Gloucestershire

Fundraising campaign launched to buy Cooley Rorkes Drift

Jonty Evans riding Cooley Rorkes Drift Image copyright Jonty Evans
Image caption Jonty Evans came ninth at the Rio Olympic Games riding the horse

A three-day event rider has launched a fundraising campaign to buy the horse he rode at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Jonty Evans needs to raise £550,000 to buy Cooley Rorkes Drift after its owner put the horse up for sale.

Evans finished ninth in Rio, representing Ireland, and wants to compete in the European championships next month in Poland.

He said it would be "amazing" to win a medal on "the people's horse".

Mr Evans, from Andoversford in Gloucestershire, has trained and ridden the 11-year-old for the past six years.

'Heartbreaking'

The value of Cooley Rorkes Drift has risen due to its recent success and its owner now wants to sell him. Mr Evans has been given first-refusal to buy the horse.

"By virtue of the performances the horse has been very widely touted as one of the best event horses in the world, and unfortunately with that comes interest from wealthy people who can afford to buy the horse and take him away from me," he said.

He added it was "heartbreaking" to think all the "hard work could go somewhere else".

"We're a small team. We work so, so hard. We've put so much time and effort into it."

"If we could raise this money he would essentially become the people's horse," Mr Evans added.

"If he could stay with me and we could win a medal, and win it with the help of the public, it would just be amazing."

More than £80,000 has so far been raised in the first three days of the fundraising campaign.

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