Loes Knopper, the founder of On Horses For Horses, has inspired riders around the globe to mount their trusty steeds and ride as many miles as they can to help raise money for World Horse Welfare.
Loes had been thinking about organising a charity fundraising event for horses for a long time but always put it off, but inspired by a girl canoeing across the world, she came up with the idea to ride around the world.
What is the idea behind ‘On Horses For Horses’?
On Horses For Horses is about horse riders around the world raising money for World Horse Welfare. The original aim was to get riders from as many different countries as possible to ride a combined 24,906 miles, which is the circumference of the earth. Now it’s evolved into an annual month-long event where horse owners can clock up hacking miles or organise an endurance style event.
When did you first start riding?
As a teenager growing up in Holland, my best friend, Claudia, and I would be given our pocket money at midday on a Sunday and would cycle from Eindhoven to a farm in the village of Son en Breugel, to spend all our money on renting two horses. We rode unsupervised across busy roads and parks to Eindhoven, to show off to our mothers, and then back again. It was the highlight of my life at that point… until I started noticing boys.
When did you buy Charlie?
I didn’t start riding properly again until I was 41 years old and living in Kinlochleven. When I bought Charlie he was far from the perfect pony. He napped, bit, reversed, spun and reared every time I tried to hack him out alone. He scared the living daylights out of me and it was only after two years that I managed to ride him without any stress.
Tell us about your first fundraising ride on 25 September 2011.
Nine riders spent a leisurely day riding across Airds estate and the beach in front of Castle Stalker. When we got back at the end of the day, I made everyone coffee and gave them a slab of my homemade apple pie.
How much interest have you had?
I am incredibly touched by how many people have got involved. We have had riders from 17 countries take part and have managed to raise nearly £5,000.