Numerous Australian equestrians, and eventers in particular, now live outside of Australia in order to further their competitive careers. They, along with the wider international equestrian community, have a huge desire to support their fellow horsemen and horsewomen in Australia who may have been affected by the bushfire disaster that continues to unfold.
In support, Eventing Riders Association of Great Britain (ERA of GB) has organized fundraising efforts — an Online Auction and the Australia Day Lecture Demo Day — with proceeds to be split between three charities: Blaze Aid, a volunteer-based organization that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters; Buy a Bale, which provides feed, water, volunteers, financial assistance and other resource to Australia’s rural communities and farmers; and Equestrian Fire Relief Australia (EFRA), which was launched to support the Australian equestrian community affected by the 2019-2020 summer bush fires.
The online auction was made possible by generous donations from a number of events, brands and individuals. Its offerings include everything from tack and riding gear to training opportunities with top riders, hunting cap fees and hospitality packages at major events. The Australian saddlery brand Bates was particularly giving, having donated a saddle and associated accessories and numerous autographed items.
Leading UK events have rallied around ERA’s fundraising efforts and have pledged their support. Blenheim International Horse Trials, whose reigning champion is the Australian Chris Burton among other ties to the southern hemisphere, stepped up to the cause. The event has made a significant donation to the fundraising effort in addition to donating 40 tickets to the auction and raffle, with the aim of raising further funds.
View the online auction here.
On Australia Day 2020 (Sunday, Jan. 26) a group of celebrity riders will conduct a lecture demo event with tickets to benefit the fire relief charities. The event will take place at Lowlands Equestrian Centre, CV35 7AX Warwick, Warwickshire.
Each celebrity rider will have a 20-30 minute slot to do their own unique demo, the theme being ‘This is one of my favorite training exercises.’ Each rider will format their session in their own unique style. Some will ride themselves, some will teach one of their own student riders, and some follow celebrity guest riders as their demo riders! Celebrity riders thus far include Sam Griffiths, Chris Burton, Bill Levett, Tim Price, Paul Tapner, Piggy French and Alex Bragg.
Tickets to the event are sold out; however, Horse & Country, supported by the Cavewood Productions team, will be livestreaming the Australia Day event to a global equestrian audience. “ERA of GB is incredibly grateful to H&C, and the team giving up their time on the day,
for providing the global livestream of our Australia Day event. With such high demand for attending the event, we’re really hoping that the free livestream will help connect the global eventing community and the wider equestrian audience to our fundraising effort,” says Bruce Haskell, ERA of GB President.
H&C will show the evening performance between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. GMT free on their streaming service at horseandcountry.tv. A recording of the evening will be made available, following the event, on H&C.
Find more info about the event and make a donation here.
ABOVE & BEYOND
From individuals to brands and events, it’s wonderful to see the international equestrian community rallying to support our fellow eventers in Australia.
One such example: Blenheim International Horse Trials has had a long association with its Southern Hemisphere competitors, not only via the reigning champion Chris Burton, but also as a previous host of the Asia-Pacific Championships as a qualifier for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The event has made a significant donation to the fundraising effort in addition to donating 40 tickets to the online auction and raffle, with the aim of raising further funds.
“Eventing is such a ‘community’ sport and like members of the ERA we are keen to do what we can,” says Mandy Hervieu, Event Director. “Blenheim Horse Trials are owned by British Eventing who usually invest any event profits back into the sport for the benefit of members. British Eventing have kindly agreed to let us make a significant donation to the Equestrian Fire Relief Australia Fund, as well as tickets to our 2020 event to help further their fundraising efforts. We hope a huge sum can be raised for this urgent cause and encourage everyone to give what they can.”
“Blenheim is a truly global and fantastic event for the whole of the eventing community, and as riders we really appreciate their support and investment in our sport. We know their investment will be repaid through the loyalty of riders to this top-class event,” says Bruce Haskell, ERA President.
Bede Events, run by Australian Stuart Buntine, has provided a hospitality table for eight at the new ‘Spring Eventing Carnival’ hosted at the spectacular new Thoresby Park venue. The table will be hosted by eventing legend Lucinda Green during the Grantham Cup. Musketeer Events and Burghley Horse Trials have also pledged hospitality and membership packages to support the fundraising efforts.
Let’s all do our part to help our Australian friends. Visit the online auction, watch Australia Day live or on the live stream, and make a donation if you are able.