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05 September 2022

Today we hear from Rebecca Sumner (Bex) about her taking up the challenge of riding in a British Horse Society Charity Race at Wetherby Racecourse in late October

I am the wrong side of 30 and no longer feel the need to stand on a set of scales, so obviously I decided this is the time I would like to take part in a charity race. I have wanted to for a while but never quite plucked up the courage to hit that ‘send button’ on the application form. However, with some great encouragement I did it and well… here we are. 

At home, Heydour Farm stud in Grantham, we run a National Hunt stud. Over the last three years we have grown rapidly; we buy a few foals to sell but also breed a few, increasing our broodmares slowly with hopefully a very exciting future ahead. We also have a few in training. My husband runs the estate and farm side of the operation, including 1000 sheep which works well alongside the horses. So, horses already play a large part in my life.

Double motivation – two worthy causes

I’m riding to raise funds for two excellent causes. The first is Second Chance Appeal, the British Horse Society’s mission to rescue and rehome horses. Everyday horses and ponies are abused and neglected all over the country. Recent figures show over 11,500 in the welfare system, with the recent pandemic exacerbating the situation with people not being able to afford horses. Rehabilitation can take a long time and lots of dedication but completely worth it when the horses are rehomed. Every horse no matter what background they are from deserves a second chance.

The second is Changing lives Through Horses, which focuses on young people. The BHS passionately believe that horses have a remarkable role to play in developing character and key life skills in young people, regardless of whether more traditional methods have been successful. The programme is suitable for young people, aged 5-25, who have special needs and may be either permanently excluded, or at risk of exclusion in its widest sense, and those who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET). They may also be at risk of becoming socially excluded with income below the poverty line and without the skills to improve their economic situation. I really believe this is an amazing programme that helps a lot of young people. 

Brilliant support team

I need to thank trainer Laura Morgan, her lovely family and her fabulous team for their support.

When I first thought about riding in the race, I rang Laura and without hesitation she said, ‘just do it!’ She’s now stuck with me. The whole family and team have been super kind when I go and ride out. The whole yard is a great place to be, friendly and relaxed, which shines through in the horses. 

I have to take a jockeys’ fitness test, which is quite frankly awful. My personal trainer Kelsey isn’t one for shouting at you, but she is there, keeping you going. We call her the silent assassin, along with her sessions she has given me ‘homework’ and some amazing meal plans.

Funds to raise

I have to raise a minimum of £2,500 and I would like to thank Fairfax Racing, AMS Robotics and Phillips Animal Health for all the ongoing support. There are other companies/people who have sponsored me or donated some amazing prizes towards my raffle, so thanks to them, also. To donate visit the Just Giving page here or contact me through Instagram (bexs_bhscharityracechallenge) about getting tickets to my raffle.

Finally, thank you to the British Horse Society for this opportunity and support throughout the journey. Anyone that is planning on going to Wetherby on the 28th please do come cheer us all on! 

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