USEA Podcast #268: A Brooke USA Special with Jim Wolf
On this week's USEA Podcast, Nicole Brown has a very special guest on the show with her. Brooke USA Board of Directors member Jim Wolf joins us on the show this week to talk about the important work that Brooke USA is doing to promote animal welfare in the poorest areas of the world. Wolf is well-known in the equestrian community for the work he has done in the areas of sponsorship, business development, and event management and has been responsible for assisting in the organization of top-tier equestrian events.
To start things off, Wolf introduces our listeners to Brooke USA. For those who are not familiar, Brooke USA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky that is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys, and mules and the people they serve in the developing world. Brooke USA was founded in 2016, but their sister organization in the UK, Brooke, has a history that dates back to the 1930s.
Wolf shared that there are 600 million people in some of the poorest countries of the world that depend on 100 million working horses, donkeys, and mules. The welfare of these animals is critical to the welfare of the people they serve. There are a lot of animal welfare charities, but Wolf was drawn to the work Brooke USA is doing because of the fact that it benefits people as well as animals.
Brooke USA is partnering with the film "Hope's Legacy", which premieres this Thursday, October 15 on Equus Film Channel’s virtual platform, to raise funds for Brooke USA's The Power of One $1 million capital campaign. In "Hope's Legacy," Lizzy is faced with the death of her beloved grandmother and now focuses on the farm, her horses, and three-day eventing. With Lizzy's upcoming marriage to James threatened and challenged by a beautiful girl from James’s past, Lizzy must learn to stand on her own two feet, but with her horse Legacy by her side, she can do it. To purchase tickets, visit brookeusa.com/films-for-a-cause.
Wolf touches briefly on the effect Brooke USA has seen COVID-19 have on the communities that the organization serves. While the whole world has been affected by COVID-19, it's the poorest communities that are hit hardest by the disease.
Brown asks Wolf to share some of the highlights of his career in the equestrian industry. He has been involved in World Equestrian Games, Pan American Games, and Olympic Games working for the United States Equestrian Team as the Eventing Director all the way back to the 1990s. Wolf recalled what it was like putting together the team that would represent the U.S. at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with the Chef d'Equipe Captain Mark Phillips (who was recently on the Equiratings Eventing Podcast!) and the incredible team they worked with. For Wolf, having good chemistry between all the different members of the team from riders and grooms to farriers, vets, and trainers is what really makes a difference.
Wolf reflects on the changes that have occurred in the sport of eventing over the last 30 years, from how the long-format events were so vastly different from eventing of today and how the spectatorship of the sport has grown by leaps and bounds.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing was introduced in 1999, and Wolf was a key player in setting up the agreement that makes the Grand Slam possible. He talks a bit about what went into making the prize available and how it was used to incentivize the top riders in Europe to come and compete at the newly minted four-star (now five-star) in the United States. The USEF is set to release a retrospective on the Grand Slam soon on USEF Network so keep your eyes out for that!
Check out the trailer for Hope's Legacy and then go purchase your tickets!