Cooley Rorkes Drift AKA 'Art' has been produced by Jonty Evans since he was 5 years old. Together they finished ninth and the best of the Irish riders at the Rio Olympics last year.
Now 11, and coming in to his prime Art might get taken away from him. Jonty is launching a crowdfunding website www.jontyandart.com to help raise several hundred thousand pounds needed to keep Art in his care.
Art is currently owned by Fiona Elliott and her mother Ann Nobbs. Jonty was asked to ride Art when Fiona started a family, initially for just a year, and he considers himself lucky to have continued riding him.
However, as Art's talent has begun to shine on the world stage it was inevitable that 'interest' in him has come from other countries...
Jonty describes Art as inspirational - a talented horse with so much ability.
"The horse that I feel at one with, my partner, my best friend. He wouldn’t let me down, and I will try everything I can to not let him down. I need people’s help."
“Owning an event horse has always been the privilege of the wealthy, but I hope it might appeal to people to get involved. 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, and I know it’s a huge if, 5,000 people around the world could see their way to donating £100 each, we could afford to buy him — and the beauty of the plan is that, he would never again be under threat of being sold. This is a one-off thing and if we can buy him once then he and I can stay together for good.”
Writing on social media Jonty adds
'...the response so far has blown me away - you are a truly amazing bunch of people - just imagine if we can make this work!? Art will be "The Peoples Horse" - just imagine if then we could win something big - just imagine the party!! Thank you all so much for your support so far - it is a long road ahead, but maybe, just maybe .........!! the website will be live by Thursday evening at 18.00hrs it will be on www.jontyandart.com ...'