A Place on the Board: Jane Holderness-Roddam

For the Olympic three-day eventing gold medallist, being a trustee of The Brooke is a pleasure

Jane Holderness-Roddam
Jane Holderness-Roddam

As the first British woman to win an Olympic gold in three-day eventing, it's perhaps not surprising Jane Holderness-Roddam found the aims of The Brooke, an animal welfare organisation that supports horses, donkeys and mules in developing countries, close to her heart.

"I was brought up with horses and rode before I could walk," says Roddam, who has previously served as a trustee for World Horse Welfare.

So when her name was put forward to be a trustee in 2011, she was delighted at the chance. Besides meeting donors and giving advice on different aspects of veterinary care, trustees of The Brooke are also encouraged to visit countries in which the charity works. Last year, Roddam went to Senegal to witness The Brooke's work first hand.

"They're educating people about better ways to look after animals so that the animals, which they often rely on to make a living, will be in better shape to look after them," she says.

Roddam loves this part of being a trustee, but says it is also the biggest challenge. "You need to know the local culture and religion quite well and you have to be careful not to tread on people's toes," she says.

But it's not the only challenge Roddam has taken on for the charity – last August, she came out of a 13-year retirement to compete in a one-day eventing competition on a horse named Tiger's Eye II. "I had to psyche myself up to do it," she says.

The pair finished 17th, raising more than £12,500 for The Brooke and World Horse Welfare.

And despite the nerves, Roddam says she feels privileged to be able to spread awareness about The Brooke.

"It's a good way of helping an animal that one has got so much pleasure from over the years," she says.

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