4 Eventers Compete on Stick Horses for Charity

No horse? No problem for British riders raising funds for a local air ambulance.

You hope you’ll never need medical emergency services while out on course–but someone has to make sure these services are available if needed. Four riders from the Milton Keynes Eventing Centre have teamed up to do just that.

Milton Keynes Eventing Centre manager Fiona Gifkins, her sisters-in-law Wendy and Jenny Austen and course builder Nick Bigley decided to use their eventing skills to  raise money for the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust. For Wendy Austen, the fundraiser hits close to home–she is just recovering from a riding accident where she had to be transported by air ambulance.


Naturally, they all needed suitable mounts. So they’re using stick horses–a breed known for its versatility.

In an interview with Horse and Hound, team captain Fiona said, “None of us have got horses to do the three-day on and we just thought after too many Pimms, why not take part on hobby horses for charity?”

The team kicked off the weekend of competition in a pas-de-quatre dressage test–including a QUADRUPLE canter pirouette.

One team member, Fiona Gifkins, also demonstrated the rare fire-breathing phase of eventing (perhaps a couple too many Pimms were also involved prior to this daring feat). She went clear!

In the XC phase, riders seemed to be slightly confused as to which level the team was competing. So they just did all of them simultaneously.

Most of the horses and riders attacked the water complex with gusto…except one who seemed to be tiring.

The weekend was almost marred by tragedy when a rider suffered a rotational fall over a skinny. Thankfully, her team members just told her to kick on, and she and her horse cantered away from the accident unharmed.

To learn more about their cause and to donate, visit their JustGiving.com page.


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