British breeding comes together to support mental health in Matthew Wright’s memory

  • The British breeding community has come together to raise funds for the mental health initiative Riders Minds, in memory of one of its founders, eventer Matthew Wright.

    Matthew, who was open about his mental health struggles, died last month, and was well known in breeding circles as he stood three stallions at his Caunton Manor Stud, in partnership with his wife Victoria.

    A silent auction of stallion nominations has been set up by British Breeding’s Sacha Shaw, assisted by fellow stallion owners Hannah Thomas and Nicola Dyson. The auction, which ends today (20 March) has already raised £10,000 in bids for the charity.

    Owners have rallied to offer the services of stallions across all disciplines, with almost 40 to choose from.

    “Hannah sent me a message when we heard about Matthew passing away, saying it would be really nice to do something to raise funds for Riders Minds and continue to get the message out there that there is somewhere you can contact for support if you have mental health concerns,” Sacha told H&H.

    “We thought a stallion nominations auction fitted in quite well as we are all breeders and it also offered an opportunity to promote British-based stallions.”

    The stallions’ semen available in the auction includes world number one eventing stallion Grafenstoltz, showjumping stallions including Kannan, Carl Hester’s dressage stallion U-Genius, international pony dressage stallion Rembrandt and showing and native stallions.

    “One of the stallions to attract the most bids so far has been (Irish draught) Avanti Amorous Archie — he’s booked out this year so it’s the only chance to use him, which has made it really competitive,” Sacha said.

    “We have breeders offering natural coverings, chilled and frozen semen, so there really is something for everyone.”

    The auction is being hosted by Sacha at the British Breeding website with bids by email. More information can also be found on the auction’s Facebook page.

    The British Hanoverian Horse Society (BHHS) is also hosting an online auction of stallion nominations, alongside other lots, in aid of Riders’ Minds. The auction opens today (20 March) on Jumblebee and will run for one week, closing at 9pm on Saturday, 27 March.

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    “When we heard the sad news about Matthew, the committee decided we’d like to hold an auction to raise money for Riders’ Minds, and all the lots have come from BHHS members,” BHHS studbook manager Kate Eaton said. “Victoria has a licenced Hanoverian stallion, Dankeschön, and the stud is local to the BHHS office, so we really wanted to show our support.”

    One of the first lots donated was a painting of Totilas by artist Mari Wilson and there are also photography shoots from Jess Photography and Claire Lowe. Stallions available include Flammengold, Don Ricoss, Fontainebleau, Amiro Z, Dream On and GF Deville.

    Riders Minds spokesman Liz Daniels said: “The amount raised so far through the auction is incredible and we are so grateful. Riders Minds seeks to give support and create a more open, compassionate atmosphere surrounding mental health in the equestrian sector. The funds will allow us to continue to develop the services we offer and increase the number of people we can reach and support.”

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