Gloucestershire

Jonty Evans raises £500k 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 raised £500,000 to buy the horse he rode at the Rio Olympics in 2016 after its owner put it up for sale.

Jonty Evans, from Gloucestershire, began fundraising in July to buy Cooley Rorkes Drift.

Donations poured in from around the world to keep the duo together.

Evans finished ninth in Rio, representing Ireland. He aims to compete in next month's European championships in Poland.

'Big feelings'

The target was reached just after 10:00 BST - a day before the deadline.

Evans said: "I'm a blithering wreck, I can't believe how people have helped.

"The prospect of the horse now staying here and being able to continue our partnership - it's incredible that people have made this happen.

"We've had contributions for donations from all around the world and without doubt people have taken the horse and me a bit to their hearts.

Image caption The horse will not be sold in the future, Evans has confirmed

"The horse's performances at Rio and at Badminton have shown that he is a top class horse and the rest is about the relationship and the partnership and people have really taken that to their hearts."

Evans now hopes to compete in the European championships.

"The big deal for us is prepare us for next year for Badminton and this will hopefully be a good event for us.

"Then at the end of next year, the world games in America (FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 in North Carolina) and the future - looking towards Tokyo and the Olympic games."

He added that there was "no way" Art would be sold in the future.

"Hopefully one of the big feelings around the campaign was that Art was here just into his fifth year, and he will stay here forever. He won't go anywhere."

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