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Saddle Up Gallops On!

Over the past three and a half years, Spinal Research and the equestrian community have been working together to fight paralysis. Thanks to everyone involved, the Saddle-Up Campaign has raised over £165,000 since its launch in 2000 to help pioneer the repair of injuries to the spinal cord.

Karen Tierney, Campaigns Fundraiser at Spinal Research says: “Support from the equestrian world for our Saddle-Up Campaign has been fantastic! Lots of fun has been had at many different types of events. Money raised and donated by our supporters has provided vital income for Spinal Research and helped to publicise our work to fight paralysis”.

As horse enthusiasts you know how devastating a serious riding fall can be. You may even know someone who has been paralysed by a riding accident – or more than likely someone who has had a lucky escape. It’s a very scary thought, but spinal cord injury could happen to any one of us. More than 40,000 people in the UK are paralysed as a result of damage to the spinal cord, usually victims of road accidents, sporting accidents or falls, and hundreds join them every year.

But there is hope – successes in the laboratory point the way to treatments that could regenerate regrowth in the spinal column. If regenerated This regrowth in the spinal cord of a paralysed person, could allow them to he or she could regain vital sensation and movement.

We are asking for all you horse enthusiasts to become part of our Saddle-Up Campaign to help raise money to launch clinical trials. To be able to set up clinical trials on spinally injured volunteers, it will cost several millions of pounds. There are many ways that you can get involved. You can take part in organised rides as a participant and raise money through sponsorship. You can volunteer your time to help with the organisation, or act as marshal at our events. Alternatively you can hold your own fundraising event - previous activities have included: Horse shows; Photo Competitions, Race Nights; Equestrian Brick-A-Brack; Stables Open Days; or good old Quiz Nights. Events packs to help with your fundraising and entry forms for the rides are available by contacting Karen on 01483 898786 or email or visit to find out more.

Review of 2003

Here are just some of the events and activities that raised money for Spinal Research in 2003:-

Simister and Prestwich Bridleways Association Sponsored Ride (June)

For two years running, the Sponsored Ride has attracted many local riders – in 2003 two policemen on horseback also joined in the fun! £1,000 was donated to Spinal Research.

Charity Horse Show (June)

An incredible £1,473 was the outcome of a Charity Horse Show staged at the Hargate Hill Equestrian Centre in Glossop and organiszed by the Equine Studies Students from the Ridge Danyers College in Stockport.

Pang Valley Sponsored Ride (August)
Those of you who took part in the Pang Valley Ride 2003 raised £1,902, which makes a total of £7,275 since the ride started in 2000. The organiser, Mike Scholl, of the Berks and Bucks Draghounds Supporters, has made this an annual event and this year’s ride will be held on Bank Holiday Monday 30th August in Hermitage, near Newbury, Berkshire.

Melton Hunt Club Sponsored Ride (October)

Spinal Research and the Crown Pin Foundation both benefited from this event and a £3,160 donation was received by Spinal Research. This is a phenomenal amount - especially after the event was postponed due to the hard ground following the hot summer.

Milton Keynes Eventing Centre (October)

One rider – Toby Mynard of Leckhampstead Wharf Stud - raised £350 taking his sponsorship form everywhere with him! Nearly 100 riders took part in the raice, following the excellent bridleways over the beautiful North Bucks countryside. £1,698 was the resulting donation.

Firle Place Horse Trials (August)

£1,200 was raised at the Firle Place Eventers Ball.

Thousands of pounds of donations were received thanks to a variety of activity throughout the country. Too many to name here, but a few include the Eggesford Hunt Branch of the Pony Club, the Lake Vyrnwy Ride, a Fun Show in Gillingham, the Northweald Bridleways Association, Wokingham Branch of the Pony Club, the South Oxfordshire Hunt and Headley Heath Riders Association.

Looking Forward to Saddle-Up Year 4

Fundraising has already started in 2004 with a Dressage competition:

Dressage Competition (February)

Despite snow in the week before, the sun shone on the fourth annual charity dressage competition in aid of Spinal Research. The event was held at Brackenhurst College on Sunday 1st February.

The competition raised £2,700 for Spinal Research, making a total of £10,000 over the four years it has been running. The competition was a huge success thanks to the continued support of local businesses and shops who donated prizes and money, Trent Nottingham University who have generously donated the facilities at Brackenhurst every year without a charge, Brackenhurst staff and many volunteers who worked extremely hard to ensure the the day ran smoothly.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the day, whether competing or spectating, and supporters was extremely generous. The organisers hope that the competition will run again in February 2005!

And there are lots more fun events to look forward to such as:-


The Portman Building Society Charity Race Day at Plumpton Racecourse – 12 April
On Easter Monday 2004, Plumpton Racecourse, nestled in the glorious Sussex countryside, will be the setting for some exciting racing. The Celebrity Flat Race, with a variety of well known names competing will form the grand finale of the day. It promises to be an enjoyable day of fun and celebrity-spotting that will also contribute thousands of pounds to Spinal Research. Even if you are not usually a race-goer, we hope that you will come and join us at Plumpton and help to make our first charity race day here a successful one.


The Long Mynd Pleasure Ride and Drive – 29/30/31 May
A three day riding and driving extravaganza in the Shropshire countryside following a different route each day to take advantage of the beautiful country and stunning views. There will be approx. 5 hours riding or driving a day with a stop for a picnic or pub lunch.

In the evening there will be live entertainment round a camp fire with hog roast. B&B accommodation and camping facilities will be available for riders with grazing/stabling for horses. There will also be a hot tub spa for the tired riders to relax in after a long day in the saddle.

This is a sponsored ride and riders will be encouraged to raise the minimum sponsorship (£50 per day) to take part.


Milton Keynes Eventing Centre Charity Ball – 26 June
On Saturday 26th June, Milton Keynes Eventing Centre will be holding a ball to raise funds for Spinal Research. It promises to be a fantastic night with a buffet meal, raffle, auction and dancing. The ball will take place during the British Eventing Horse Trials. Held in the marquee on the Showground, it will be a fun, lavish affair from 9pm until 1am. Your ticket will include a sumptuous served buffet and Bucks Fizz. Following a full raffle and affordable auction of promises, you can dance the night away to live duo, ‘Together’. The venue will have a bar.

Caldew Riding Club Horse Show
Caldew Riding Club has held this successful local event twice already and will hold a third in the summer of 2004.

Hilton Herbs Alfred’s Tower Ride – 8 August
This is the second year that Spinal Research will have been involved with the Hilton Herbs Alfred’s Tower Ride. The event takes place over two days – Saturday 7th August and Sunday 8th August. On Saturday there is one international class, a FEI 3 Star 140km Endurance Ride. On Sunday there will be the usual graded and set speed classes, the 16km AHS Young Horse Assessment as well as the ever-popular Riding Club Team Endurance Challenge being held for teams of 3 or 4 horses representing Riding Clubs from all over the country. On Sunday there will also be a 16km Pleasure Ride for Spinal Research. Riders in this event will be challenged to raise funds through sponsorship.

Beverley Race Day – 12 August
Longstanding supporter, Rachel Wright, will once again be organizsing a race day at the Beverley Racecourse in aid of Spinal Research. 2004 will be our second Race Day at this racecourse and Rachel will certainly be hoping to raise more than the £5,081 from 2003. Everyone enjoyed a lovely 3-course lunch in the Spinal Research marquee followed by some exciting racing.

Pang Valley Sponsored Ride – 30 August
The 10 mile route – in Hermitage, near Newbury, Berkshire, starts in the park of historic Brockhurst School, continues through arable and dairy farmland then through woodland, back over more open farmland and corn stubble, crossing the river Pang in several places with opportunity to ride down the river for two short stretches. The route also includes 60 optional fences for the day. Riders enjoy the chance to ride over land they do not usually have access to and the marshals enjoy their picnics in beautiful surroundings.

Wetherby Race Day – 13 October
2004 will be the fourteenth year Rachel has organised this Race Day – and over £180,000 has come directly from these events over the years. An amazing achievement and a major supporter of Spinal Research.

For more information about any of the above events visit our website


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