First-World FEI Dressage Horse Helps Third-World Working Horses.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In South Florida, FEI dressage horse, Nimos, settles comfortably into his spacious stall for the night. A deep bed of dry shavings, a bucket of clean fresh water and the best hay will see him through the night. Tomorrow he will have the best grain and nutritional supplements. Nimos knows that since he did so well in the CDI on the weekend he will have a couple of days rest and relaxation, with some time out in the pasture, a few extra carrots, perhaps an apple or two.  A world away in Pakistan another horse, Saheli, collapses to her knees exhausted and malnourished. Saheli tries to get up, she wants to do her work but she is too exhausted and too weak. Her owner Qurban Ali is desperate.

He relies on Saheli to earn a living and support his family but more and more often she collapses in the street and cannot get to her feet unaided.  But this day Saheli is lucky. With help Qurban Ali and others get her to a Brooke field clinic.

Here she receives help and nutrition and most importantly Qurban Ali receives advice on how to look after her and ensure she is able to continue working in good health. He regrets what has happened. “I am so sorry for not taking proper care of my animal who earns a livelihood for my family. My lack of knowledge might have killed my animal". This story of Saheli is not fiction. It is fact. Saheli’s story and many others like it are documented on the Brooke website.

It is through the Brooke that Nimos, the dressage horse living in luxury in Florida, can help Saheli, the working horse in Pakistan.  Nimos is currently for sale and when he is sold a percentage of the proceeds will go the support the work of the Brooke. Founded in 1934 the Brooke has become the world’s biggest welfare charity for working equines. Working in nine countries in Asia, Africa, Central America and the Middle East, their motto is: “healthy working animals for the world’s poorest communities.”

With the current global economic crisis the pressure on the working poor in the developing world will only increase. More than ever they will rely on their animals. There are millions of horses, donkeys and mules working in the poorest parts of the world. These hardworking animals are vital to countless poor communities – they carry people or heavy loads of food, water, fuel, goods for market – even bricks and other building materials! 

For people in the developed ‘First” world the economic downturn may have meant lost jobs, or reduced pensions but not starvation or death. In the developing world this threat is real. More than ever the work done by the Brooke will save lives. Last year, Brooke mobile vet and animal health teams reached 700,000 working horses, donkeys and mules. That’s 150,000 more animals than ever before. A healthy working horse, donkey or mule benefits the poverty-stricken family who depends on it, by ensuring they can continue earning a living. The Brooke’s research shows that an average of six people are dependent on each working animal because extended families rely on the income generated through a working animal. In this way, the Brooke helps support the livelihoods of three million people

The Brooke animal health teams are not visiting volunteers, they live in and work with communities so that they are always on hand and good welfare becomes a long-term priority. They also make sure that communities are encouraged to take responsibility for their own animals care and welfare. The Brooke estimates that 80% of all animal suffering is preventable. Working closely with communities so that they know how to care for their hardworking animals better will ensure they have a healthier and happier future.  The Brook mobile vet teams also train local people as animal health workers. They can then diagnose common problems, provide first aid and are equipped with the basic supplies to do this vital work. Brooke mobile vet teams and community animal health workers, and the Brooke’s partner organisations worldwide, provide free treatment to animals and train animal owners, local healers and vets, farriers, saddlers, feed sellers, harness and cart makers. The Brooke has found that the majority of ailments are the result of owner ignorance or poverty. Education and help can change this. The Brooke never prosecutes, campaigns or becomes involved in politics

In America $4.00 might only pay for a Latte but with the Brooke it could pay for treatment for one emergency case. A little money goes a long way:  $20 could pay for anti-rabies vaccinations for 20 equine animals, $40 could pay for a tool kit for a local farrier, so that they use the right equipment to care for footsore donkeys, horses and mules toiling in Egypt’s brick kilns, $50 could shoe 45 horses, $80 could pay for a Community Facilitator for a week to run owner education sessions in a village, $100 could pay for an entire mobile team including fuel, staff and medicines for a day, $500 could install a hand pump and water trough providing fresh water for an entire community. 

In South Florida Nimos is dreaming of his new owner. Will it be a Junior or Young Rider that he can take to the medal podium NAJYRC?  Will it be an adult amateur who he can take to the winners circle in the Prix St. George and I1?  He knows he has loads of experience, and he knows he can do his job well. He is dreaming happy dreams of future success!

Saheli is dreaming. She feels better than she has done for a long time. She dreams of the fresh green forage she will get for breakfast.

Nimos’ trainer (Daphne Haagmans) is dreaming too. Both she and Nimos’ owner have a dream that more trainers and owners will take up the challenge and reach out from the comfort of luxurious stables, purebred horses and the best of everything to help the poor, the working horses, donkeys and mules that everyday are struggling and suffering.

Qurban Ali is not dreaming; he is giving thanks. He is giving thanks that his mare is alive. He knows that with the right care she will remain healthy and be able to do her work. He is giving thanks that he will be able to feed his family. He is giving thanks that the Brooke was there to help.

For more information on the Brooke see their website:

For more information about  [#26209 override="Nimos :  horsemarket " title="Nimos :  horsemarket "]or contact Daphne Haagmans :