On March 30th, Jonty Evans and his long standing equine partner, Cooley Rorkes Drift completed a rather emotional para-dressage test, leaving the eventer in tears.
A master of his sport, Jonty spoke of his performance on the 2006 gelding:
“The dressage at Solihull was good, I was in danger of forgetting how well behaved he [Cooley Rorkes Drift] is in the arena. He is fantastic to ride and the feeling of connection with him or any horse is like a drug, it is what you want over and over.”
Just by looking at the results, from the two Grade 4 tests he completed on the day, it’s easy to see why he was so happy. With a 70% in the first, followed by a 67%, it comes as no surprise that it moved him to tears:
“He made me cry at the end of the first test because I knew how much he had held my hand. Years ago I said he was special and had an incredible brain, he does he is one of a kind.”
His social post reads (see below).
In what was the pairs debut para-dressage outing, another social post in March saw Jonty explaining his difficulties in coming to terms with the transition from eventing to para-dressage, only hoping he could “do the horse justice”. He has made no secret of the ongoing struggle in even his training since the accident, taking to social media on occassion to air his feelings and try to comfort others who are experiencing the same.
Jonty’s fall in 2018 left him unable to compete at the level he had worked so hard at for many years, but determined to remain in the saddle, the Gloucestershire-based rider has since emersed himself in BE100, teaching, clinics and most recently, fundraising. In April he and fellow eventer Sam Ecroyd will run the TCS London Marathon in aid of the Brain and Spine Foundation.
On asking Jonty what was next, he replied:
“I don’t make too many plans, he’s got another national class at Allenhill then possibly the home introduction at Olney and maybe the 3-star at Hartpury International? We will see! After that, who knows!!”