Can Australia raise $200K to bring its Rio 2016 horses home?

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Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi.
Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi.

Olympic equestrian Heath Ryan is spearheading a fundraising ball to help the country’s Rio 2016 riders bring their horses home to Australia after the Games.

Horses going to the Rio Olympics in Brazil from Australia face a 60-day quarantine in the Northern Hemisphere before being allowed back to Australia, and Ryan is aiming to raise between $150,000 and $200,000 to help with the expenses faced by riders and owners.

Ryan said that selection procedures also meant that some Australian riders were required to travel to the Northern Hemisphere for final selection trials with no guarantee of team selection. “Riding at the Olympics for your country does take courage. The costs involved with some of these efforts exceeded $100,000 of privately sourced monies,” Ryan said.

“As Australians we are dedicated to keeping equestrian sports accessible to everyone. Not just the rich. The Australian Olympic team is to represent our best team as opposed to those riders who can best source funds.”

He said the Olympic Fundraiser Ball would aim to distribute up to $10,000 per horse where the intent is they will go home to Australia to continue competing.

The main thrust is through a silent auction at the Olympic Fundraiser Ball and a live auction of 10 of the bigger items. Donations are being sought and already include a new car from Sutton’s Motors & Gilbert & Roach, a new Bates saddle, a two-day private Marlin Fishing Adventure from Port Stephens, a truck load of Lucerne hay, a pallet of horse feed, a portable brush arrowhead cross country fence, 8 portable steel gates 2.1m high and 3.5m long which when put together make a portable steel yard, a truck full mechanical service, one horse painting specifically painted for the fundraising occasion, and Olympic memorabilia.

The silent auction bidding will close at 11pm on the evening of July 30 at the “black tie and boots” ball. Licensed auctioneer Andrew Hearn is the husband of dressage rider Sue Hearn, who is trialing for Rio.

The Olympic Fundraiser Ball starts at 6.30pm with champagne and canapés in the indoor school at Ryans at Heatherbrae (15 minutes from Newcastle Airport), and an opening address by Equestrian Australia chairwoman Judy Fasher.

There are 40 tables with 10 people per table at $150 per person.

Tickets are available here or by calling Cathryn on 0447008470.

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