No stirrups, no problem: Ride-a-thon raises much-needed funds for Halifax horse club
HALIFAX -- It’s no stirrups, no problem for members of the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers this November.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to many fundraisers that are critical to non-profits across the Maritimes.
That motivated the Halifax Lancers to come up with a creative idea to raise much-needed funds for the club, and the public is encouraged to ride along on their journey.
“It’s always really encouraging to see how many people out there care about having the horses here in Halifax,” says Angie Holt, the head instructor and barn manager.
Since it was founded in 1936, Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers has been a place for riders of all ages to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, without actually leaving the city.
As the only non-profit urban riding stable in Canada, they faced many funding obstacles due to the pandemic, when equestrian activity came to a halt back in March.
“Unlike a retail store, our expenses continue to be almost just as high whether we’re open or closed because the horses still need to eat and they still need to be cared for,” explains Holt.
Although riders have since been allowed to get back in the saddle, their operating costs are roughly $50,000 a month
That led the Halifax equestrian club to launch a new fundraising campaign titled "No Stirrups November," which will see their riders collectively ride the distance across Canada and back -- over 15,000 kilometres and 1,000 hours of riding.
To add to the challenge, they will be riding without stirrups.
“Riding with no stirrups is something that is very beneficial to developing a riders seat and legs, it’s also very difficult and challenging,” explains Holt.
Over 200 riders between the ages of eight and 70 will be participating in the challenge.
“As a grandmother, it’s important to keep fit. It really works your core," says rider Sandra Chaisson.
"You learn about some core muscles and muscles in your thighs you didn't actually know you had," adds rider Charlotte Grace.
All money raised will go towards caring for the school’s 27 horses and buying a new tractor.
“Adding the fundraiser on just gives us that extra boost to continue to strive to keep Lancers as accessible as possible, because at the end of the day, all we want to do here is share the gifts that these horses give us,” explains Grace.
The fundraiser has already raised over $20,000, and with less than a week remaining in November, Lancers staff and riders are hoping the public can help them reach their fundraising goal of $25,000.
For more information or to donate, visit the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers website.