For 2022 we are supporting two amazing charities, The Equine Grass Sickness Fund and British Eventing Support Trust.
Multi-medal winning Ian Stark OBE FBHS is Chair of the British Eventing Support Trust (BEST) Board of Trustees. “I am absolutely delighted to be involved with this relatively new charity,” said Ian. “We have witnessed the benefit of such support within many sports, especially racing with the hugely influential Injured Jockeys Fund.
“The last two years have created added pressure on many within eventing, so it is particularly appropriate and pertinent that we are here to help our own through the difficulties of injury and mental health struggles. We are here to support our members in times of need.”
Rider support can come in the guise of assisting with recovery after an accident, or help dealing with mental health challenges. Launched in September 2021, BEST is already supported by numerous top level event riders including Great Britain’s Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal winning team of Oliver Townend, Tom McEwen and Laura Collett.
“This initiative is not just about providing financial and practical support for riders who are injured whilst training or competing, although that is a big part of it. It is about the whole picture and helping to maintain the overall safety and wellbeing of our riders,” said British Eventing Chief Executive, and BEST Trustee, Helen West.
The second official charity for this year’s event is the Equine Grass Sickness Fund (EGSF). EGSF is dedicated to supporting and advancing research into, and improving the treatment of, grass sickness – currently a staggering 80% of grass sickness cases prove fatal in Great Britain.
The disease was first seen in Scotland around 1907. Seventy-three years later the Grass Sickness Fund was established by Mrs Anne Wilson, and HRH The Princess Royal has been Patron of the Fund since 1990.
The charity supports vital research into the disease as well as the treatment of chronic cases at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. It relies entirely on contributions from the public, charitable trusts and legacies – no government funding is awarded.
Nicky Townshend, Assistant Director of Blair Castle Horse Trials, said: “Both of the charities we have chosen for this year’s event are hugely important to the equestrian world. Eventing is a high risk sport and whilst everything is done to minimise the risk, to now have BEST as a resource is fantastic.
“Grass sickness has long been a distressing illness for horse owners to deal with, and the work of EGSF is truly invaluable.
“We are delighted to support these causes and look forward to working together to raise funds and awareness for the charities.”