After decades of equine sexual orientation being a hush-hush topic, the international governing body of horse sport has repealed its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Top photo by Eric Swinebroad.
From the press release:
The announcement comes as a relief to gay sporthorses around the world, many of whom have kept closeted their sexual orientation for fear of being perceived as “different.”
Openly gay horses and horse alliances are rejoicing today as well. Says Ernie, founder of the Facebook group Support Gay Horses, “This is a canter stride forward for horsekind.”
National organizations including the USEF have already pledged their support of the new policy.
But for some, the announcement comes just a little too late.
“The official storyline is that we didn’t make the London Olympic squad because of a veterinary issue,” says Sinead Halpin, rider of four-star horse Manoir de Carneville. “Well, there’s more to the story.”
Manoir de Carneville, or “Tate” as he’s known around the barn, is originally from France, well-known for its sexually progressive culture.
“Tate is gay — always has been, always will be,” Halpin explains. “Making the transition from France to the States has been difficult. He doesn’t understand that you just can’t go prancing around, being gay all the time.”
Halpin and “Tate.” Photo by Samantha Clark.
While some equine disciplines, most notably dressage, have always boasted large and demonstrative gay equine populations, others such as eventing have been slower to evolve. Halpin claims her horse was left off the team because “he let his rainbow show during training camp.”
“Tate was being extra fabulous, and it started raising some eyebrows,” Halpin says, fighting back tears. “But you know what? I’m so proud of him; he didn’t let it get him down. We might have lost one battle, but if it helped pave the way for this? It’s worth it.”
For more information on this issue, click here. Go Equality!
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