THE CHEPSTOW owner of an international-winning horse who faces the prospect of losing both him and his rider unless a syndicate can be found has raised £750 since launching an appeal last week.

Jackie Budd, of Earlswood, appealed to Free Press readers to come together to co-own bay superstar Orto in a bid to raise the £5,000 needed to continue competing and covering running costs or the horse will have to be sold.

In the past seven days Mrs Budd has raised the cash through donations from seven people.

Orto and his Chepstow-based rider Sara Squires, 38, are potential UK contenders, having won a three-star competition at Bramham Park International.

Dismissed by professionals as a ‘no hoper’ and bought as a skinny seven-year-old by Jackie and Nick Budd, of Earlswood, in 2008 for their teenage son to ride in Pony Club events, Orto is on track to compete in the top level of international eventing.

Having completed Blenheim Palace International three-day event to finish this season, the prestigious four-star events at Badminton, Burghley and abroad-and even a possible call-up to national teams-beckon in 2014 and beyond.

But spiralling costs and limited prize money mean competing at the pinnacle of eventing has become increasingly expensive and now a syndicate is being hunted to keep the partnership together at the top of the sport.

Mrs Budd, a qualified riding instructor, added: “We love Orto. He came from nothing and now could be on the British teams. We want to carry on with the dream but competition fees, equipment, physio and training costs money.”

Mrs Budd has launched a crowd-funding appeal whereby people can donate between £10 and £1,000 in exchange for rewards such as a monthly newsletter and photo of Orto, a chance to watch him in training, join an event or walk the cross country course with Ms Squires.

Mrs Budd said the support shown so far is encouraging, adding:“At the moment we are 15 per cent towards our total– so quite a way still to go.”

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