Riding for the disabled.jpg

Riding for the disabled

TWENTY PEOPLE are now committed to completing the upcoming 240 kilometre ride from Alcoutim to Sagres in six days, in aid of charities PSP (Progressive Nuclear Palsy) and RDA (Riding for the Disabled Algarve), taking place from May 13 to the May 19.

More and more companies have decided to pledge their support and are generously donating either money or their product or service. The latest sponsors are the Civil Governor of Faro and the president of the Região de Turismo do Algarve (RTA), who have both agreed to kindly provide a dinner for the participants during the ride. Also, Avelino Apolónia, owner of Apolónia supermarkets has generously agreed to become a sponsor for one of the days, thereby joining Medal insurance company and Danshape, a well recognised construction company.

Other than the highly important and much appreciated support from local companies and individuals, the organisers would also like to highlight those who will be completing this challenging ride. This event has, after all, been created to raise as much money for two equally important charities, and usually those involved have their own stories to tell.

Sad loss

Rod Frew, the guide of the ride and the only safeguard to get all the other riders across the Algarve without getting lost, sadly lost his horse Trincadeira. Also known as Trinca, his faithful mare carried him twice across the Algarve during the previous events before suddenly becoming ill last February. Twenty four hour surveillance under the watchful eye of Sue Wilson, QPA’s yard manager, with the help of well known vet Michael Dias unfortunately didn’t save Trinca’s life.

Despite fears from others that this would mean the ride would be off, Rod bravely decided to find another mount. After much searching, he found a younger version, a lovely mare named Touriga, another wine theme. Touriga has lots to learn before she can come even close to Trinca’s experience and bomb-proof personality, but Rod has been training almost daily and is confident that Touriga will get him and the others safely across the Algarve.

Rod’s wife Susan also joins the ride for the third time. Obviously both being involved makes it much more complicated to find sponsors (every rider has to individually raise 1,000 euros in order to participate). Sue will be riding her loyal dark bay mare Xammelion.

Robin Hepworth completed the last ride successfully and he and his wife Shirley loved the area so much they have sold up in the UK and are moving to Portugal this summer. Robin kindly provided the new riders with some good tips and advice on how to get around the ride safely – one of his most notable tips being that he recommends that riders bring a sheepskin seat saver, because seven hours a day in the saddle for six days guarantees sore backside!

UK riders

Local rider, Andrea Meldron from Burgau, representing QPA riding centre, has her mother coming over from the UK to look after her children so that she can take part on her beautiful black mare, Guinness.

Zoe Dickinson, one of the most faithful supporters, has completed all previous rides. Not only will she be participating again in this year’s event on her horse Bess, she is also kindly supplying four horses for riders from the UK.

The other horses for UK riders will be supplied by QPA riding stables. The staff at QPA have been busy the last few months getting a large number of horses as fit as possible.

Ten riders are flying down from the UK to ride horses they will only meet the day before the ride. Obviously as much care as possible is taken in order to provide each rider with a horse to their abilities. One lady called Alison is a novice rider but has decided to give it a go to raise money for PSP as her husband is suffering from the disease.

Besides the riders, there will also be some horses returning to the spotlight; Henry, a feisty little gelding has completed all previous rides and led most of the way. He will be participating again this year with a lucky rider. A white sturdy cob called Sally from QPA riding centre will safely carry the most nervous rider across the route. Completely bomb proof and trustworthy, she’s a great asset to the team.

Altogether this ride will be an amazing event and the organisers would appreciate more support. Donations are still needed. Come and support the Ride the Algarve Way team along the way on the various spots that are accessible without the necessity of a horse. Visit http://ridethealgarveway.blogspot.com/ for an itinerary of the route.

For more information please contact Jinny Harman: 917 563 050, Rod Frew: 282 443 284 or Nathalie Baart: 914 248 714.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]