Junior riders and Brooke USA Junior Ambassadors Ransome Rombauer of California and Tatianna Verswyvel of Wellington, found some time in their busy schedules at the 2016 CP National Horse Show to sit down and talk about their passion for the work of Brooke USA. Verswyvel, an aspiring journalist, interviewed Rombauer about how she got involved with the organization and her plans for the future.
How did you first become involved with Brooke USA?
I first saw their pamphlet at the National Horse Show, and since I’m really involved with equine welfare and horse rescue, I found it was different from other programs. Brooke doesn’t just take the horses and donkeys away for treatment, they actually educate people so that the effects are long-term.
What about Brooke made you feel a connection to the organization over the others?
I love that it goes further into helping the communities of countries that really need it. I love how they are helping people take better care of their animals, rather than just providing them with supplies or taking the animals altogether. Brooke understands that the equines aren’t these families’ pets; they’re their incomes and main sources of survival. I haven’t heard anything else to be like what Brooke does.
How did your personal love for rescuing equines contribute to your junior ambassadorship?
I started rescuing miniature horses off of the internet about four years ago, and I grew up riding at a horse rescue farm, so I already had that background and sympathy, as well as the eagerness to get more involved. Now I have 10 miniature rescue horses, and two regular rescue horses, half of which came from kill pens in Texas. It’s definitely my life calling, and I wish there was a more sustainable way so I could keep rescuing more. Either way, I love it, and I’m glad I became involved with Brooke USA in order to take my passion to the global level.
How have you contributed to Brooke USA during your role as ambassador?
Since I became involved recently, I attended the Charlotte Dujardin dressage clinic, I’ve volunteered at booths for them, and I’ve donated as well as sold some special edition Rebecca Ray totes in benefit of Brooke USA. My mom and I designed and donated them. I’m also donating all my prize money to Brooke USA, and 100 percent of that is directly donated to projects around the world. I didn’t realize how much of a difference that would make, but it has come out to be a substantial addition going to a great cause, even though I’m not particularly competitive in the jumpers.
What are your hopes for inspiring the younger generations to become involved with the organization?
I work hard to spread the word by talking to my friends who haven’t heard of Brooke USA, and by wearing my Brooke USA jackets in order to promote it even more. I think a lot of kids don’t realize how big of an issue the state of working equines is, and it is one that Brooke USA works extremely hard to tackle. How truly privileged our own animals are in comparison to the ones of those who depend on them. I think our horses here enjoy better living conditions than humans do in many parts of the world. We’re all here because we love horses, why not help other people love theirs?
What would you say is the most gratifying part about being a part of Brooke USA?
Not only am I excited to be a part of an organization doing so much for both animal and human welfare, but their mission is also so close to my heart, that all I can say is I wish I’d known about Brooke USA sooner.
How do you plan to continue your ambassadorship through college?
I plan to continue competing on the A-circuit, as well as ride on a college team. I would love to get a whole equestrian college team involved with Brooke USA to further educate the next generations on what we are trying to accomplish. Even though college riding has no prize money, fundraisers and booths are still great options to keep making a difference and contributing to Brooke USA’s incredible movement. As for college, I plan on going to Southern Methodist University and majoring in advertising with a possible minor in photography.
What goals do you strive for as a rider?
One of my main goals was to win the USET gold medal, and I achieved that this year. Long-term, I would love to become consistent at the grand prix level and hopefully compete in a Nations Cup someday.
How has charity work and helping the greater good contributed to your growth as a rider?
I think what is cool about my ambassadorship is that I don’t feel like I’m doing work when I’m fundraising or donating my winnings. It feels natural in that I’m doing what I already love, but at the same time making an immense difference toward something I feel very passionate about.
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Verswyvel is a 17-year-old show jumper from Mexico. She’s represented her country all over Central America and South America, and has competed in the junior divisions throughout the United States. She became involved with Brooke USA last winter. She is thrilled to be working with Brooke USA and combining her passion for the organization with her future goals of becoming a journalist.
Rombauer is an accomplished A-Circuit competitor. A senior at Sonoma Academy who will matriculate to Southern Methodist University next year, she has had a stellar junior career. After winning the 2015 USEF Talent Search West Final and the Reserve Championship at the USHJA EAP National Finals, she carried her success into the 2016 season. In 2016, she won her 20th USEF Talent Search Medal class earning her the USEF Gold Medal. She has recently begun competing with success at the Grand Prix level, most recently with a sixth-place finish at the $40,000 HMI Equestrian Classic Grand Prix. She is passionate about animal welfare and currently has 10 recuse miniature horses and two rescue horses.
Brooke USA is a nonprofit that exists solely to support the overseas work of Brooke, the world’s largest international equine welfare charity. For more than 80 years, Brooke has been alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys and mules who work in some of the poorest communities on earth. This year, Brooke has reached its goal of reaching two million working equines around the world. For more info., visit www.brookeusa.org.