Thursday, February 13, 2014
Paraplegic rider and former leading lady jockey Sarah Gaisford, from Buckfastleigh in South Devon, is asking riders to join her on an historic journey as she embarks on the Liberty Trails Dartmoor Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, writes Lucy Johnson.
The ride takes place on Saturday, April 12, and Sarah will attempt to ride as far as she can to raise awareness of the work of the IJF in recognition of its 50th anniversary celebrations. Joining her will be racing legends John Francome, MBE and Richard Pitman
The IJF proved instrumental in Sarah’s rehabilitation following her life changing accident in 2007 and still provides ongoing support. To help repay them Sarah is asking people to either sponsor her, or raise £500 in sponsorship for the IJF and ride across Dartmoor too.
Since her accident, Sarah has refused to turn her back on the horses she loved, and has held on to a dream that one day she would be able to ride across Dartmoor again. Liberty Trails, which specialises in providing luxury riding holidays on Dartmoor, made this possible in 2012 and its founder Elaine Prior is now organizing the Liberty Trails Dartmoor Challenge.
Elaine said: “Sarah is so inspiring in that she always has a smile for everyone and yet has had to overcome some incredible difficulties. With Liberty Trails expertise in providing riding holidays on Dartmoor it seemed a natural thing for us to do.”
Sarah added: “It is incredible what Liberty Trials has done for me, not least helping me enjoy Dartmoor’s wonderful landscape again from the back of a horse. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I no longer had the use of my legs, and Elaine’s belief in me and support of me has meant so much. I am so excited about the Liberty Trails Dartmoor Challenge and I will spend between now and then slowly building a bond my horse so that I can attempt to ride as far as I can.”
Those who take part in the ride will also be invited to attend a gala dinner at the Arundell Arms near Lifton the night prior to the right with free accommodation provided for horses. The person raising the most money will be seated on the top table with John Francome MBE, seven times champion jockey and president of the IJF.
The Liberty Trails Dartmoor Challenge is the first phase of Sarah’s challenge. In October she will attempt to ride a circuit of Exeter Racecourse where she suffered her life changing injury.
Donations can be also be made through http://www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Gaisford. Sarah’s progress can be followed at www.facebook.com/LibertyTrailsDartmoorChallenge. To reserve your place and to receive sponsorship forms please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.libertytrails.co.uk/the-dartmoor-challenge.php