A WEST Cork-based woman is getting ready to travel the 500km Beara Breifne Way on horseback to raise money to complete a new barn at her therapeutic riding centre.
Sandra Schmid, who is a registered social worker and runs the Hairy Henry Therapeutic Riding Centre in Bantry, will depart on the epic trip in mid-March.
She’s hoping her adventure will generate enough funds to put the finishing touches to the barn at the centre where she teaches children and adults with additional needs, autism and mental health challenges.
She qualified for €48,000 Leader funding for the project, and has raised almost €30,000 herself over the past few years.
‘I need a further €25,000 for things like fencing, to prepare paddocks and for wheelchair accessible toilets; just to finish things off,’ said Sandra.
She founded the centre in 2013 with her horse Henry, hence the name.
‘He’s getting on a bit now so I’ll be doing the trip with his 10-year-old daughter Flora and Trudi, my four-year-old airedale terrier.’
Sandra is still working out the logistics of the trek on the trail which goes from the Beara peninsula at Dursey to the Blacklion area in the Breifne area of Co Leitrim and Cavan, following the line of the 17th century march of O’Sullivan Beare, the last great chieftain of West Cork and South Kerry.
‘I’m going to start at the Breifne end and I’ll travel homeward bound and I think it will take two to three weeks if I’m covering around 30km a day.
‘I have my accommodation arranged for the first week and after that I’m hoping things will gain momentum and I may get offers of places to stay, but I’ll also have my tent!’ she said.
She will be covering all her own costs on the journey so every cent raised will go towards the barn at the centre where she can offer services all year round, regardless of the weather.
See gofundme.com for more or to donate.