Koalas, kangaroos and a few Steve Irwins – not to mention an Olympic eventer on a miracle cob – joined forces to raise nearly £17,000 for the Australian equestrian community.
Three rings at Somerford Park were packed from 8.30am to after 4.30pm on 26 January, for the Horses for Hope GB fundraising event.
Danielle Mullen said the overwhelming atmosphere at the show, organised in three weeks to support the equestrian community devastated by bushfires, was “almost like a carnival”.
“It was so friendly and supportive; not the intense feel you can get at shows,” she told H&H. “There was a very high standard of riding but it was all about having fun, as well as raising money.
“The costumes were brilliant; we had crocodiles, koalas, kangaroos – some horses as kangaroos and some riders – people with their faces and horses painted, green and gold plaited into horses’ manes. It was fabulous.”
One of the highlights of the day, apart from a raffle offering prizes such as Dubarry boots, tack and lessons with top riders, was Dutch Olympian Andrew Heffernan, who is based at Somerford, riding an intro test on Blue.
The heavyweight cob had made a “miracle” comeback from colic and peritonitis, and his owner Mairead Martin and Andrew raised over £2,500 through his test alone.
“Andrew was such a good sport and that little cob was fantastic,” Danielle said. “There was a huge crowd for them and when they finished, they were all cheering and whooping, and little Blue the cob just stood there, like ‘I’m fine with this’. It was brilliant.”
Danielle said the total raised so far, £16, 731.17, is likely to rise as the organisers plan to sell branded Horses for Hope GB clothing in aid of the funds.
‘We need these messages to help ease hearts bursting with grief and to help us feel we are alive, and
‘This is what we do, we take action and we help horses, wherever they are and for whatever reason they
“It’s amazing,” she said. “The horse community does this so well, it’s humbling. Everyone, from H&H, to the likes of Dubarry, to local companies, professional riders, our fabulous volunteers – the support has blown us away.”
All money raised will be divided between the Equestrian Fire Relief Fund, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and The WWF Australia Bushfire Emergency fund
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