteers, Sophie has made The Great Horses For Health Relay a reality. The relay will allow all the equine lovers in the UK an opportunity to take part in a fun community event to raise money for horse welfare, and with over 10,000 already signed up to the Horses For Health Facebook Group ahead of the event, it looks set to be a great success!

The 5 month fundraising event is due to start in Yorkshire on 2nd May and gradually work its way around the country. The UK has been split into 11 regions, and participants in each region will be given a 2 week window in which to complete their chosen route in their local area. This will then be recorded on the relay map and the relay ‘baton’ will then be passed on to the next participating region. More information about how the relay works and the planned dates for each region can be found on the event website.

All participants are encouraged to gain sponsorship for their rides in order to raise money in support of a number of worthy UK-based equine charities who do fantastic work in the sectors of equine welfare and mental health. With many people unable to afford the continued costs of keeping their horses during the pandemic, equine charities have been particularly hard-hit, so this event is a wonderful way to support them and give something back. You can find a list of the chosen equine charities here, along with information about thor work.

Alongside highlighting the important work of these equine charities, the team behind the event hope that it will also raise awareness around the safety of horses and other vulnerable road users.

The event is open to everyone and there are plenty of ways to get involved and take part yourself, whether that’s on horseback, as a carriage driver, with long reins, in hand, on foot or even on your bike!

The event organiser and founder, Sophie Gifford, said;

“This ride is for everyone who loves horses and has experienced the positive impact they have on your mental well-being. 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”.

To find out more about The Great Horses For Health Relay and how to register to participate, visit https://www.horses4health.co.uk/.

The Great Horses For Health Relay is sponsored by SEIB, Rathbones, Equidance & EquineXceed, and Horsemart. You can find more information about the event sponsors here.

Genevieve de Lande Long - Horsemart
Horsemart Marketing Team
Published on 2021-04-13