Margaret Duprey has been steeped in the equestrian world all of her life. Her deep level of commitment has made her Cherry Knoll Farm a household name in high-performance dressage and show jumping circles. Now the same qualities which have earned so much success for Duprey in the sport horse world will also be focused on alleviating the suffering of equines in developing countries.
As the first Brooke USA ambassador, Duprey will be representing the world's largest international equine welfare organization.
The Brooke USA supports the overseas work of the Brooke, whose 80-year mission has been to improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys, and mules in the world's poorest communities. Last year alone the Brooke reached nearly 1.5 million equines, benefiting six million people in countries where many people earn less than a dollar a day.
"Margaret Duprey's passion for the equine industry, animal welfare, and education are qualities that are in sync with the Brooke's ethos, and make her a perfect fit as a Brooke USA ambassador, so we're delighted to have her representing us," said Cindy Rullman, fundraising development director for the Brooke USA.
Duprey said, "What really enticed me is how they (the Brooke USA) educate communities, owners, and governments to take care of their working equines. Education is the pillar to change, and it is something I believe in very strongly."
The Brooke works through direct veterinary intervention and by educating owners and service providers to improve their animal husbandry skills. With a long and highly successful track record of effective programs, the Brooke introduces long-term, sustainable solutions that even the poorest owners can utilize to benefit their animals and themselves.
Duprey says the old adage, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," rings true. She believes the Brooke USA is taking animal welfare to a new level, helping owners and laborers to take better care of their animals.
"Our reality is not their reality," Duprey said. "By working directly with animal owning communities and providing practical education, it comes full circle. Brooke USA is a charity that helps the animals and the people. The biggest challenge many of these organizations face is resistance to change. No matter how well educated, where you come from or how old you are, change is always hard. There is always going to be that resistance. Brooke USA approaches this challenge with strategy, education and proven techniques which help the people build their own understanding. In turn, they have developed a sustainable program that is effective."
As one of North America's foremost sport horse owners, Duprey has seen plenty of highs and lows. Her equestrian interests were nurtured early in life as a little girl who fell in love with a pony. She now owns some of the most competitive high performance Grand Prix dressage and show jumpers in the world including 2008 Olympian Cedric, ridden by Laura Kraut, and alternate dressage horse for the 2012 London Olympics Otto; she is also a shareholder for paralympian Rebecca Hart's mount Schroeters Romani. Currently Duprey trains with international dressage rider Todd Flettrich in pursuit of her dreams of one day competing on an international scale as both an owner and rider.
"In the U.S., especially in this industry, we lose sight of what is outside of our world of sport horses," Duprey acknowledged. "We can travel the world, we can see the shows, but we don't necessarily see the workers on the streets, the hundreds and thousands of pounds these equines carry. We don't experience the conditions they endure every day. In a passing thought we may say that we want to help, but this role as Brooke USA Ambassador provides me with the opportunity to do more."
Duprey is Brooke USA's first national ambassador and joins an impressive line-up of the Brooke’s global ambassadors, including double Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin and internationally renowned "horse whisperer" Monty Roberts, among others. Duprey brings a new side to the ambassadorship as both a leader in the equestrian world and in the Black Angus cattle industry, as the owner of one of the most prestigious breeding operations in North America.
"My goal is to really get the word out about Brooke USA," Duprey said. "I am more than my horses. They are my passion, but I am for the welfare of all animals. It's all about showing the community the other side of the coin—the world we don't know."
The Brooke is currently working in 11 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, and in the last year it benefitted several million of the world's poorest people. The Brooke USA is a 501(c)(3) charity and exists solely to support the overseas work of the Brooke.