20 October 2017

Charlotte Dujardin's trip to Ethiopia cancelled

Brooke global ambassador Charlotte DuJardin CBE was due to visit Ethiopia to see the charity’s work in October, however due to unforeseen security risks the trip has been cancelled. She was going to be accompanied by fellow elite dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer.

Brooke ambassador Charlotte DuJardin meets brick kiln foal in India

With approximately 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 what would be expected. Charlotte and Alice were planning to meet urban gharry horses, who work day in, day out as town taxis.

The trip was scheduled to take place from 24 – 30 October 2017, but due to civil unrest in some of the areas they would be travelling through, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against travel to certain areas, and Brooke’s Security Review Group decided it was unsafe to continue with the trip. Charlotte announced the news on her Facebook page today and expressed her sadness in having to cancel. 

Charlotte DuJardin meets a brick kiln horse in India

The trip would have been the second time Charlotte and Alice have seen Brooke’s work, after visiting their 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. 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, Brooke global ambassador

Ethiopian gharry horse

They are a particularly stark example of the suffering Brooke is working to prevent. The trip was planned to show them first-hand the difference that Brooke is making, and to meet 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.

Charlotte 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 U.K.