Africa beckons Britain’s “golden girl” Charlotte Dujardin for equine charity trip

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Charlotte Dujardin meets one of the locals, named "Brooke" on her trip to India.
Charlotte Dujardin meets one of the locals, named “Brooke”, in India in 2015. © Freya Dowson / The Brooke

Update October 24: The Brooke trip to Ethiopia has been cancelled because of security concerns, on the advice of Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

British Olympic gold dressage medalist Charlotte Dujardin is to take her second trip abroad later this month to see the work of international working equine charity Brooke.

Dujardin will travel to Ethiopia with fellow elite dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer in her role as global ambassador for Brooke.

With about nine million horses, donkeys and mules, Ethiopia has the third largest equine population in the world. These animals play a crucial role in the national economy but live under harsh conditions with a life expectancy of just a third of such animals in the western world.

The trip will be the second time the pair have seen Brooke’s work, after visiting the charity’s programme in India in October 2015. There they met women’s equine welfare groups, saw busy markets in New Delhi, dusty brick kilns and thousands of horses, donkeys and mules being bought and sold at an equine fair.

“My first trip with Brooke to see the work in India was an eye opening experience for me,” Dujardin said.

“It was a rollercoaster of emotions, seeing the sheer scale of welfare issues and the level of suffering alongside the incredible achievements of Brooke’s teams to improve the lives of horses, donkeys and mules.”

Charlotte Dujardin during her trip to India in 2015.
Charlotte Dujardin during her trip to India in 2015. © Freya Dowson / The Brooke

On the trip from October 24 to 30, Dujardin and Oppenheimer will meet urban gharry horses, who work day in, day out as town taxis. They are a particularly stark example of the suffering Brooke is working to prevent. They will see first-hand the difference that Brooke is making, meeting the passionate Brooke Ethiopia field staff, trained local vets, farriers and harness makers who are working hard with local communities and service providers to bring about long term change.

Dujardin became Brooke’s global ambassador in February 2015, and as well as raising vital funds for them, has been supporting the charity at events and with campaigns. This year she has supported Brooke’s How The Other Horse Lives campaign, and My Hackathon, a fundraising activity for equestrians across the UK.

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