Jonty Evans has had a further £100,000 boost in his crowd-funding campaign to keep his Rio Olympic ride — but still has £63,000 to raise by the end of this Thursday (10 August).
The Irish Olympian started the campaign to keep Cooley Rourkes Drift (“Art”) last month after revealing the horse’s owner, Fiona Elliott, was considering selling him.
Jonty and Art finished ninth and best of the Irish eventers at Rio 2016 and 20th at this year’s Badminton.
They have been selected for the Irish eventing team for the 2017 FEI European Eventing Championships (17-20 August) in Strezgom, Poland, but they will not be able to compete unless the horse is bought to remain in Jonty’s stable by around 11 August.
“I can’t believe how much people have got behind us — they are amazing,” Jonty told H&H today (7 August).
“I have had it suggested to me by one or two riders that it is going to be a lot of pressure to ride for so many people — but I don’t see it like that, it feels like it is an honour.”
He added it would be amazing to take Art to Badminton next spring and to think that a large proportion of the crowd cheering for the horse would be his owners.
An online auction is under way to raise extra funds, with lots ranging from training days, a vetting and clothing, to exotic holidays.
A hunting trip to Ireland and a stay at a holiday house in Hawaii are set to be added to the auction today.
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Jonty added the people who have kindly made the £100,000 donation had seen his story and “totally understand” the situation and the connection between him and the horse.
Jonty and Art went “live” on Facebook this morning to make the announcement. While Art was most interested in the grass under his rider’s feet, Jonty thanked everyone who has donated.
“With your help we have managed to raise £333,400 — your response has been amazing in trying to keep Art with us and keep the dream alive as it were,” said Jonty.
“We have had some really exciting news this morning — we have had confirmation that a private individual is going to add £100,000 to the fund, so we have a new total now which is £433,400.”
By 6.30pm on Monday (7 August), that total had risen to £436,966.
He added: “I cannot thank you all enough — thank you very, very much and please keep helping us.”
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