Burghley Horse Trials is one of the highlights of the equine calendar, attracting elite riders from all over the world. This year, two of our 16 year olds, Cameron and Calvin, were there to watch the cross country phase on the Saturday. Some of the riders were recently returned from the Rio Olympics, including bronze medallist, Christopher Burton, a worthy and popular winner.
But there’s another event that takes place on the Sunday of Burghley weekend for riders for whom horse riding is a more leisurely past time.
The SEIB Burghley Sponsored Ride, now in its fourteenth year, gives riders of all ages and abilities the chance to experience the pleasure of riding alongside the 12k cross country course and at the same time, raise money for equine charities.
This year, we were thrilled to have been selected as one of three charities chosen to benefit along with the British Horse Society and World Horse Welfare.
As a small charity, all funds raised are of vital importance so that we can continue to help young people growing up in Brixton.
Anyone who has owned horses knows that they are not cheap to keep – the hay bill alone for our nine horses is over £4,000 a year – so the money raised from the ride will go towards the costs of looking after them.
We were delighted to be out on the course on Sunday morning to meet and thank the riders who took part in the sponsored ride. Cameron who has just started a two year apprenticeship at Operation Centaur in Richmond, Surrey was in no doubt about his favourite, a gorgeous Norwegian Fyord horse being ridden Western style. “I’m learning carriage driving in my new job where we drive carriages round Hampton Court Palace but I’d love to have a go at Western riding.”
The team of mules representing the British Mule Society attracted plenty of attention, not least because their braying could be heard across the course! There was a wonderful troop of Icelandic ponies who were thoroughly enjoying the terrain.
Sue Collins, Chair of Trustees at Ebony Horse Club said, “We’re really pleased to be able to thank the riders in person and it’s a great opportunity for our boys to feel part of the wider horse loving community.”
Our boys were hailed as heroes by one rider who had dismounted as her horse was finding the day just a little too exciting!
Joanne Richardson, who was there with her gorgeous coloured horse, Buddy, messaged us after the weekend to say: “I just wanted to say a hugh thank you to the young lads who helped me at the burghley sponsored ride on Sunday. I brought my young inexperienced cob and all the other horses blew his mind! He was rearing and trying to bolt after them. A couple of your boys came and took him off me and calmed him down. They were brilliant, he’s a very big, strong lad and I was struggling to hold him but they were great. I managed to get back on him and we finished the ride and we both loved it.”
It was a proud moment to see how calm and confident they boys were, and how willing they were to be able to offer help to a stranger, with an unknown horse in unfamiliar surroundings. They are a real testament to hard work and dedication – and the support they have had from the EHC team.
An album of photos from the event can be found on our facebook page.
All the money raised at the event goes to the selected charities, thanks to the generous support of SEIB Insurance. Over 400 horses and riders took part and were rewarded with a rosette at the end.
Calvin, whose ambition is to be a farrier, is about to start a course in Equine Studies at Hadlow College in Kent. Calvin said, “I’d love to do the ride next year. Maybe one day I’ll be riding in the real competition.” There’s nothing wrong with aiming high!
As a charity, we rely on generous grants from charitable trusts, fundraising support and donations from individuals to ensure we can provide much-needed services and support to children and young people in the local community.