Relay highlights how horses can help
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
HISTORIC Raby Castle provided a dramatic drop for the passing of a baton as part of an equine fundraising relay.
The Horses for Health Relay, set up during lockdown by equine enthusiast Sophie Gifford, aims to raise funds for seven charities and highlight the difference horses can make on mental health.
The UK relay started on May 2 in Yorkshire and will take five months to complete, covering 11 regions and finishing in Cornwall on October 2. Participants from each region are given two weeks to complete their ride, drive, walk or cycle before the “baton” is handed over to the next participating region at a pre-arranged Covid-safe event. Ms Gifford said: “My Irish cob Jack helped me cope with the mental challenges of the pandemic and I was inspired by Capt Sir Tom Moore to start a community event which would highlight the positive effects an equine can have on your well-being while also raising money for horse welfare.”
Mounted officers Lucy Adair and Bev Crain, from Northumbria Police, riding 11-year-old Clydesdale mare Penelope and 12-year-old Dutch Warm Blood Prince, were handed the baton for the north east leg of the relay, from Justin Brooks.
Hamsterley resident and horse rider Mel Riley said the event will also help highlight issues riders face.
She said: “It’s about raising awareness. I live in Hamsterley village and we get a lot of mountain bikers flying through the village. When they are in the forest, they are not so bad but through the village they just take off and need to be a little more considerate, not just for horse riders but walkers as well.”
Go to www.horses4health. co.uk for more details.