British dressage rider Laura Bechtolsheimer will crank up her stirrups a few notches for a horse race at the Goodwood Estate to benefit the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The Celebrity Ladies’ Race, to be run over 6 furlongs, will take place Thursday, July 28 during Glorious Goodwood’s five-day festival in West Sussex, England, July 26-30. The goal is to raise more than $650,000.
Other riders invited to participate include polo player Clare Milford Haven, Radio One DJ Sara Cox, model Edie Campbell, and racing driver and wife of Pink Floyd’s drummer, Annette Mason. Even the horses in the race will all be fillies and mares.
When Bechtolsheimer, who is currently ranked second in the FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking, received an invitation to participate from Lord March, the triple silver medalist from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games didn’t hesitate to agree.
“It’s a really great idea, so I rang his office straight away and agreed,” she told The Telegraph.
While she may be a superstar in dressage, she admits to knowing nothing about racing.
“I have friends in the racing world who will be able to give me a few tips, but that’s about it. I’m going to have to do a lot of homework,” she said.
Bechtolsheimer says that while riding the shorter, finer-boned Thoroughbreds will be an adjustment, the greater change will come from the difference in tack.
“The tack, such as the shorter stirrups and very different saddle, will also take some getting used to. It’s all quite a new experience, a huge shock to the system, and I probably won’t be able to walk the next day,” she said.
The riders are not the only high-profile females volunteering their time at this chic event. Famous designers Amanda Wakeley, Jasmine Guinness and the Duchess of Cambridge’s favorite designer, Daniella Issa Helayel, have agreed to design the racing silks for the fundraiser.