For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about I’ll give you a little bit of background on the story. So Jonty Evans is an Irish eventer who lives in Wiltshire (south-west England), he has been on the international eventing circuit for 20 years. His top ride at the moment is an 11 year old gelding called Cooley Rorkes Drift (stable name- Art). Due to the recent success of the pair (9th at the Olympics in Rio) the current owners have had some big offers and have decided to sell him. They have given current rider, Jonty some time to raise the money himself, he has some funding pledges made but has now turned to the public to help buy his ‘best mate’.
And this is where I’m torn. On the one hand I can’t begin to imagine how horrible it must be to think that you are about to lose your best horse and a horse that you are so very close with. Jonty has had Art since he was a five year old and has been the one to put all the hard work into his training and get him to where he is now and to lose that horse just as they’re coming into their prime must not only be frustrating but upsetting too.
However, I’m not quite sure that I agree with him asking the public to basically buy him a horse. So after the funding that he has there is £550,000 left for the public to raise. That’s a hell of a lot of money!! According to his Crowdfunding page they currently stand at £106,845.18 so £443,154.82 still to go. Jonty has also put a time pressure to help proceedings, saying that unless the owning issue has been sorted by the European Championships in Poland he will not be able to compete.
Throughout the campaign Jonty has always said that it will be great if the public are able to raise the money as Art would be the peoples horse, however if you read further down the page it explicitly says that this is not a syndicate and that Jonty will have legal ownership, so in reality although you have put money in to buy the horse you have no ownership of him. Having said that, throughout the Crowfunding page it has been stated that if insufficient funds are raised all donated money will be fully refunded.
Luckily for the eventer this story has been gaining a fair bit of attention. With fellow riders supporting him and linking the donation page through their social media. Not long ago Olympic dressage rider Carl Hester went through an almost identical story and has tweeted his support. Even the BBC have taken notice with them creating a feature about the pair and their story.
So although I don’t think I’ll be donating I do hope that Jonty raises enough to be able to keep the ride of his beloved Art. I have read and watched interviews with him and he seems like a genuinely nice person and someone who loves this horse.
But what are your thoughts? Do you think its acceptable for riders to ask the general public to help buy their horses for them?
Thanks for reading.