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July 20, 2023 3 min read

 

Guest Blog - Steph Toms

On her incredible plans for riding 5330 km across Australia to raise awareness & funds for Mental Health & Off the Track Thoroughbreds. 

Starting on the 1st August 2023, myself (Steph Toms), one of my best friends (Zsófia Homor), our two OTTB’s and one pack pony are going to set out to ride the longest self contained trek in the world, the Bicentennial National trail, covering 5330 km, and we estimate 7 months of riding.  

Our two missions for the trek are to, 

  1. to raise donations and awareness for mental health, by encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to do the hard things. 
  2. to show the versatility, hardiness and trainability of the OTTB as a breed, and to break some of the negative stigma around them.

With our horses’ welfare our top priority, we are partnering up with Equidae, who have very generously donated all the supplements and essential horse care products to the trek. We are beyond appreciative to Equidae for supporting us and our horses, their supply of electrolytes, gut supplements, hoof supplements and more will help keep the horses hydrated, healthy, strong, conditioned as well as improve their recovery on rest days.

The Equidae Botanicals HOOFblend, HYDROblend, GUTonic and Magnesium Rinse will be helping to keep our horses hooves, digestion, hydration and muscle repair in tip top shape. We will be posting regular updates with the products and honest reviews on how our horses respond to them.

We are estimating 30km per day with the horses, with every 5th/6th day off and allowing a complete 1-2 week break every few months. 

Our OTTB’s have both come through the International Thoroughbred Retirement program that's setup to find a life after racing in Australia for Hong Kong racehorses. Both of our horses came back to Australia in late 2022 to have a short spell and we adopted them through the program this year (2023.) 

Zsófia has trekked quite extensively, and has competed in the three toughest horse races in the world, including the Mongol Derby. With her love and knowledge of trekking, and our shared love of the thoroughbred when the idea to combine the two came up, we knew we needed to do this. 

Our coach and mentor, Alycia Burton, is just in the process of launching her youth charity; Freedom Youth - Which provides subsidised live-in programs and assistance for Queensland youth and young adults who are suffering from mental health issues. 

Our trek will be raising money for Freedom Youth, with 100% of the funds going to build more live-in facilities, set up more programs, put at-risk youth in front of  counsellors and support and help inspire youths and young adults to live a life on purpose.

With the countdown to the start date looming, we are prepping like crazy! Organising transport for the three horses to and from the trek, arranging frequent resupply stops in towns, resupply vehicle, building the horses fitness (and our own!), finalising the gear, packs needed, saving as much as we can, and applying for sponsorship/donations, it's certainly busy. We will be documenting the trek, posting regular updates, mini vlogs, and more on our socials leading up to and during the trek.

Website: www.freedomoffthetrack.com.au

Insta: @freedom.off.the.track

~ Steph 

 

 


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