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Dressage finalists support dementia research at championships

Article By: Melissa McAlees, News Editor

Horse riders from Yorkshire will be competing in a national dressage competition this month to support Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Ruth Snowden, Dave Brackpool and Coda

Ruth Snowden and Dave Brackpool placed first and third respectively at the regional finals, earning them a spot in the nationals on 28 October at Bury Farm Equestrian Centre, Bedfordshire.

The pair wanted to fundraise for the dementia research charity after seeing both of their families affected by dementia.

“My Nana was a very organised, efficient lady with an active mind and a caring personality,” said Ms Snowden, whose grandmother, June Cresswell, passed away with mixed dementia in May at the age of 90.

“She loved to dance, read and cook, but when she developed dementia and experienced memory problems, she could no longer enjoy her hobbies. She became very confused and panicky and eventually needed 24-hour care.

“It was extremely hard on all the family, seeing my Nana gradually disappear from us. Dave and I are supporting dementia research because it’s the only way to find a treatment or a way to prevent the condition. I hope that one day families won’t have to watch their loved ones disappear with dementia as we have.”

Mr Brackpool’s mother-in-law, Dorethy MacIver, is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. Formerly a teacher, the 89-year-old from Perthshire is now receiving full-time care in a care home.

He said: “This is a lady who delivered ‘Meals on Wheels’ to others even when she was well into her ‘80s. She was a pillar of her local community and very intelligent, but dementia robbed her of the ability to do even the most basic of tasks, like eating and drinking.”

Mr Brackpool has owned Coda for three years and introduced him to dressage a few years ago. The 13-year-old horse was originally bred for meat in Poland, before being saved on the way to the slaughterhouse.

Alongside the competition, Ms Snowden has also been selected to ride in a masterclass with Coda. He will be wearing saddle cloths embroidered with the Alzheimer’s Research UK logo and a bespoke browband in the charity’s colours.

The pair hope to raise at least £1,500 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which funds world class studies into dementia research, focusing on diagnosis, prevention and treatments for the condition.

Matt Clarke, regional fundraising officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We want to say a big thank you to Ruth and Dave – and of course to Coda – for helping us in the fight against dementia. In the UK, one in three people over 65 will die with some form of dementia. Only research can beat the condition and stop the heartbreak felt by so many families across the world.”

For more information and to support Ms Snowden and Mr Brackpool in the ‘My Quest National Dressage Championships’ visit:


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