Cape Town - A group of animal lovers are preparing to take on a gruelling challenge in support of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Horse Care Unit.
They will compete in the Trans Baviaans mountain bike race, which is known as the “toughest single stage race in the world”, as cyclists have 24 hours to complete the route.
The six-member team, which is divided into two groups of three, namely Team SPCA Bucking Broncos and Team SPCA Jolly Jockeys, will cycle 230km from Willowmore to Jeffreys Bay on August 20.
One of the riders, Karlien Scholtz, said they are animal enthusiasts and are against any form of abuse or neglect.
“We chose to help the SPCA’s Horse Care Unit because rehabilitating horses is costly and some of these animals’ recovery takes a long time,” she said.
Members of the two teams admitted that when someone in their group suggests an event, they are obliged without hesitation because of their fear of missing out.
Scholtz said they ride for the fun of it and to keep fit, rather than chasing medals.
“We’re asking other animal lovers and riders for support, to help us meet our fund-raising target for the horses. They cannot take care of themselves and we believe we can make an impact on helping with the healing of animals, even if in a small way.
“For most of us, mountain biking gives us a bit of an adrenalin rush. We love the freedom of cycling off-road, where you need to stay focused on what is ahead of you and it definitely helps with stress relief,” she added.
Chief inspector of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Jaco Pieterse said it is heart-warming to see that there are people who will go out of their way to help animals in need.
“This is a brilliant idea and we commend these athletes for their care and compassion for animals. This group of athletes are doing what they love, but at the same time they are raising funds for abused horses,” he said.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Horse Care Unit rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes horses and other equines and also treats minor ailments of owned horses. The unit has been a safe haven for more than 70 equines over the past year.
Pieterse added that they rely on public donations to sustain the services they offer.
“Without the ongoing support of the public, we will not be able to help animals. Events like these have potential to raise a lot of money, which in turn will result in a lot of animals being assisted,” he said.