Equestrian dare to bare

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Members of De Montfort Students’ Union’s Equestrian team have once again dared to bare in the name of charity.

As part of their annual naked calendar – and in the biting cold of late October – they shed their clothes to raise money for the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), a charity that helps people with disabilities and learning difficulties through a form of therapy called hippotherapy.

Hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input.

The RDA is a charity that the team's members have a close association with and is one that is extremely close to their hearts.

Society chair Clare Wilyman, a third-year Business Management student, explained: “It’s for the Riding for the Disabled Association, which we volunteer for twice a week at the minute.

“It’s open to anyone, kids, adults or families, with disabilities. It really helps them with coordination and it’s another activity that they can get involved in.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to raise a lot of money for them as well as just volunteering. We really pride ourselves on doing as much as we can for charity.”

Captain Georgia Aston, also in her third year and studying English Literature, said: “As we are a society that engage with horses, and actively ride horses, I think that it’s a charity that’s close to Equestrian’s heart, and as a society we do all we can to raise money for the association.”

Shooting for the calendar took place in chilling conditions at the society’s training yard, Witham Villa, in Cosby, and Georgia said that it although it was slightly daunting to begin with, it eventually helped to bring the society’s members closer together.

She said:  “We turned up really early in the morning – a cold, really cold morning. I think there were about 20 girls who took part in it, and there was a plan for each individual shot.

“It was really nerve-racking at the start, as you’re surrounded by people, just sat there in your pants.

“It’s quite awkward, but like a bonding thing almost. Once you’ve seen someone in their pants and not much else, you see a totally different side to them.

“It was a good day to get to know some of our newer members, in a slightly strange way.”

Clare said that despite Georgia’s early reservations, not everyone taking part was as inhibited.

She said: “Everyone was really brave, and there were a couple of people that were just like ‘Yep, cool, ready.’”

The calendar was launched on November 23 in the Lobby, with over 40 people attending, including members of DSU football, who have been supporting the fundraising.

Georgia said that the various sports clubs and societies within the students’ union community often pull together to support charity campaigns.

She said: “Football and rugby take part in Movember and we’ve made a donation as a society to both of their Movember funds.

“We kind of club together as sports teams, try and support each other, and hope that we are supported back with our fundraising.”

Calendars, sure to make a great Christmas present, are on sale now, costing £6. They are available from the students’ union shop, DSU sports office, the girls themselves or by contacting them here on Facebook or Twitter.

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