As leading riders created colorful cocktails and thrilled the crowds at the Celebrity Bartender Showdown at the American Eventing Championships, the last dollars came in to help buy drinks for donkeys.
Not alcoholic drinks, of course, but water. Five water troughs are being built in a drought-prone area of Ethiopia, and will provide enough water for some 340 working equines at each filling.
The “Buy a Donkey a Drink” summer fundraising campaign by Brooke USA raised more than $100,000 and will ensure lifetime access to water for 81,000 livestock animals, including 13,500 horses, donkeys and mules in the Shala Woreda district of Ethiopia.
As well as the Celebrity Bartender Showdown, a silent auction was also held at the the Tryon International Equestrian Center during the American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover.
Brooke USA Ambassadors and Team USA Eventing members Boyd Martin and Lauren Kieffer were joined by Bobby Costello, Allison Springer, and Lynn Symansky, as well as Brooke USA Board Member Jim Wolf, as the celebrity bartenders throughout the evening. They concocted cocktails and raised awareness for the campaign. In addition to this event, pushcarts selling beverages to benefit Brooke USA continued the awareness and fundraising throughout the Tryon Fall Series.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who donated to this campaign,” said Brooke USA Chairman, Dr. David Jones. “In addition I would like to thank Mark and Katherine Bellissimo for all of their help with this important project.”
Each trough will allow as many as 340 horses, donkeys and mules to quench their thirst with each filling, as well as allowing other livestock such as cattle and camels to drink.
The project also includes training and facilitating “water committees” among the animal owners in the target area who will be responsible for the day-to-day operation and management of the water supply service.
These water committees have an important role in ensuring that the equines are properly benefiting from the water troughs. The project will also train the committee members on equine welfare so they can disseminate information and educate other equine owners and users coming to the water troughs on equine welfare issues.
In Ethiopia, which is plagued by both drought and extreme poverty, working equines are a lifeline for their owners. They are crucial to carrying out backbreaking household chores, plowing fields, taking goods to market, earning extra money so families can pay school fees for their children and to purchase food, clothing and medicine.
The animals haul construction materials, carry food and water to other livestock, transport relief supplies during natural disasters and much, much more, all of which contribute to the health and financial stability of individuals, families and communities. Unfortunately, these equines are suffering from a myriad of problems that are exacerbated by chronic dehydration.
Visit the Brooke USA Shop to help animals in need.