Sunday 9th of August 2020

Jonty Evans: “Time will not allow us to challenge in Poland”

After a gruelling few weeks campaigning to save Cooley Rorkes Drift from being sold, we have today received news from Jonty Evans that he will not be heading to Poland to challenge at the Eventing Europeans.

Jonty Evans and COOLEY RORKES DRIFT – Cross Country – Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Gloucestershire, May 2017

“I am astonished, humbled and so so grateful to every single person who has donated either financially or with time, effort and support to our successful bid to secure Art’s future with us.  As I’m sure you can imagine. I now have the longest thank you list in history.

My immediate concern has been over the European Championships, the outcome of the campaign has been successful, that was to secure Art’s future and allow us to compete at the biggest competitions on a global scale, but unfortunately, however much Art and I want to go and challenge in Poland, time will not allow.  The physical issue of paying for him is complex and will not be completed in time.

I have spoken at length with Sally Corscadden, our High Performance Director, and she agrees that our preparation has been hampered due to the extreme efforts we had to go to in securing Art.  I feel concerned that I might be seen to be letting my team mates down, but I have to look at the bigger picture, Art’s welfare and the impact on those around me.  We have staged an exhausting campaign and are somewhat shocked that we have succeeded. In everyone’s interest I feel that the best course of action is to take a little time to get used to things, to communicate with people and to plan what we do.

Sally Corscadden of Team Ireland,

“On behalf of Team Ireland Equestrian we would like to thank all the amazing people who have given so generously to keep Jonty and Art together.  They are a fantastic combination who have already made Ireland proud with their performance in Rio. It is inspiring to know that Jonty and Art are now secured for future teams and can aim for Tokyo.  With this in mind we have agreed that the best course of action is not for them to travel to Poland, but to complete the deal to secure Art,  and put in place the best plan to qualify for WEG 2018.”

We have to look at the big picture and always respect what is best for the horse.  We have lots of ideas of how this will work as we go forwards.  It is going to be fun trying to involve everyone who has helped – we are going to create a huge family around Art, both he and I are very lucky.

Fiona Elliott and Ann Nobbs who have owned Art have been supportive in affording me the time to secure his future.  It has been a long and sometimes tricky procedure and their support throughout both this and Art’s career is something we will continue to be grateful for.  During the process Kate Rocher-Smith of Dassett Eventing has assisted in every way possible, and I would like to thank her for facilitating so well something that could have become very difficult.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to the team that has organised the successful campaign – we had over 6700 individuals donate – the people who donated the auction lots, the media who supported our efforts and of course my long suffering family who are always there for me.  I will one way or another thank everyone, but it might take me some time.”

Jonty Evans

We know great things lie ahead for Jonty & Art, and however tough a decision, albeit unsurprising with the preparation required that this has been to make, we look forward to following this talented partnership.



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