Saddle up for a sponsored ride with a difference on Margaret!


It’s a sponsored ride but not as you know it! Hartpury’s horse simulator, Margaret, will be riding through the night next week on a money-making mission for Spinal Research.

Based on cutting edge flight simulator technology, Margaret is one of only 10 of her kind in the world and the only one of her kind in the UK. Riders of all ages and abilities can ride a Grand Prix dressage test, jump a course of show jumps and ride cross-country on the Racewood 3-day Event Simulator, as well as going for a hack.

Complete with a three-screen display and saddle, leg and rein contact pressure sensors, the simulator offers the opportunity for riders to train and be rehabilitated to a higher level than ever before in a safe and controlled environment.

Having arrived at the College and University Centre in June, Margaret is now preparing meet her public for the 24-hour sponsored ride in aid of Spinal Research to mark the official launch of the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance at Hartpury.

Olympic gold medallist and Hartpury Equine Academy elite dressage coach, Carl Hester MBE, will cheer on students, staff and riders from all disciplines - amateur and professional – as they start their ride on 9th December after he officially opens the Rider Performance Centre.

And members of the public can take advantage of this one-off opportunity to meet Margaret too, by taking up the reins for 10, 20 or 30 minutes and donating to the charity on the event’s justgiving page at

“Margaret is incredible and we can’t wait to show more people what she can do while having a lot of fun raising money for charity,” said Kathryn Nankervis, who manages the Rider Performance Centre.

“We’d love as many people as possible to join us so we can raise as much cash as possible for Spinal Research. Even if you have never sat on a horse before, you can still get involved by getting on board Hercules – a more basic simulator suitable for complete novices – who was feeling a little lonely at Hartpury until Margaret’s arrival!”

Hartpury’s Rider Performance Centre opened in September 2015. It supports riders of all levels and disciplines to enhance their athletic performance with access to specialist facilities and professional therapists.

It incorporates a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning suite, rider performance zone including the horse simulators, 3D motion capture and electromyography equipment, weight-lifting platforms and sport therapy area.

Alongside Hartpury’s Equine Therapy Centre, it gives students even more opportunities to learn classroom theory in a practical setting, including sessions with horse and rider partnerships.

Horse simulator, Margaret, provides a unique opportunity to improve rider performance. She can be used to review elements such as rider positioning, balance and rein contact. The data and visuals captured on the simulator can to be used to improve performance in a range of ways, including through coaching, self-assessment and bespoke exercise programmes. The data can also point to potential problems that could be addressed through physiotherapy. You can watch a video of her in action at

If you want to take part in the sponsored ride, join us between 4pm on Friday, 9th December and 12.30pm on Saturday, 10th December at the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance, The Equine Centre, Hartpury College.

You can keep up to date with the sponsored ride on Hartpury’s Facebook page, on Twitter @Hartpury and on Instagram.

If you are interested in hiring Margaret, you can contact

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