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Boost for eventing safety as $500,000 fundraising target reached

A $500,000 (£364,937) fundraising target aiming to make eventing safer in the United States has been met in less than a year.

In March 2020 United States Equestrian (USEF) national safety officer and eventer Jonathan Holling called on the eventing community to raise the sum, with the aim of increasing the number of frangible fences on course. He added that in three years, there will be “no excuse” for any fence on course than can be frangible, not to be made frangible in “some way”.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA), USEA Foundation and a group of “passionate” stakeholders have raised the money thanks to donations from USEA members and eventing enthusiasts around the country. The first part of the challenge has been achieved and the country is well on the way to the second part and with continued fundraising, it can be achieved.

“This money has gone directly to 116 different USEA-recognised events with 151 frangible tables, 53 oxers, and 34 gate/wall fences already out on course – all built with grants distributed by the USEA Foundation,” said a USEA spokesman. “The first part of the challenge has been achieved and the country is well on the way to the second part and with continued fundraising, it can be achieved.”

Mr Holling said he was “so proud” to have been a “small part” of the fundraising effort.

“The resources, effort, and money that have been put forward to increase the safety of jumps on cross-country courses has been unbelievable. When I put this challenge out there, I had no idea how it would be received,” he said.

“The fact that during this year of turmoil, heartache, and uncertainty we have been able to raise these funds should give us all restored faith in each other. Great job everyone and thanks from the bottom of my heart for helping us make it #frangiblenow.”

The fundraising was given a boost in April when it was announced the Manton Foundation, a charitable fund that donates to projects in education, arts and culture and community preservation, would offer a matching grant for every dollar raised up to $250,000 (£182,468). At the end of last year $12,000 (£8758) was needed to meet the $500,000 target, so USEF stepped in to donate the remainder.

“The team at the USEA has done a tremendous job building up their frangible technology fund over the past year. They have created new educational resources, promoted safety, and provided needed grants to ensure organisers across the country have more readily available access to frangible pin technology on their cross-country courses,” said USEF president Tom O’Mara.

“USEF is pleased to contribute the final amount necessary to help them cross the finish line and complete this fundraising campaign.”

The USEA Foundation will continue to accept donations and distribute grants to events to build frangible jumps on all USEA-recognised courses.

“The foundation is very proud to have played a role in reaching the goal of $500,000 for the frangible technology fund,” said USEA Foundation chair Dian Pitts

“Enhanced safety in our sport is a primary focus of the USEA and the USEA Foundation. We are grateful to the Manton Foundation for their matching grant and to all of the members and supporters who have generously contributed to the fund.”

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Ms Pitts added that a “special” thank you went to the members of a GoFundMe page, set up by Mr Holling, who launched the fundraiser effort last March and who asked the USEA Foundation to partner in it.

“Their continued involvement and guidance has helped develop and administer the grant program. Thank you also to USEF for believing in the program and putting the fundraising over the top,” she said.

“We are very proud to see the many frangible tables on courses throughout the country that have been built with grants from the fund.”

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