Over 2,000 votes were collected and the final winners of each of the four categories: Equine Charity, Equine Health, Equine Support, and Inspirational Rider, were each awarded a bursary of £2,000 to contribute towards equipment, training, education and travel.
Sam Horrell, CEO at Dodson & Horrell commented:
“It has been a privilege to support our four bursary winners. They are all hugely deserving of the bursaries and it has been great to follow their progress over the year.”
Winner of the Inspirational Rider award 14 year old Evie Toombes from Lincolnshire has a form of spina bifida and regularly competes at Grade 3 para showjumping level. Evie has had a ‘rollercoaster of challenges and achievements’ in the last 12 months.
“I was very lucky to compete schoolmistress Milton, and benefited from lots of tuition made possible by the Dodson & Horrell bursary,” said Evie. “I managed to compete all over the country with incredible results.” These results included; National RDA SJ CHAMP grade III at Hartpury; two top 20 finishes at Arena UK SJ Festival; fourth at BS National para championships and Scope Festival; performing an RDA display for HRH The Princess Royal; jumping on Area 24 Team and coming fourth, five days after Evie had a feeding tube fitted; and being awarded the Hannah Francis award by The Pony Club. “We’ve purchased a mare called Breeze who I’m competing in small classes,” explained Evie.
“The aim is to prepare her for the Para classes by summer.” Evie’s plans include returning to school and talking to trainee nurses about procedures that children are frightened of to improve their hospital experience.”
Equine Health bursary winner Lisa Prescott has been busy building up her business LP Training & Equine Holistic Therapy.
“The funds received have assisted me immeasurably,” said Lisa. “The last year has been busy; I completed the initial part of my Equine Holistic Massage Therapy course, achieving Distinction in all the modules and my final exam. “I am now well on my way to completing the Advanced course, investigating more into meridian lines and myo fascial work.” The coaching side of Lisa’s business has been busy too.
“I love how my human clients have learnt to overcome confidence issues and embrace their “can do” attributes, therefore improving their horse’s confidence – I have seen some amazing partnerships blossom and grow.”
Lyn and Simon Blight, winner of the Equine Support bursary, provide therapy visits with their two ponies, Tere and Tinks to care homes, hospices and schools for both able bodied and disabled children. They have been busy preparing for a summer full of visits.
“We’ve got bookings every weekend until October,” said Lyn. “Our pony Tere is now 19 so we hope that two-year-old Dora, will eventually take over from her.” With the bursary Lyn repaired her Land Rover which they’ve since sold and replaced with a newer vehicle to tow the ponies; kitted the ponies out with new rugs, headcollars and leadropes as well as purchasing a new equine hair dryer to reduce the time it takes to get the ponies ready for visits.
“We’ve also had our trailer serviced and the jockey door fixed which makes a huge difference,” added Lyn. “Our plans are to continue with the visits, educating the younger ponies and eventually put in a new wash room,” said Lyn.
Equine Charity bursary winner Jo Hawkins at EquATA has been busy working on creating a new play area. EquATA is dedicated to helping adults and children suffering from all sorts of emotional, mental and behavioural problems, including children with autism. The charity uses horses and ponies who have retired from their original jobs to act as therapists.
“With the help of the Dodson & Horrell bursary, we have been able to buy enough fence posts to fence not only the play area, but also the paddocks, and create a fort wall with the left over posts,” said Jo. “The play area has stepping logs, a zip wire, wobbly bridge, rope traverse, climbing wall and tunnels.” Future plans are to create an indoor interactive area.
“We’ve got two new equine additions – a Connemara pony and a Clydesdale cross who have replaced two of our old faithfuls and are settling in well,” added Jo. “We’re hoping to create an interactive, safe play area where families can enjoy spending quality time together alongside our animals. EquATA’s open day is 12 August this year.”