Tokyo 2020 Hopeful Funds Dream with Book Launch
Multi medal-winning Finnish equestrian, Pauliina (Polly) Swindells, is hoping to fund her dream of competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics from her ‘Kickstarter’ book launch.
Polly has written and launched a wacky, semi-autobiographical kids book about Ferro S, her competition horse.
The book – which is available in English and Finnish – tells the story of a horse that qualifies for the Olympics but has no means of travelling from his home on the moon to the Japanese capital. With the help of Great Aunt Sharon, Elliot the Dog, Swindler James and an army of knitting platypus, Ferro S tries DIY spaceships, slingshots and Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Elevator to reach his destination. But his hopes are dashed each time.
The book is about my horse Ferro S. Despite qualifying he finds himself unable to travel and has to turn to the ingenuity and good will of the people, or rather the aliens, around him. I hope parents and kids alike will get a kick out of a story that – despite zero gravity archery, moon-puns and two headed martians – is somehow rooted in reality. If nothing else it’s an odd tribute to the people who help me day in, day out!”
Polly is married to Yorkshireman James and works as a stablehand near Lingfield in Surrey. She did qualify for Rio 2016 but had to withdraw after a breaking her back on-the-job. She currently gets some financial relief via sponsors and the Finnish Equestrian Federation but not enough to cover the immense travel, competition, vet, livery and overnight costs for her and a team of close friends and family that help out on-the-road.
The book started to come together when I found myself writing frustrated little notes and drawing doodles on a notepad. I guess it was me letting out my anger. The perception is that I compete in a rich person’s sport but in fact many athletes struggle to make ends meet in Equestrian.”