Welfare Charity Teams with Polo Team for Rowing Challenge

Welfare Charity Teams with Polo Team for Rowing Challenge

The Atlantic Polo Team members are (left to right) Henry Brett, Bobby Melville, Fergus Scholes, and James Glasson.

Photo: Courtesy The Brooke

Some of England’s top professional polo players are swapping pony power for man power in the world’s number one ocean endurance race, The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The direct beneficiaries will be horses, donkeys, mules, and their owners in developing countries through The Brooke.

The Brooke is the world’s largest international equine welfare organization. It is based in London, England, and has a North American office at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The Brooke is has announced that The Atlantic Polo Team is currently rowing its way across the Atlantic Ocean in aid of The Brooke’s worldwide programs.

Horses are close to the hearts of these polo players. Their 3,000-mile journey, which is one of the toughest races on earth (more people have been into space or climbed Mount Everest than have rowed the Atlantic) began in the Canary Islands on Dec. 4, and are scheduled to arrive in Antigua sometime in January, 2014. Their journey will support The Brooke in its mission to increase the number of working equines it helps from 1.2 million currently to 2 million a year by 2016.

Bobby Melville is captain of the Atlantic Polo Team. He has played for England in the European Championships in Rome, the World Cup in Mexico, and England tours to Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

Henry Brett, another of the four-member team, is a 38-year-old former captain of the England Polo Team. He was also England's highest rated polo player from a young age. Henry has won every major tournament in England and captained the team at home and abroad and now runs a young horse program in Oxfordshire and continues to play professionally around the world.

Brett commented, “We are delighted to be able to support The Brooke and pleased to see the effect The Brooke has on improving the lives of working equines and the impact this has on the families who own them.”

The Brooke, whose president is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, provides veterinary treatment, training, and education programs in 11 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where there is the highest population of working equines and extreme levels of human poverty.

Richard Britten-Long and his son, Nicholas, both avid polo players in the U.K., are sponsoring the Atlantic Rowing Team in association with The Brooke, of which Richard is a Trustee. Richard is also the vice president of the 3,000-acre Cirencester Polo Club, a historic polo club in the U.K.

“The enthusiasm and spirit shown by Henry Brett and his team in crossing the Atlantic in what could well be some awesome circumstances is matched by The Brooke's resolve to reach out to two million working equines and relieve their suffering,” said Richard Britten-Long. “I couldn’t think of a more appropriate challenge to help raise awareness and essential funds for The Brooke. ”

There are 100 million working equines around the world, suffering some of the most punishing working and environmental conditions of any animal on the planet. In some countries, horses will carry loads of more than 300 pounds at a time, 10 times a day, without any food or water.

Brett concluded, “Horses are 80% of the game of polo and are the key to any polo player wanting to compete at a professional level and make a living out of the sport. We hope that we can raise much more awareness of the work The Brooke does and that our challenge will help fund future projects and enable The Brooke to reach many more working equines around the world.”

The Atlantic Polo Team’s progress can be followed via Facebook and www.antlanticpoloteam.com.

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