FOUR men rode more than 500 miles to support a riding club enjoyed by a little Alderholt girl.
Tim Palmer and his friends Laurence Seaward, Adam Batty and Cy Shearer, all from the Fordingbridge area, decided to take on a challenge and raise cash for the Three Legged Cross Green Cottage Riding for the Disabled group, after seeing what it did for Mr Palmer’s eight-year-old niece Phoebe Bailey.
The team took part in the Rad Vlaanderen Stuttgart Challenge 2013, which involves teams of four cyclists riding from Flanders to Stuttgart in three days and raised £1,000 to be split with the 1st Fordingbridge Scouts.
Tim ’s sister Kim Bailey said: “They chose the charity as my daughter has autism and epilepsy and attends the group, which has really been life changing for her.
“I can't thank Tim and the team enough. My daughter Phoebe has been attending Green Cottage since she was four years old. When she started she was a very anxious, almost non-verbal little girl. “She had no fear of the ponies and they are amazing with her.
“As soon as she sat on a pony we saw her anxiety levels drop and she began to verbalise and communicate with those around her. She's a very different little lady now, and RDA has played a huge part in that.
“Giving her the time and understanding to spend time riding and just be with the ponies has helped her confidence and general wellbeing, it’s the one time in the week we know she is truly happy and relaxed.”
Green Cottage RDA is run by volunteers and relies on its own fundraising to keep it operational.
There are six ponies which are used for therapeutic riding for children and young adults who have disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, Asperger’s and autism.
To find out more about Green Cottage RDA go to www.greencottageridingcentre.co.uk.