A £1,000 prize on offer for eventers this season is another way of keeping alive the memory of talented young rider Archie Lowe.
West Wilts Equestrian Centre is supporting the Archie Life Foundation again this year, by offering the prize to the owner/rider combination who amass the most points over all three of its British Eventing fixtures this year.
“It’s just to keep Archie in the eventing world,” West Wilts owner Mandy Collins told H&H. “To keep his memory alive; I can still see him, coming up the car park.”
H&H reported in 2022 that the foundation had been set up in memory of Archie, a promising rider who had competed in dressage and showjumping, but mainly eventing including pony trials and representing the southwest region. Archie died in a rotational fall in September 2020, aged 21, and the trust was set up to support young riders and horses, as well as the air ambulance service that had tried to save his life.
The West Wilts championship is open to riders and horses who compete in any of the fixtures’ classes but it must be the same combination at each event, and the horses must be owned by the riders or their families. The aim is to give support to riders who need and will appreciate it.
“Archie was really full of life, such a nice guy, and for him it wasn’t about the winning, it was the taking part, and camaraderie, and the rest of eventing, which is why [Archie’s mother] Patty wanted help to go to people who are trying hard,” Mandy said.
The winner will also get the Archie and Manni Partnership perpetual trophy, as well as a rug and numnah. Those who come second and third will win free entry to all or one of next year’s West Wilts fixtures respectively. Prizes will be presented at the venue’s end-of-season party.
“Archie was all about being kind,” Mandy said. “We’ve got some of the clothes the foundation sells, lovely things, for sale in reception and it would be nice if people could buy them to put money in the pot to give away; Archie would have liked that.”
Archie’s stepfather Gordon Robson-Lowe, who has been managing the foundation, told H&H West Wilts was one of Archie’s favourite venues, which is why Patty wanted to have the league there.
He added that William Fox-Pitt and Sam Griffiths, who were both close to Archie, have been very supportive with the bursaries the foundation offers.
“Part of what we’ve been doing is trying to support young riders who may not have the means to achieve what they want to achieve,” he said. “People who are determined and driven, and struggling to make it work.”
He said the foundation is also looking at horses’ ability to help people with mental health issues.
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