Absorbine® & Brooke: A Shared History, A Shared Love, A Shared Mission

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Absorbine® is celebrating our 125th Anniversary by sponsoring Brooke, the world’s largest international equine welfare organization, helping to alleviate the suffering of working equines in developing countries.  In this segment of our five-part blog series, we learn about Brooke’s founder, Dorothy Brooke, whose story has a lot of similarities to our own origin story and founders Wilbur F. and Mary Ida Young.


5-Part Series

One   Brooke: The World’s Largest Equine Welfare Charity

Two   Absorbine® & Brooke: A Shared History, A Shared Love, A Shared Mission


In honor of our 125th Anniversary, we have decided to give back by sponsoring Brooke, the world’s largest international equine welfare organization, helping to alleviate the suffering of working equines in developing countries.

In the last segment of our five part blog series following Brooke, we heard from leaders at Absorbine® and Brooke USA about their excitement to partner together.  Remember that a portion of all proceeds from our 125th Anniversary Absorbine® Veterinary Liniment sales go to supporting the incredible work of Brooke.

Brooke & Absorbine

Mary Ida Young driving two of the family’s cart horses.

Wilbur F. and Mary Ida Young did not plan to revolutionize the horse industry.  They were simply looking for a way to maintain their livelihood, which meant keeping their horses comfortable and free from lameness.  Wilbur was a piano deliveryman who depended on his carthorses to transport his goods up and down the East Coast.  Without sound horses, he would have been unable to work and provide for his family.  Mary Ida, using her extensive knowledge of healing herbs, created her world-famous herbal liniment to keep their working horses going over long distances.  In 1892, the official Absorbine® Veterinary Liniment was born, and in the 125 years that have passed since then, it has continued to support the health and happiness of horses around the world.  It is a legacy of compassion, born from and continued by a family of animal lovers who consider their horses their family and treat them with all due care.

Another such legacy was born just 42 years later, following the devastation wrought by World War I, both on people and animals.  Horses were an integral part of how the war was fought and eventually won, be it carrying soldiers into battle, transporting the wounded, or hauling food, water, medical supplies, and ammunition to the front lines, all over difficult terrain and under horrendous, violent conditions.  It is estimated that a total of eight million horses died during ‘The Great War’, many of which originally came from the United States.  Of the one million equines shipped from the U.S. to support the Allied forces throughout the years of the war, only 200 returned home.  Those horses that did survive were usually abandoned where the fighting had ended, or sold into hard labor or for slaughter.  One such group of horses was abandoned by British and Australian soldiers when they left Egypt, and that is where Dorothy Brooke found them.

Portrait of Dorothy Brooke in 1936.

Dorothy Brooke traveled to Cairo in 1930 with her husband, British Army Major General Geoffrey Brooke.  There she came face to face with the cruel reality of the end of the war; that these “equine war heroes” as she called them, had been abandoned to lives of overwork and suffering.  She made it her mission to publicize the plight of these animals, and in 1934, she had raised sufficient funds to reclaim 5,000 horses, ending their suffering.  Additionally, she started the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo, a safe haven where old war horses, as well as native Egyptian equines, could receive medical care and compassion.  From this humble beginning, Brooke has grown into the largest international equine welfare organization in the world, each day continuing the mission of Dorothy Brooke to end the suffering of working equines in eleven countries around the globe.

Dorothy Brooke’s first rescued war horse: Old Bill. This picture accompanied the appeal Dorothy sent out to The Morning Post in April 1931.

Dorothy Brooke in the yard of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Cairo with some of the old war horses rescued in the 1930s.

To support the incredible work of Brooke, visit www.brookeusa.org to donate today!

(Source: www.brookeusa.org)

1 comments on “Absorbine® & Brooke: A Shared History, A Shared Love, A Shared Mission”

  1. Donna Johnson says:

    This is so heartwarming.

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