The showjumping community has united to create a relief fund to support those severely impacted by the EHV-1 outbreak in Spain.
A total of 18 horses have died and more than 150 were affected in the outbreak, described by the FEI as the most serious in Europe for decades. Many riders and owners have been left facing financial hardship because of substantial and unforeseen bills for emergency veterinary treatment.
The relief fund is offering to provide direct support to these individuals to help pay legitimate veterinary expenses related to the outbreak.
The fund has been set up by the FEI, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), the International Jumping Riders Club, the Jumping Owners Club, Equestrian Organisers Group along with international riders Emile Hendrix, Peter Charles and Frederick Goltz. It has also joined forces with Riders Help Riders, a fundraising campaign already established by German event organiser and sports marketer Axel Milkau.
“A group of us wanted to set this up as it’s something that could have happened to any of us,” Peter told H&H.
“People walked into a nightmare situation and I believe we all have a duty of care to help our fellow riders, grooms, owners and professionals.
“We can’t replace horses or even begin to make up for what they have been through but if people can make a small donation, it will let them know that they have support behind them.”
Peter added that the combination of the pandemic and EHV-1 meant some riders and owners have been facing “unprecedented circumstances”.
“The welfare of the horses is paramount and there is no doubt that in some situations, money is now very tight,” he said. “Hopefully if we can lift some of the financial burden, it will provide some relief.”
Frederick Goltz added: “Despite these desperately distressing times, it has been heartwarming to see in practice what we all know to be true: that in our sport, the welfare of the horse comes first, no matter the circumstance.
“As part of that special community ethos, we would hope that the broader showjumping community will help to bear some of the costs, particularly in an environment made all the more difficult by Covid-19.”
So far €250,000 (£213,000) has been committed to the fund from the sponsors, other donors and fundraising efforts already undertaken by the Riders Help Riders team.
In an update today (1 March) the FEI confirmed four horses had died from the neurological form of EHV-1 in
“The loss of the World Cup finals for a second year is particularly devastating, especially for the qualified athletes”
Donations to the fund can be made via the following bank account, which has been set up through the FEI:
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise
Place St-François 14
1003 Lausanne – Switzerland
Account holder: Federation Equestre Internationale
IBAN: CH72 0076 7000 E536 6418 5
Account: E 5366.41.85 EUR
Any questions about the effort can be directed to: EHVRelief@FEI.org
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