How Horses4Health began
So what is Horses4Health and how did it all begin and evolve? Well, the main aim is to celebrate horses and appreciate how they can have a positive impact on our mental health, create a commuity of like-minded people and improve mental health. All this while raising money for some fantastic charities who help rescue and rehabilitate horses, ponies and donkeys as well as helping the mental and physical wellbeing of humans.
How the idea began
The Relay idea began on 30th December 2020 whilst founder Sophie Gifford was watching BBC Breakfast. They were reviewing all the charitable fundraising carried out throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and Sophie marvelled at how many different physical activities had been undertaken, one of which of course was Capt. Sir Tom Moore. She noticed, though, that there were no equestrians, which led her to innocently post on the Facebook Group, Pass Wide & Slow (PWAS), suggesting a UK-wide riding event. Within a couple of hours there had been hundreds of responses, which prompted her to create The Great Horses for Health UK Relay 2021 Facebook Group on New Years Eve. In the first week the group hit 1000 members and from there the Event took on its own energy and the group has since grown to over 10,000 members!
The Great Horses for Health Relay was born and in 2021 the event ran from May to September, region by region throughout the UK. We had over 900 participants, covered around 2,700 miles and raised over £17,000 for seven charities.
A lot was learnt from our first event, through listening to our volunteers and participants and some changes were made in 2022. We raised an incredible £59,000, with huge thanks to the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust who provided us with a very generous grant in addition to our own fundraising. We, in turn managed to provide grants to numerous small equine welfare charities. For more information on grants given click here.
The 2023 event has evolved again and we are hoping for it to be an even bigger success!