KILDARE event rider Elizabeth Hayden is championing Jonty Evans’ campaign to purchase Cooley Rorkes Drift (ISH) which has raised almost £80,000 since its launch last week.
Last week, as publicised by The Irish Field, Jonty Evans launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise public funds of £550,000 to go towards purchasing his Rio Olympic horse Cooley Rorkes Drift.
The 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse, produced carefully by Jonty since a five-year-old, is seen as a potential championship medal winner.
With huge support from the international eventing community, Jonty raised £78,407.60 in the first week of his appeal.
Elizabeth Hayden, a twice individual medallist and twice team gold for Ireland in Juniors and Young Riders, has now taken on a championing role to boost Jonty’s fundraising efforts specifically in the Irish eventing and Irish business circles.
Elizabeth has a degree in marketing and business and after a stint in the USA with Karen and David O'Connor's yard, has based herself and her team of horses in the UK this year in order to gain a more international eventing experience.
Jonty Evans said: "I am really thrilled that Elizabeth has jumped on board to help me raise much needed funds, she has a great business background and I think it’s important we make sure there is a progression plan to the podium for young talented riders like Elizabeth so it’s fantastic to work together."
Elizabeth Hayden added: “I got straight in touch with the talented Jonty when I heard about the potential sale of his winning horse. I’m Irish, I love eventing and I want Ireland to win medals at the Olympics so I’m passionate about his campaign. I’m lucky to have some great Irish business sponsors behind me and my team of horses and am negotiating with each one to see if financial support can be offered to Jonty. I can already announce that Zara’s Planet Riding Holidays have pledged €50 for every booking deposit made for the remainder of July and August which is really fantastic. I urge other Irish businesses to get involved, pledge or donate. I also am encouraging all my friends and fellow eventers to donate what they can and spreading the word around the Irish eventing community.”
In 2015 Cooley Rorkes Drift were in the Irish team that won the Nations cup final in Boekelo in Holland, they then went on to represent Ireland at Rio in the Olympics in 2016 and were one of only three horses to jump triple clear (Michael Jung and Sam Griffiths being the others), they finished 9th at Rio. They were third after a great dressage test at Badminton 2017, an unfortunate 20 penalties on the cross-country was gutting especially as they then jumped clear show jumping. Evans is on record as saying the mistakes at Badminton's cross-country phase were due to rider error.
Top New Zealand event rider Andrew Nicholson has been quoted as saying: “It's not a case of IF they win a big one - more a case of WHEN”.
Next up on the international fixtures list is the European Championships in Poland. Evans told The Irish Field last week that he knows he is on the squad but that it would be "unfair" to go unless the ownership issue is sorted out.
Zara’s Planet Riding Holidays is a specialist travel company offering horse riding holidays all over the world and working with the very best outfitters in Africa, The Americas, Europe and Asia to offer world class riding adventures.
For more information, please contact Elizabeth at 0044 7555 801640.