An ambitious fundraising programme to save the five-star competition at the Kentucky Three-Day Event has met with success and the event will now go ahead.
It was announced earlier this month that the five-star — one of only seven in the world — would be cancelled but that other events over the weekend of April 22 to 25 would take place without spectators.
Following the announcement, a fundraising campaign seeking some $US750,000 was launched. The effort garnered more than $US550,000 in donations, enough to convince organisers that the balance could be raised.
Mike Cooper, president of Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI), which produces the event, said the five-star competition would go ahead, with the assistance of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. “We are humbled and honored by the response of the eventing community as they’ve stepped up in a mind-blowing way enabling us to go forward,” Cooper said.
In the new partnership between the EEI and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, the foundation would take the lead in soliciting donations to supplement the grassroots effort, and EEI will focus its attention on running the event in an environment that is safe for all during the current worldwide pandemic.
Clay Green, Chairman of the Board of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, described the Kentucky Three-Day Event as “the lifeblood of the eventing world”.
“The Horse Park was established for the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships which gave birth to the annual Kentucky Three-Day Event whose success is responsible for the Park’s position of prominence and so much that has happened at the Park, including the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
“Seeing the number of people pleading for the event to happen this year made it very clear that we must do all we can to ensure that it does,” Green said.
While spectators are not allowed at the event, the US Equestrian Foundation will continue to monitor the effects of the pandemic to determine if a limited number of spectators can be permitted at some point closer to the event, with priority given to 2020 rolled over ticket holders. Those who paid for the 2020 event and chose to roll their money over for 2021 will have the option of full refunds or rolling their money over again for 2022, or donating it to the cause.
“We applaud and thank everyone who has contributed so far; without you there would be no Five Star this year and all of you have our utmost gratitude and appreciation,” Cooper said.