Who I am:
My name is Hayley Parker and I am a South African Event rider. I am 25 years old and have recently qualified to represent my country in eventing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
I am very focused, determined and resilient. After the completion of a Bachelors Degree in Econometrics from the University of Pretoria (Achieving a Golden Key Society Membership, which is a representation of the top 15% of the University’s achievers), I moved to the UK from South Africa (2014). This was in order to train towards my dream of making the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The current quarantine restrictions (5 Months) placed on South African horses, ultimately means that trying to be an international Equestrian athlete in South Africa, is very limiting. This however, did not deter me from my dream and ambitions, and I undertook the challenge, put my time and effort into my passion. My horse and I are now growing from strength to strength in my professional equestrian career in the UK.
Where I am:
I currently train with Captain Mark Phillips in the UK, and with him I hope to achieve my short, medium and long-term goals of Rio 2016, the World Equestrian Games in 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
I have won nearly all major titles in Eventing in South Africa, broken several records in the sport and am the only rider to have ever won three consecutive Junior Eventing Championship titles on the same horse. I came 8th in the u25 World Eventing Championship in 2014 after just three months of training in the UK.
There is one final event in March in Portugal, which will be the deciding factor as to whether South Africa will get an eventing ticket to Rio, or not. Although I have qualified, this is the final battle to conquer in getting to Rio. Unfortunately, there is no funding for eventing from my country for equestrian sports.
My Current Situation:
Like in eventing, this journey I have undertaken has shown to propose itself with many obstacles. My parents, family and I have all tried our best to keep this dream afloat financially, but unfortunately can’t sustain this any longer. I am so close, yet so far from this dream. I have learnt that in order to achieve great things in life, we need to focus on the little things that take us there and I truly believe that if everyone can give just a little, something great can be achieved.
My goal is to secure sponsorship/partnering with companies and individuals that will enable me to take my sporting career to the next level, and enable me to develop into a professional athlete. The support will ensure that I can get to the final qualifying event in Portugal and will enable me to pay for my training in the build up to Rio.
Your Pledge, my commitment:
Funds will go towards the event in Portugal, travel expenses, training, my horse’s upkeep and competition costs in the build up to Rio. Upon request, I will show full transparency in regards to any funding provided, and pledge that all contributions will be invested with integrity and the primary focus of professional development.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, your support is truly appreciated.