The entire showjumping community has been devastated by the current linked outbreaks in Spain of the neurological form of EHV-1 that has impacted horses in 10 countries in mainland Europe. Through the hard work and dedication of many in our community, progress is clearly being made towards bringing the immediate situation under control. However, many riders and owners are facing severe financial hardship due to the costs of emergency veterinary treatment for their horses during the crisis.
In order to provide support for those affected by these unforeseen and, in many cases, very substantial expenses, the EHV Relief Fund has been established. The brainchild of showjumping athletes Emile Hendrix, Peter Charles, and Frederick Goltz, the Fund has the support of the FEI, European Equestrian Federation, International Jumping Riders Club, Jumping Owners Club, and Equestrian Organisers. In addition, Riders Help Riders, the fundraising campaign set up by German event organiser and sports marketer Axel Milkau, has joined forces with the Fund. Collectively, this group have set themselves up as the Sponsors of the Fund.
The mandate of the Fund is to provide financial support to riders and owners for the legitimate veterinary expenses resulting directly from the EHV-1 outbreaks in Spain. All proceeds raised by the Fund will be applied to this mission. Any administrative or other costs of the Fund will be borne by the Sponsors.
Guidelines for the submission of funding requests will be published in due course, but the basic principle will be to:
- compile all applicable expenses;
- raise as much money as possible;
- allocate funds raised to cover the greatest percentage of the applicable expenses possible.
The Sponsors have created an oversight committee to manage distribution of the funds based on this mandate. The Sponsors are committed to full transparency and the accounts of the Fund will be published when it is wound up.
“Despite these desperately distressing times, it has been heartwarming to see in practice what we all know to be true: that in our sport, the welfare of the horse comes first, no matter the circumstance,” Frederick Goltz said. “As part of that special community ethos, we would hope that the broader showjumping community will help to bear some of the costs, particularly in an environment made all the more difficult by Covid-19.”
A total of €250,000 has already been pledged to the Fund, including monies committed by the Sponsors, other donors, and the very successful fundraising effort already undertaken by the Riders Help Riders team.
“Thank you to those who have already joined our effort and we very much hope that everyone in the showjumping community will consider helping as much as they are able,” Peter Charles said.
Questions about the Fund can be addressed to EHVRelief@FEI.org.