Top event riders line up to help Australian equestrians affected by fires

  • The eventing world is among those pulling together to help equestrians affected by the Australian fires.

    A fundraiser set up by the Eventing Riders Association of Great Britain (ERA) sold out within 48 hours, leading to the organisation to double up on the showcase to offer both an afternoon and evening event.

    The ERA’s Australia Day features a new take on lecture/demonstrations, with a host of top names each giving a 30-minute showcase of their favourite training exercise, plus an online auction and raffle. It will be held on 26 January at Lowlands Equestrian Centre in Warwickshire.

    Riders booked so far include Sam Griffiths, Chris Burton, Bill Levett, Tim Price, Paul Tapner, Piggy French and Alex Bragg.

    “There are a lot of Australian equestrians, in particular event riders, who have found themselves not living there but we are still very much Australian, and are very much connected to the regions affected through family, friends and colleagues,” ERA vice-president Paul told H&H.

    “Every single one of us who has lived in rural Australia will have prepared for fire, but never to this scale. When you know what that does, when you are on the other side of the world, [you feel] so helpless and unable to do the things you would normally do to help your friends protect themselves and their animals.”

    He said the idea came about from conversations among many people agreeing that they wanted to do something.

    The formation of the Equestrian Fire Relief Australia Fund gave ERA a way they could ensure money raised would go to help equestrians, and so the fundraiser came about. Money will be split between EFRA, BlazeAid and BuyABale charities.

    They sold 170 tickets within 48 hours, selling out the afternoon event, which led to ERA putting on an evening session and releasing a further 170 tickets, which are also selling rapidly.

    Horse & Country, supported by the Cavewood Productions team, will be livestreaming the event — free to watch — between 5.30pm and 8.30pm on horseandcountry.tv. A recording of the evening will also be made available following the event.

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    Equestrians across the UK are also behind many other fundraisers in support.

    The Facebook group “We support Australia charity auction” has raised an estimated total of around £37,000.

    Ben Atkinson, of Atkinson Action Horses, is holding an event at Bishop Burton on 15 February to raise money for Australia’s volunteer state firefighters and WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue.

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