East Kent Ruby Ride 2017- CELEBRATING 40 YEARS -
Bookings are now open for this year’s ride, which is on Sunday April 23, 2017.
The ride will start and finish at Olantigh Park, Wye, Near Ashford, Kent. Click HERE for directions.
The East Kent Ride is the longest running, sponsored ride of its kind in the South East. Our team of dedicated volunteers pull together to ensure the ride runs smoothly for our hundreds of horse and rider combinations. The ride is routed over the North Downs, with stunning scenery and plenty of off road riding. We have riders of all capabilities enjoying the varied terrain of grass, tracks and country lanes as well as 20 optional fences for those who want to leave the ground.
The route has several sections of well maintained obstacles which have a choice of heights. The smaller option generally tends to be 1-2ft high, the larger from about 2ft6-3ft then the famous final section has larger and more challenging fences.
In recent years we have had a village market feel in the park. We already have many confirmed stalls for this year, including an equine weighbridge, a bucking bronco, fantastic catering and exclusive items for sale.
And most importantly remember that this is a sponsored ride, the more you raise the more we are able to donate to very worthy causes, this year these are Stroke Association, Kent Air Ambulance and MS Therapy Centre, Canterbury. This year we will really be encouraging the spoonsorship, in 40 years we have raised £250000.. lets keep it up into the next 40!
Minimum sponsorship of £5 is payable on the day, although we encourage you to pay your sponsorship in full on the day.
A word about East Kent Ride Charity Sponsorship
When I have done the ride in the past I have lost sight of the fact this is a ride intended to raise money for really worthy causes. I have happily paid my minimum sponsorship and ‘trotted’ out the park.
Did you know, a lot of thought is put into the charities we support each year, with them usually being very close to a land owner’s or a volunteer’s heart. This year we are supporting Stroke UK amongst other charities. This is because of my family and the year we have had. I am sharing this with you in the hope that you will ask just a few extra people for sponsorship money. We are aiming for as many people to raise 40 pounds for 40 years as possible! That’s only 4 lots of 10 pounds, or 8 lots of 5 pounds. But even an extra few pounds would make a difference.
Thank you for you continued support
Chair of Ride
My family story,
October 2nd 2016 Normal family day- my dad and I had washed up together and shared some jokes and humour- very typical in our household.
October 3rd 2016 I did morning stables and went to work for the day
That day will ring out in my mind for the rest of my life. I got a text from my Mum telling me that Dad had had a small stroke but it wasn’t very serious. Strokes weren’t even on my radar of things to worry about regarding my ageing parents, but at 29 years old suddenly everything changed. My dad has always been blessed with good health, living an active and social lifestyle.
I left work and went to the hospital. For the first time in my life I saw my dad, weakened and lying in a hospital bed, unable to open his eyes and extremely vulnerable. My Mum, our rock, speaking with doctors and trying to support us all. I remember seeing my older brother’s face as he walked in with his small son and saw my Dad lying there. I saw the tears in my sister-in-law’s eyes when she arrived. I saw my Mum holding it together for all of us. I just sat there, trying not to let the tears escape in view of them. I just kept thinking over and over “my dad, my dad, my daddy”.
October 4th 2016 we heard that he had had another stroke in the night. Did you know there are two types of stroke, a haemorrhage and a clot? I didn’t. Dad’s was a haemorrhage and a big one at that. It was in a part of his brain so deep they could not drain the blood. There was nothing medical they could do for him, it was down to nature and a waiting game. We all went back to the hospital and found that his condition had deteriorated significantly. His speech was no longer understandable, he could not swallow alone, he was unable to move and was barely conscious. My dad. It was the worst day of my life. We went home that night and my brother couldn’t even go to the pub(!), it was the saddest meal that house had ever seen, and the longest night for my mum, as she sat by the phone, anticipating the call that would break her heart. She heard Dad’s grandfather clock chime every hour that night. I really didn’t think he would make it through.
My Dad did survive and is a fighter! He has had to learn to swallow again, hold a fork again, talk again, walk again- I’ll always remember hearing the pride in my Mum’s voice the day he walked 4 steps down the ward corridor with a Zimmer frame and being held up, and hearing that the nurses and physios lined the corridor and clapped him along. He was in hospital for 6 weeks and then spent a further 5 weeks in a rehab unit. Over that time my Mum put her life on hold and visited him twice a day every single day. My brothers or I went daily between us. My brother sitting for hours just reading to my dad while he slept in his bed or lay over in his arm chair. As he had no dignity, friends were advised not to visit for some months.
We met some incredible people in hospital, staff, other patients, families. There is such sadness mixed with such hope. Dad was in the ward long enough to see many patients come and go and each time his spirits sagged as he hoped it was his turn to come home.
After nearly three months he did come home. A very special day! Although he is now struggling with the long term affects, including depression, certain disabilities especially with his left hand, and debilitating tiredness. I have watched my Dad’s determination, I have seen the changes to his life, I have watched my Mum struggle with the fear of losing her best friend, followed by realising that life will never be the same again, our gratefulness for his survival and the changes Mum has made to her life to incorporate her new role as ‘carer’. Luckily we have a sense of humour and all laugh when taps are left on, or the front door is left wide open in January…
Our family is lucky that we have had the support of each other and we have all cried a lot of tears. I struggle most days with the changes I see. Some people do not have the hope we have. The strength we have. The support we have. The luck we had. The treatment he had. Strokes are so cruel and change so much.
Stroke UK looks to raise awareness of strokes, as well as support victims and families.
So when you’re thinking about sponsorship please think about our charities and the amazing work they do and remember the essence of this ride, one of the reasons I have worked so hard this year, is to raise money for these causes.
Forty pounds for forty years! This has been pretty hard to write but if it makes a few people think of the charities and get more sponsorship then for me, it is so so worth it!