By Emily Goddard

Margaret Duprey is aiming to raise $800,000 for United States Para-equestrians after being inspired by Rebecca Hart ©Getty ImagesA sports fan is aiming to raise $800,000 (£513,000/€651,000) for United States Para-equestrian athletes hoping to compete in dressage at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Margaret Duprey, who has high performance dressage and show jumping horses and rides herself, developed an interest in Para-equestrian dressage when she began supporting Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympian Rebecca Hart.

Now she is hoping to support other athletes ahead of Rio 2016 by raising the funds through individual donations.

"I'm just a supporter and someone who thought that the high performance Para-equestrian dressage group needs funding, so I spearheaded a challenge along with the Barnfield Foundation," Duprey told

"Both of us match dollar for dollar donations as they come in and, at the last count, we had raised nearly $700,000 (£450,000/€570,000).

"We are looking for $800,000 (£513,000/€651,000) to be raised."

The money will help US riders prepare for the Paralympics by sending them on trips to Europe to experience the international competition set up, while allowing them to develop progression plans.

"The goal is to help fund training sessions, clinics and any other needs necessary for the high performance Para-riders," Duprey added.

"For example, earlier this year, Rebecca came to Europe in the spring to see the venues, her competition, and to see how she would fit in.

"It was a great and inspiring trip for her, but she had to pay for the trip herself.

"This is where these funds will be of great assistance for the riders and the growing discipline."

As for a medal at Rio 2016, Duprey believes it is not outside of the realms of reality, but she did admit there is still work to be done.

"We have to do our homework if we want to win a medal, and this is where the development programme is," she explained.

"We want to make sure that we get on the podium.

"The team we have is very young, but they had a great experience at the Alltech FEI (International Equestrian Federation) World Equestrian Games 2014 and they want to come back to Europe next year and win."

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