This month, Irish eventer Jonty Evans found himself in a predicament. His top mount, Cooley Rorkes Drift (aka “Art”), with whom he finished 9th at the Rio Olympics last year, was in danger of being sold by his owner. In a creative twist, Evans turned to his fan base, launching a crowd-funding campaign to purchase his “best mate” for himself. His owner, with whom he’s maintained a good relationship, has allowed him the time to raise the funds for the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse, and so far at press time, Evans has received almost £69,300 toward his £550,000 goal.  The question is, will it work?

According to a new blog post by the Ireland-based equestrian sports technology, data, and content company, EquiRatings, the answer to that question may be yes. By doing what they do best—letting the numbers do the talking—EquiRatings set out to prove that Cooley Rorkes Drift was a horse worth investing in in terms of his sheer talent alone (because after all, “talent attracts checkbooks“).

And, as it turns out, Art really is in a league of his own. During the last seven years (2010-2016) of international competition, only a dozen horses age 10 and under have ever achieved the same five criteria as Cooley Rorkes Drift:

  • International appearances at three-star and above
  • At least 1 appearance at four-star level
  • Maintained a dressage average of 45 penalties or lower
  • Maintained a 100% clear cross country jumping record
  • Maintained a 50% or higher clear show jumping record

Of the horses in contention, three, unsurprisingly, belong to World #1, Michel Jung: La Biosthetique Sam FBW, fischerRocana FST, and fischerTakinou. Clearly, Cooley Rorkes Drift is in good, if not exclusive company, and much of that is thanks to Evans, who has brought him along as a youngster beginning at the CCI1* level for more than five years.

So, if you’ve been holding off on opening up that checkbook for Jonty on a talent technicality, fear not. He’s got all the potential for a super career ahead of him!

If you would like to support Evan’s efforts to keep Art in his stable, visit his page: www.jontyandart.com

-Photography by Erin Gilmore.