BIPOC riders “have long been under-represented in the equestrian world. I hope this scholarship will help empower them to advance in education and training, professional development and recognition in the horse industry, and to teach others.”
“I believe that if the sport were more affordable, more people would participate, including more minorities.” Fifteen-year-old Katarina Stovall discusses the importance of mentorship and access programs in equestrian sports.
“The amount of melanin in your skin does not determine your ability, especially in horseback riding.” Today we welcome the voice of Briannah Kaitlyn McGee, a 15-year-old from Southern California who reminds us that diversity is something to be celebrated.
“There are countless times I turned down offers to play in tournaments because I could not afford it, or times I was only able to play because I had connections to people generous enough to subsidize the costs for me. I have missed so many opportunities to improve my game solely because I could not afford it.”
“My hope is that the current and future generations of minority equestrians will be able to enjoy the sport without feeling inferior or out of place.”
“If there is an opportunity to give someone a proverbial leg up, one must do so, another value my father instilled in me. By using each of our connections to ‘pay it forward’ we can open doors that may otherwise be locked for newcomers.” (more…)
“There is this singular focus on how to make ‘them’ come to ‘us’. This is completely backwards. There is no rule change, expansion in television coverage or clothing rule change that will magically grow our sport.” (more…)
“It is not enough to commodify a moment in a movement – brands, publications, and organizations now need to roll-up their sleeves and buckle down for a lifetime of work building trust and equity for the BIPOC equestrian community.” (more…)
“I have now been riding competitively for roughly 10 years with Janet and Ryan Sassmannshausen of Kinvarra Farm and have felt nothing less than a warm and kind embrace from everyone within our sport.” (more…)
“Every time that I ride past, present and future I step forth knowing that I am not just doing this for me but also for all of those in my community who did not think it possible to see an African American girl not only riding on a horse, but striving to compete amongst the best.” (more…)
“It is very discouraging to me being the only person of color at a show. If there were more competitors of color at a show I would be more comfortable. I often feel that I don’t belong and that I should quit riding.”
“Unfortunately, a more open and inviting community is not enough to ensure inclusivity and diversity in our sports. We also need to address the barriers that young equestrians, both amateurs and professionals, face to accessing and thriving in our community. ” (more…)
“I believe that diversity and inclusion in equestrian sport provide us not just an opportunity to compete with people from all over the world, but it also gives us a chance to explore and understand people from different nations, cultures, ethnicity, and genders …” (more…)
“Riding was foreign to my parents and extended family, but my parents took me for lessons when I was four, and the rest is history. Twenty-eight years later I still ride and compete. And for 28 years, I have yet to meet a single equestrian who looks like me. This is a sobering and isolating truth…”
“The news of the abuse from the trainers met me at the office. As I walked past the three workers who were sitting behind the desk, they held their heads down and did not look at me.” Leilani Jackson is a retired school teacher who wanted to find a way to pursue her interest in horses. Today she shares her experiences as a volunteer.
“I don’t get to be impatient or irritated. I may be the only Black equestrian these people see, and so, like it or not, I carry my entire race on my shoulders. The white riders don’t have to do that. They don’t have to think, ‘Let me represent my race well!’ before riding into a ring or interacting with a stranger.”
“I was conscious of being a minority presence. My sincere hope is that other minorities watching me compete would feel inspired to enter the sport and the equestrian community.” (more…)
“This sport has people from all walks of life, different income brackets, different races, different sexual orientations and different ages. The best way to increase diversity within our sport is if we create a sport where everyone sees a reflection of themselves…” (more…)
“It wasn’t until joining Pony Club and competing at rallies that I began to have fun riding again. I met many people that helped me become a better horsewoman and did not look at me as ‘the black girl who rides.’ They saw me as one of their peers.” (more…)
“How do we take on the four-headed monster that exposure, opportunity, perception and reception represent and slay its inhibition on diversity and inclusion in our sports?” Dawn Edgerton-Cameron outlines a comprehensive path forward. (more…)
“Too white to be Latina and too Latina to be white. I struggle with my cultural identity every day. Since I was a kid, I sought an escape. To me, this was only possible with horses. Horses didn’t see my struggles. They saw a little girl desperate to escape.” (more…)
“I am transgender. I was born in a female body. Since I was a child, I knew my brain did not match my physical attributes. I am medically transitioning to male. The horse world has been a blessing and a curse with the unspoken assumption that you don’t generally pry into others’ business while at the barn.”
“Now I have not one but two of my very own, very spoiled horses. In every barn and every organization, I have been welcomed … though I have seldom seen any other Black equestrians.” (more…)
“I just didn’t understand why it seemed so hard for a black person to ride horses. However, my first horse show was a real eye-opener. I felt as out of place as a big red dot on a pristine white piece of paper.” (more…)