Eventing has always enjoyed a reputation for its close-knit community and camaraderie between riders, owners and followers of the sport.
That special bond will be underlined by a fund-raising event in Devon later this month, courtesy of The Eventing Family, which has been established to raise money for four charities associated with friends and families within the sport of eventing who are facing challenging times.
The charities set to benefit from such an impressive initiative, which is set to raise thousands of pounds, are the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Cancer Research UK and Teenage Cancer Trust and Spinal Research, with The Eventing Family’s inaugural party, which includes a live auction and takes place at Bicton Arena on Saturday, August 22.
The Eventing Family is the brainchild of eventer Aaron Miller, who was left seriously injured in May following a car crash. With the sport also rocked by other sad news — including four-star event rider Ben Hobday and 17-year-old Hannah Francis both battling cancer, and Bicton Arena manager Helen West’s mother suffering from motor neurone disease — friends rallied around Miller to support him and form a committee to create the fund-raising party.
“The last few months have been very difficult, but it has helped to be involved in something so positive and to get such good feedback and support,” Miller said.
“When something like this, which is out of your control, happens, it is good to make something worthwhile come from it. It was an idea which took shape and has now grown beyond my expectations.”
Andrew Nicholson, William Fox-Pitt, Sam Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls, Phillip Hobbs, Sharon Hunt, Lucinda Green, Nick Scholfield, Lucy Wiegersma, plus Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, are just a few of the names who have pledged prizes in support of the event. Other lots include a holiday in Salcombe, bespoke tack, designer cushions, training sessions and life membership of British Eventing.
Twiston-Davies said: “I am delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile event by donating a morning on the gallops at Grange Hill Farm. The circumstances surrounding the evening are so sad, and supporting the nominated charities is just one very small way that we can help.”
British Eventing technical advisor Andrew Fell has taken on the role as director of the committee, and is being helped by Sophie Richardson. They are spearheading the event, with additional help from West, Bicton Arena assistants Beccy Barrett and Gemma Cooke, Debbie and Alex Jackson, Miranda Collett and Lucy Johnson, along with many more.
“We have been overwhelmed with the level of support we have received,” Richardson said. “Eventing is an incredible sport where everyone pulls together, and it’s fantastic that we are receiving a huge amount of support from the racing community as well. The common denominator in all this is the horse, which pulls us all together to raise money for four fantastic charities.”
Tickets for the event have been priced at £70.16 — the price of a BE100 entry fee — and include a champagne reception, buffet dinner and live music from Joey The Lips, plus the chance to bid in the live auction. A second option to join the after-party is also available at £20 per head.
‘Slaves’ will be on sale during the evening and include West, Dani Evans, Tim Rogers and Coral Keen, who said: “It’s the least I can do to support The Eventing Family, although I am not quite sure how good a slave I will be!”
More information, including how to buy tickets and take part in the online auction, is available on www.eventingfamily.com.