Popular Irish event rider Jonty Evans is in hospital in Dublin after a fall at Tattersalls yesterday (Sunday, 3 June).
Jonty and Cooley Rorkes Drift (“Art”) — the horse he secured the ride on last year by crowd-funding to raise £500,000 — were lying second after dressage and showjumping in the CIC3* at the Irish event.
But the rider fell at fence 19b, the second element of the Horse Sport Ireland Water Complex, the main water feature on the cross-country. The first part of the fence was a large drop into water, which was followed by an offset skinny brush in the water off a right-hand bend. H&H’s Tattersalls reporter Sue Polley, who saw the fall on CCTV, said that the pair appeared to be lined up for the brush, but Art caught the flag with his off fore and Jonty was pitched off his left-hand side.
A statement from the event at 9.07pm last night said: “Irish eventing rider Jonty Evans, who fell at fence 19b, the second element of the water complex in the CIC3* competition at Tattersalls International Horse Trials, was transferred to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, for further evaluation.
“Cooley Rorkes Drift was uninjured in the fall.
“Following initial evaluation in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Jonty Evans is being transferred to Beaumont Hospital for further treatment.”
The Team Ireland Equestrian Facebook page gave similar information yesterday evening, adding that Jonty “remains in a stable condition”.
A further update from Tattersalls this morning said: “Following further evaluation at Beaumont Hospital, Jonty Evans is in the neuro intensive care unit and his condition is being monitored and treated.”
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Jonty and Art first came to public attention when they finished ninth at the Rio Olympics in 2016. They followed this up with an eye-catching dressage test at Badminton the following spring, although a run-out across country put paid to a top placing.
In July that year, H&H broke the news that the partnership was under threat — interest from buyers, particularly in America, had led to the horse’s owner, Fiona Elliott, considering selling him.
Jonty had secured some funding towards the horse’s purchase and decided to start a crowd-funding campaign to attempt to make up the shortfall. He set up a website, jontyandart.com, through which people could donate.
Four weeks after H&H’s first online story, the £500,000 target was raised, helped by two lump sums of £100,000 and £150,000 being donated.
The pair have had a slightly chequered time in competition since the horse’s purchase, but fans hoped a win in The Grantham Cup CIC3* at Belton this spring marked a change of fortune. The pair were at Tattersalls for a preparation run ahead of Luhmühlen CCI4* next week, a re-route put in place after the pair were eliminated across country at Badminton.
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This week’s pony special, out 7 June, features Britain’s naughtiest ponies and how to find the dream smaller equine. We also look at the pros and cons of equine treadmills, talk to showing producer Aimee Devane and have reports from the H&H Festival of Eventing, Tattersalls Horse Trials, racing at Epsom and much more.