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Tina to climb peaks for new WindReach ponies

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Tina Nash with Gary, one of WindReach’s therapeutic ponies. She plans to climb the peaks of England’s Lake District to raise $27,500 to buy another pony (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Tina Nash is to spend 12 days climbing her way through England’s mountainous Lake District.

It’s all in the name of charity. She’s hoping people will sponsor her efforts to the tune of $27,500 – the money will be used to buy a pony for WindReach.

The Warwick charity’s therapeutic riding programme helps people with physical challenges build their physical strength, coordination and confidence.

“They currently have three horses, and they are in the midst of a big campaign to increase their herd,” said Ms Nash, who is the executive director at WindReach. “They need about three more to meet the needs in the community.”

She has named her fundraiser Peaks for Ponies. Her hope is that her arduous trek over some of Cumbria’s highest peaks will cover the estimated cost of buying, inoculating and transporting a “highly trained pony” from North America to Bermuda.

She and her husband Mark will leave Bermuda for England on July 14 and set out walking two days later.

Mark and Tina Nash on a previous hike in England (Photograph supplied)

Their agenda includes Scafell Pike which, at 3,163ft, is the highest peak in England and Helvellyn, which sits at 3,117ft.

“I want to reach as many summits in the Lake District as possible,” Ms Nash said. “Some of them are very challenging, so we have to do at least 2,500ft of climbing each day as a minimum but during the challenge, we may climb as much as 4,000ft in one day.”

She’s expecting that the trek will be made more difficult by the rain and cold temperature that is typical for the region.

“Sometimes the visibility is a challenge,” Ms Nash said. “The terrain is as well. But rain or shine, as long as it is safe, we will have to really be up there and pushing hard. I will be sharing updates and pictures on my social media and on the website.”

The couple trained by walking six to eight miles each day. They sometimes went up and down the impressive Billy Goat Hill ten times.

Warwick landmark Billy Goat Hill (Photo by Akil Simmons)

While “great for cardio” Ms Nash conceded that the Warwick beast is no match for the hills they will face in the Lake District.

“We are talking between 2,500ft and 4,000ft of ascent,” she said.

The route is not recommended for inexperienced or unfit climbers. People die every year, particularly while attempting Helvellyn’s Striding Edge, a 2,831ft narrow ridge of rock separating two steeply-sided valleys.

“Striding Edge is gnarly scary and intimidating and it is on our list of things to do,” Ms Nash said.

“I am not nervous about the physical challenge. I would just appreciate the community’s buy-in, emotionally and financially.”

Mark and Tina Nash on a previous hike in England (Photograph supplied)

A therapeutic horse can serve for 25 years. WindReach has already bought two. The plan is to fly them here from New Jersey in September along with a third that will hopefully be bought through Ms Nash’s fundraiser.

“It is cheaper to have more horses in a plane than just one,” she said. “They need to have a vet in there in case they need to be subdued. They are big animals and they could do a lot of damage at the bottom of the plane if they got out of control.

“Because we are looking for specific types of horses, they need previous experience. They have to be slow, deliberate walkers. They need a specific gait so our participants can work on their balance and coordination.”

Ms Nash has always enjoyed hiking. Her husband came into it after they married.

“I was in the hiking club in school,” she said. “I feel my most authentic self when I am outside in the mud and the rain, doing a big effort. I am not really good at sitting still for very long.”

The couple have walked in the Lake District several times, as well as other parts of England, Spain and Portugal. Their last walk was in Madeira last year.

In 2013 they raised $25,000 for Hope Academy, a girl’s school in Sierra Leone, by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. They have also raised money walking for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The Peaks for Ponies website was donated by Bermuda Timing. Visit it here: rb.gy/ra3miv. One hundred per cent of donations will go towards the purchase of a new pony. Donations can also be made directly to WindReach: www.windreachbermuda.org. Note Peaks for Ponies in the payment

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Published July 04, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated July 05, 2022 at 8:05 am)

Tina to climb peaks for new WindReach ponies

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