Charity asks the public to saddle up

editorial image

A charity will be swapping horse power for pedal power to raise funds for the organisation and is asking members of the public to saddle up.

Horseback UK - a charity which was set up by ex-marine Jock Hutchison, who had served at 45 Commando in Arbroath, to help injured soldiers and veterans using western riding, adventure training and equine therapy - is asking people to join them on a cycle from Aboyne to Arbroath, which includes cycling up the Cairn O’Mount.

The Horseback UK Cairn O’Mount Challenge takes place on August 27 and is a 54-mile long cycle from HorseBack UK’s headquarters in Ferrar, Aboyne, to the Army Reserve Centre, Montrose Road, Arbroath, where there will be a barbecue and music.

Ian Wren, fundraising manager for Horseback UK and a former solider from Arbroath, has organised the challenge.

He said: “We treat guys who have come back from conflict and who have post traumatic stress disorder through working with horses.

“The challenge is not meant to be a race, it’s meant to be a day out and is about raising money for the charity. Some people do it in four hours, some people do it more. My wife completed it in seven hours last year.

“It should be a good day. Last year the cyclists even stopped for an ice cream in Edzell.”

The 2015 challenge raised £10,000 for Horseback UK.

In November 2008, Jock and Emma Hutchison moved with their young family to Ferrar just outside Aboyne. Their plan was to set up a business using American Quarter Horses and western riding.

After serving and ex-military personal visited the farm the idea of using horse work to help those returning from combat arose.

Jock had served at 45 Commando in Arbroath and 2008 had been a particularly traumatic year for them as in their recent tour of Afghanistan they had lost nine of their own in combat, with a further 16 suffering life-changing injuries.

Jock and Emma offered the farm as somewhere that the injured marines could go as a break away from clinical recovery.

Over the next 12 months they had several groups visit the farm.

In 2009, HorseBack UK gained charitable status with the aim of taking wounded servicemen and women and introducing them to horses.

To take part in the cycle challenge please get in touch with Ian by emailing ian@horsebackuk.org.uk