When Sara Algotsson Ostholt, who won individual silver with Wega at the London Olympic Games, found out that she might lose the ride on her three-star mount, Mrs. Medicott, she knew she had to come up with the money.
Sweden’s Ostholt was originally meant to keep the ride on the 8-year-old Hanoverian mare (Rabino—Peppels, Prince Thatch xx) through the 2016 Olympic Games (Brazil), but owner Gerd-Hermann Horst expressed interest in selling her this summer. Despite finding a few sponsors to go in on the purchase, Ostholt couldn’t come up with enough money by the deadline set by Horst. When longtime friend Christina Lundin heard, she decided to help.
“I met Sara when I rode for the Swedish three-day eventing team 20 years ago. She was a young, up-and-coming star, and I followed her to becoming a superstar. When I heard she was going to lose Mrs. Medicott, I sat down thinking what I could do,” Lundin said.
Lundin, who now competes in dressage and works as a police officer in Falun, Sweden, started a Facebook group, “Saving Mrs. Medicott for Sara Algotsson Ostholt,” where people could donate money. Within 24 hours, the group had 12,000 members and had accumulated 7,000 euros. After two weeks, there were 56,000 members and almost 100,000 euros.
According to Lundin, between 8,000 and 10,000 people gave money, most about 10 euros each. “Maybe it says a lot about what Sara did when she won the silver in the Olympics,” Lundin said. “I love eventing. I did this for the sport because I love horses, and I know how it is to lose a friend, because that’s what your horse is. And I really think Sara can win gold next time with Mrs. Medicott!”
Ostholt, 38, was surprised and touched when she heard about the Facebook group. “It was a very, very kind and nice thing to do. Of course, I didn’t think it would reach so many people as it did. I was following it on Facebook and saw how it became more and more. It’s amazing how many want to support me,” she said.
When Ostholt told Horst about the group, he agreed to let her gather the funds. With some of her own money added, Ostholt had enough to buy the mare. “She’s always trying to do her best, and she’s very focused. She has all the qualities that a horse needs to reach the top of the sport,” said Ostholt of Mrs. Medicott. “It’s pretty amazing that not only Swedish people, but people from other countries were sending money, and I think it’s fantastic. It shows what horse people can do. [There’s] a very strong will in horse power.”