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My challenge is to complete a BE80 (BE stands for British Event) by the end of next season.....for my non horsey friends I am going to break this down for you.....
Eventing includes dressage, showjumping, and jumping cross-country. To make it through all three phases, riders need a bizarre mix of OCD obsession with detail and a tendency toward inadvisable risk-taking. GOD HELP ME!!
The dressage phase involves both horse and rider completing a range of movements and transitions from memory (we all know what an air head I am), while looking calm and collected *Snort*.....I have the least chance of ending up in an ambulance in this phase. **Think horse dancing meets body-building.**
Showjumping, this involves riding around a course of jumps.The jumps will be brightly coloured with things called fillers which are designed to make the horse look and possibly stop. The aim is to jump everything as fast as possible while trying to leave all the poles up and avoid dying..
Now the cross country phase, could be renamed the death phase.....this involves both me and my steed hurtling ourselves round a grass course while flying (in theory both of us not just me) over solid immovable objects, the aim to to get round clear inside a set time limit (My life will hang in the balance here!!) Get the nappies at the ready!!
So let me explain a little bit about the challenge and the charity..
What is Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity?
Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity was founded by Hannah Francis in March 2016. Hannah, a hugely talented young event rider, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in May 2015 at the age of just 17 years old. The prognosis was very poor indeed and Hannah subsequently endured many months of painful and debilitating treatment, fighting the disease with extraordinary courage and dignity. Hannah’s sheer determination was plain to see and she defied all medical opinion, continuing to ride right up until her tragically early passing at only 18 years of age on 1st August 2016.
With this in mind, Hannah founded her charity, Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, in March 2016 to raise money to fulfil two principal objectives – to fund research into osteosarcoma and to provide equestrian experiences (“Willberry’s Wishes”) to seriously ill people. The charity made strong progress under Hannah’s leadership and has gone from strength to strength since her passing, raising more than £800,000 in its first 18 months. The charity is commencing a significant research programme as Hannah so dearly wished and is granting Willberry’s Wishes to seriously ill people in the hope that these experiences inspire others in the same way as they did Hannah, bringing a little happiness and hope during the darkest of times.
The “Wobbleberry Challenge” was set up because we were inspired by Hannah’s determination, and we wanted to raise money for a fantastic charity, where every penny will make a difference. The Challenge has run for a year so far, raising over £215,000, with over 1,200 people initially signing up. This is not about a few people raising vast sums of money – it’s about what a group of normal people can achieve when working together. There is no competitive element – this is all about supporting each other. Lots of new friendships have been made because of the Challenge and people have done things they never imagined they were capable of. There are no failures – we are celebrating every step on the journey. As long as people have raised money, and done more than they had pre-challenge, we see this as a success.
People who take part in this personal challenge will be aiming at a BE80(T) event, having never completed one previously with their equine partner. This has proven to be an effective balance between a proper challenge and one that is achievable by ordinary people, riding ordinary horses. It has encouraged fantastic feats of fundraising and sponsorship and created a real sense of achievement when completing. Typically people who participated in 2017 had never considered attempting a BE, but were inspired by Hannah to push themselves. This is such a fundamental part of the Wobbleberry Challenge, because Hannah herself was so inspired by her riding. How fitting indeed that her legacy continues in many ways, not least in encouraging people into the saddle and proving to themselves that they can achieve something not previously thought possible.
For those not familiar with British Eventing, you should go to their website www.britisheventing.com, where you can find out more about the sport and the BE80(T) class in particular.
If you would like to know more please visit: https://www.willberrywonderpony.org