‘He would be thrilled’: bursary in memory of young rider killed in fall will help others follow their dreams

  • The mother of a young rider whose legacy will help other aspiring eventers achieve their dreams believes he would be delighted to see what is being done in his memory.

    The Archie Foundation was set up to support young riders and horses, as well as the air ambulance that tried so hard to save Archie Lowe but was unsuccessful.

    Archie, a promising rider who had competed in dressage and showjumping, but mainly eventing including pony trials and representing the southwest region, died in a rotational fall in September 2020, aged 21.

    Archie’s mother Patty told H&H Archie had always loved “everyone and everything”, but riding and horses the most. He and Manni, who Archie “believed could be the best pony in the world”, started eventing, taking on pony trials and junior team trials.

    “Everyone used to call Manni the cow, because he was piebald,” Patty said. “Archie was never fazed when things didn’t go quite as planned and always delighted with the result – no matter what it was, although it was usually extraordinarily good. ‘I’m here to show how wonderful my pony is, Mum, not to win’.”

    Just before he took his A levels, and while he was trialling for a junior British team place, Archie’s horse Mack had a rotational fall and Archie broke his arm and shoulder. The gap year’s eventing he had planned was cancelled and he instead went to the University of Bristol to study maths and economics. After he graduated, he decided to take his delayed gap year, continuing at the racing yard at which he had worked weekends during his course, riding, spending time with family and friends.

    The coroner found no one was to blame for the “inexplicable accident” on 8 September.

    “It’s the worst pain one can ever experience,” Patty said.

    “It wakes you up every morning. There isn’t a moment of waking up and orientating. It’s there the very second waking consciousness emerges. It’s in your dreams. It’s all consuming – it devours every long moment of the day and rears its head throughout the night.

    “At 9:04am on 8 September 2020, my world ended. Everything I knew and loved about life was blown apart by the PTSD image which will always reside firmly in my head.”

    Family friends persuaded Patty to publish a cookery book (reviewed here by H&H), of the recipes Archie had inspired and she had created over the past 15 years. Archie was also an accomplished photographer, who had taken pictures of the finished dishes, published on the Dorset Kitchen website. The 1,000 copies printed sold in under six weeks, and another 1,000 have just been produced. Money raised will be split between the air ambulance, and a bursary for young riders.

    Patty explained that William Fox-Pitt and Sam Griffiths, both friends of the family, approached the family to see what they could do, and the training scheme was born. The beneficiaries of the Archie & Manni bursary will have a year’s training with William, Sam and Sarah Bullen.

    Patty said the idea is to carry the scheme on every year, for young male riders who have a special bond with their horses.

    “William said boys can have trouble as they’re ‘supposed’ to be playing rugby or football and there aren’t many eventing; it’s seen as a girls’ sport,” she said. “It never bothered Archie but I know he was slightly bullied at school for it, and people I’ve spoken to have said how nice it is to give the boys some help, and someone to look up to.

    “What we really want is a partnership. We’ve also done something with the Pony Club, a trophy for his branch, and rather than reward the child who wins everything on an expensive pony, we want to help people who are putting their all into it, like Archie did, but without necessarily the funding they need.”

    Patty said seven boys have been chosen for the first year of the scheme, and she hopes as well as the training, they will benefit from building a relationship and camaraderie with like-minded riders.

    “I think Archie would be thrilled by this,” she said. “The last event we did was West Wilts and when we were finishing up, a woman came over. She said she’d never met Archie but she was really nervous before the cross-country. She said ‘You talked to me and said it’s all about having a good time; go and enjoy yourself and spending time with your horse’. She said ‘You’ve changed my life’, and that’s kind of how people saw him. He was really loved, and he loved everyone.”

    The cookery book is available from A Dorset Kitchen, and other fundraising events including a dog-walk are planned to fund the foundation.

    William told H&H: “Archie was a young man who caught my eye from a very early age. He used to come and visit the yard and his knowledge and enthusiasm was infectious. He stayed in touch growing up and developed into the most wonderful, empathetic and talented rider.

    “His tragic fall was beyond belief and I am so thrilled to be able to support Patty and the family in any way I can and keep the memory of this exceptional young man at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

    “The Archie Lowe bursary will hopefully give a like-minded talented boy a great opportunity of support from Sarah Bullen, Sorrel Warwick, Patty and Archie’s family and the team at Wood Lane Stables.

    “I am really looking forward to working with everyone to develop the bursary moving forward.”

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