York charity ride awaits, so long as Sophia can find a new horse

Sophia Monkman
Sophia Monkman
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SOPHIA Monkman has landed a coveted place to ride in a charity race at York racecourse on June 16. The only problem is, as yet, she has no horse to ride.

“It’s a great honour to have been chosen and the chance of a lifetime,” said Sophia.

She has been getting in some practice by riding out at Kate Walton’s yard at Middleham but unfortunately the horse she had hoped to ride on the day, Everard, is no longer available.

“He’s a jump horse and his owners decided that he really needed to have a break and he’s having the summer off. So now I’m without a horse,” said Sophia. She lives at Norton near Malton and is hoping that a local trainer may be able to find a suitable horse for her.

“I hope someone will come to my rescue and someone from Malton would be ideal as I could ride out before going to work,” she said.

Sophia, 23, was recently appointed sales and marketing manager at Thirsk racecourse. She has ridden since childhood and is a keen event rider.

“I never dreamt I would ride in a race,” said Sophia, who was encouraged to enter for the Macmillan Charity race by her former colleagues at York racecourse. The race is open to enthusiastic amateurs who must prove that they are capable of riding in the nine furlong flat race. The would-be jockeys, including Sophia, had to pass a fitness and training assessment at the Northern Racing College at Doncaster.

“We rode a mechanical horse first and then we rode a racehorse on the gallops and got an idea of how it would feel to be in a race,” said Sophia.

She is trying to get fit by swimming every morning and running in the evenings, plus going to Zumba classes.

She has also had training on a mechanical horse to work on her position.

“It’s taken over my life and I’m really enjoying it. It’s made my realise how fit a professional jockey has to be,” said Sophia.

She has also been busy raising money as all the jockeys taking part must each raise a minimum of £2,500 in sponsorship which will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Now all Sophia needs is the backing of an owner and trainer willing to lend her a horse for this good cause. “I’d like to get to know the horse and get racing fit by riding out. And having got this far, I really hope I can be in the line-up on the day.”

To contact Sophia call 01845 522276. To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Sophia-Monkman.

Do you have any concerns about riding close to wind turbines? As they become increasingly common, the British Horse Society is keen to find out if riders and carriage drivers have any worries about the safety of themselves and their horses in the vicinity of turbines.

The BHS has set up a questionnaire which it hopes will provide evidence which could be used in responding to proposed turbine developments. You can complete the survey at www.bhs.org.uk.