Pensioner rides into London from Beijing

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Megan Lewis and Zorbee III.
Megan Lewis and Zorbee III, whom she rode from the EU border to London, through Hungary, Austria, Germany, France and England. © hoof

A pensioner who has spent the past four years horse-riding from Beijing to London to connect with the Olympic Games has shown impeccable timing, arriving just days before the sporting spectacle is due to start.

Conducting the ride in stages to ensure equine welfare, Megan Lewis, 63, has ridden about 25 miles a day, spending an average of eight hours in the saddle each day. In all, seven horses were used.

Lewis, a former geography teacher in London, has several other stops to make across London, but will press on to her home in Wales – on horseback, of course.

Lewis completed her journey in style thanks to the help of hoof, the equestrian legacy project from the British Equestrian Federation.

Setting out from her official start line in Beijing shortly after the 2008 Olympic Games, Lewis completed the journey in Greenwich at the Royal Artillery Barracks, on Sunday.

Escorted by riders from The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and outriders from Mount Mascal Stables in Bexley, Lewis rode in to the magnificent parade square to scores of supporters bearing the flags of the 10 countries she travelled through during her 10,000 mile fund-raising ride, for ChallengeAid.

Megan Lewis near the Great Wall in China.
Megan Lewis near the Great Wall in China. © hoof

She was greeted by the London representative of the British Equestrian Federation, David Gadsby.

Lewis said: “This really was a team effort, and thanks to hoof, I really feel my Beijing to London leg, will leave a legacy.”

Gadsby agreed: “One of the aims of hoof is to increase participation in equestrian sport by demonstrating how accessible the sport is and Megan’s long horse ride demonstrates that whatever your age, culture or ethnicity, you can be involved in equestrianism.”

He added: “It was wonderful to be able to bring riders from across the world, the military and members of our regional hoof network, Mount Mascal Stables, together.”

Lewis presented a flag depicting the Olympic Rings, which was given to her by the Chinese Equestrian Association, to Councillor Denise Hyland, Royal Borough of Greenwich lead member for regeneration, enterprise and skills.

She said the borough would mark Lewis’s journey by installing this flag at a new Equestrian and Horticultural Skills Centre. It is being built by the borough and fitted out with funding from the British Equestrian Federation and Hadlow College to provide Greenwich residents with training and work opportunities in equine and outdoor skills such as landscaping, animal management and floristry.

Nearing the finish.
Nearing the finish of the ride. © hoof

Although in the main she rode solo, at the finish she was accompanied by Peng Wen Chao, who joined her in China and then in the UK, and Rowena Haigh who was also at the start, the finish and at various shorter stages, including Kazakhstan.

Outriders Rachel Briggs and Gina Maley from Mount Mascal Stables said it was an honour to escort Lewis at the very end of her journey. To be with her alongside the King’s Troop on their parade ground was an unforgettable experience, they said, adding that their horses were fantastic.

Seven horses were used in total during the journey, with Lewis riding Zorbee III at the finish, to represent Europe, having ridden the grey Hungarian Shagya Arab all the way from the EU border to London, through Hungary, Austria, Germany, France and England.

Representing Asia, Peng Wen Chao rode Little Bolashak, a pony stallion who journeyed from the Steppes of Kazakhstan through Russia and Ukraine and to cross the Eurasia border and was a regular back-up horse across Europe for journalists and fellow adventurous riders.

Representing the United Kingdom, Rowena Haigh rode Danaway Black Harry, a Welsh Section D, loaned by Angela Kember.

Indeed, Lewis is to continue her journey across London, visiting various hoof-supported centres in mid August, eventually reaching her home in Pumsaint, Wales.

 

More information: www.thelonghorseride.com and www.hoofride.com

Lewis was escorted to the magnificent parade square by riders from The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and outriders from Mount Mascal Stables in Bexley.
Lewis was escorted to the magnificent parade square by riders from The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, and outriders from Mount Mascal Stables in Bexley. © hoof

 

 

 

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