A WIGAN horsewoman will swap the confines of her classroom for the wide open wilderness of Iceland with a charity trekking challenge.
Sian Button, from Shevington, will spend a week in the saddle and ride almost 200 kilometres this August when she takes part in the Icelandic Viking Challenge Ride, a marathon trek taking in the spectacular mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and lava fields of the remote island.
The lucky riders will travel on horseback through Iceland’s landscapes while herding around 100 wild ponies, and will camp overnight in mountain huts,
Sian, who teaches maths at Lowton High School, hopes to raise around £3,000 for the British Horse Society (BHS), which approves riding schools and campaigns for improved animal welfare standards and to end cruelty and neglect to horses.
Sian, 31, is currently going to the gym and training hard for her Icelandic adventure, but is determined to complete the gruelling trip to raise money for a charity which is very close to her heart.
She said: “I’ve never attempted anything like this before.
“I’ve done long endurance rides before and I’ve been on pony trekking holidays in the UK since I was a teenager but I’m going to be in the saddle for seven or eight hours a day for a week over terrain I can’t even imagine.
“I think it’s going to be harder than I expected, the places where we stay are really basic and it will be cold showers in most of them. It’s a really challenging ride.
“However, the scenery looks amazing.
“There are volcanic beaches, black lava fields, and I think we ride past hot sprigs at some point too.
“Having seen the pictures of it I’m really looking forward to it.”
Sian is already half way to achieving her fund-raising target, having already held a cake sale at work and a raffle to raise money.
Her pupils at Lowton High School have also been getting in on the act by texting donations to her Just Giving account.
Sian is planning several other events to raise money, including a quiz night at the Plough and Harrow pub in Shevington, a weekend of bag packing at Asda, and sponsoring a class at a show organised by Charity Farm in Wrightington, where she keeps her horse Quinty.
She is also being supported by her parents David and Angela.
She said: “My mum’s really supportive, she thinks it’s just a brilliant opportunity.
“My mum and her family were also interested in horses when they were young and she started taking me to riding lessons as a little girl.
“My dad’s actually quite scared of horses and doesn’t particularly like mine, so he thinks I’m a bit mad, and I think my pupils at school think I’m mad too.”
To sponsor Sian, visit the website www.justgiving.com/sianbutton