This year the committee of the club led by Chairman Jim Lee and Club Manager David Beer decided to donate a proportion of the event profits to a very special charity. The committee chose to sponsor the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
This charity was chosen for the outstanding work they carry out for everyone and especially horse riders who are in trouble. In fact, two of our club members have been airlifted off the Downs over the past few years because of bad injuries suffered from riding accidents.
At the beginning of the year the committee set a target of £3000 to be raised over the year with the major fund raising being a sponsored ride over the South Downs and through Angmering Park.
On Sunday a brilliant entry of 80 riders was ready to ride various distances of 5-10 and 15 miles. Each entrant had committed to raising a minimum of £20 sponsorship as their entry fee to take part in the ride.
On the three days prior to the ride several committee members spent time checking and marking routes to ensure none of our riders got lost out on the Down. Especial thanks must go to Jim Lee who spent his Saturday walking various routes with marking arrows and shears in hand. The shears where for cutting back overgrowing vegetation on some of the bridleways.
The ride started at 10am from a field on Arundel Road Patching midway between the Fox and Worlds End public houses. First to go as they had the furthest distance to travel were the 15-mile riders, followed by 10 and then 5-mile rides.
Out on the course several marshals were at specific points on the different rides to keep riders on the correct route. Notwithstanding this a group of our 5 milers ended up at one of our 10-mile marshalling points. They were enjoying themselves in the beautiful weather and outstanding scenery. Each rider left the start point with a map of their route.
There were no winners or losers in this event, just the joy of riding your horse over some beautiful countryside. And returning to some exceptional coffee or a cold Prosecco or beer as we had a trailer bar and travelling coffee bar to greet the thirsty riders. I must say the horses all returned looking fit and well and ready to do it all again.
However, the committee has decided to give a prize of a club embossed polo shirt to the Senior and Junior that raised the highest sponsorship. The highest sponsorship collected was by one of its Juniors, Courtney Williams riding Fly, who collected £163. The other winner who collected £140 was Valerie Hall riding Sway Molly Moon.
Was it all worthwhile? It certainly was as the club collected in the region of £2,500 for the Air Ambulance.