Jonty Evans’ crowd-funding campaign to secure the ride on his Rio horse has received a boost with a £150,000 donation from a private donor, but the Irish rider still needs to raise over £200,000 in the next two weeks if he is to ride at the European Eventing Championships.
H&H broke the news on 12 July that interest from buyers, particularly in America, had led to Cooley Rorkes Drift’s current owner Fiona Elliott considering selling the 11-year-old.
Jonty has secured some funding towards the horse’s purchase so he can keep the ride and decided to start a crowd-funding campaign to attempt to make up the shortfall. He is aiming to raise £500,000.
So far, he has raised £283,501.60 towards the purchase of “Art”, with a substantial £150,000 added to the total on Sunday.
“It’s a private donation and the person would then own the horse along with the crowd-fund — if the crowd-fund umbrella was called The Friends of Art or similar, the horse would be owned by this person and the Friends of Art,” Jonty told H&H.
Jonty has plans for fundraising at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe this weekend and an online auction has been launched to garner extra funds. There are 15 lots including a lesson with Badminton winner Andrew Nicholson — who Jonty previously worked for — a straw of semen from Art’s sire Courage II and a two-night stay in the Rorke’s Drift Hotel in South Africa. So far £6,030 has been raised via the auction.
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Jonty needs to raise the total by around 11 August or he will not be able to ride at the European Championships in Strzegom, Poland (17-20 August). The pair finished ninth at the Rio Olympics last year and would have serious individual medal hopes for the Europeans if they can compete.
“My preparation for Rio last year was as smooth as baby’s bottom. There was no glitch and everything worked really well,” said Jonty. “My preparation for Poland is hardly that, but of course if I get the money I’ll give my best shot. The horse feels amazing and is working really well.”