Irish rider Jonty Evans has launched a crowdfunding website in the hopes of raising £550,000 to keep Cooley Rorkes Drift, his Rio Olympic partner he produced through the levels.
Fiona Elliott purchased “Art” at the Monart combined sale in 2010, and Jonty has competed the horse from his 6-year-old season. Now 11, the Irish Sport Horse gelding has racked up numerous top results with Jonty, including finishing ninth in Rio as the highest-placed Irish combination.
“The success that Art and I have achieved has not gone unnoticed, and there have been some huge offers made for him to be sold. His owners have a young family and I totally understand their need to accept an offer,” Jonty said.
“As you can imagine, from my point of view selling my best mate had never entered my head. It has been a horrific few months wondering if he will be sold and praying that a solution might be found.”
Jonty and Art have been selected to compete on the Irish team at the European Championships at Strzegom in September, and he is hoping to secure the £550,000 in funds ahead of the competition so they can make the trip to Poland.
“I hope and pray that people around the world will appreciate that Art and I are partners. We have come through life so far together and I hope that we can finish our journey together,” Jonty said.
“At 11 years old he is entering his prime. This year’s European Championships in Poland, Badminton, next year’s WEG in Tryon and of course the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are all potential medal events for Art and I, but only if we can stay together.”
Jonty and Art are one of the most exciting Irish combinations in the sport. Watching them in Rio, where they scored 41.8 to set a new Irish CCI4* dressage record and Jonty showered Art in hugs, and then watching them again at Badminton when they smashed their own record with a 37.2 and Jonty cried tears of joy, are moments I will never forget.
“Without any doubt, Art is my horse of a lifetime. I feel that if people will pledge to support our crowdfunding campaign then they can be a part of that journey. Previously owning an event horse has been the privilege of the wealthy. I hope that our situation gives everyone a chance to get involved,” Jonty said.
“Anybody can donate and so anybody can get involved in supporting Art’s journey. We are hoping to have T-shirts and photos printed to offer to people so that they can feel part of the family that will own Art. We hope that Art can become the People’s Horse.”
If you have ever known the joy of experiencing a partnership with a horse, please consider donating any amount to keep Jonty and Art together. We wish Jonty the best of luck in securing the funds necessary to keep his horse of a lifetime.
You can donate at www.jontyandart.com.