By Sally Spickard
The United States is an increasingly diverse country, but equestrian sports do not always reflect that reality.
A “moonshot” idea conceptualized by five-star eventer and trainer Heather Gillette and historian Dr. Anastasia Curwood, along with United States Eventing High Performance rider Matthew Brown, Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is pleased to announce its official launch.
SEE is an assistance & support program for the equestrian community and represents a first step towards addressing any lack of racial and ethnic diversity within equestrian sports. SEE hopes to partner with a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the future to fully expand its vision.
The mission of SEE is to promote a more inclusive culture within the equestrian community by listening to and addressing the concerns of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and educating its members about how to be an effective ally.
Recognizing that we may need to individually introduce the change we wish to see in this sport, SEE will encourage riders to actively practice equality and justice. Not quietly, not anonymously, but by standing shoulder to shoulder and setting an example. We all share a love of horses and the sport, and that shared loyalty should bring us together. It may be uncomfortable to deal with prejudice and unfairness that may be present within our sport – but our strength lies in moving forward in open discussion, together.
Together, we will do our best to make equestrian sports accessible to all. We will encourage growth in understanding issues that affect BIPOC. We will encourage empathy and inclusion. Which will make equestrian sports better for all.
The SEE founding committee has determined that by (1) promoting a more inclusive culture and (2) creating equitable opportunities for BIPOC people we can increase the strength and diversity of the equestrian community.
- Create a safe and respectful community that values the voices and contributions of BIPOC people within the equestrian community. This includes not just riders, but also volunteers, officials, grooms, and everyone who loves the horse community.
- Educate members of the equestrian community about how to be an effective ally and why this work is important.
- Increase the visibility of both BIPOC members of the equestrian community and their allies.
Long Term Goals:
- Support equestrian programs that serve BIPOC individuals and communities through collaboration and fundraising (Detroit Horsepower, City Ranch in Baltimore, Compton Juniors, Work to Ride, Metropolitan Equestrian Team, etc.)
- Create new pathways for BIPOC equestrians to become involved in equestrian sport and related industries by creating and institutionalizing internship, apprenticeship, and mentoring opportunities (riding, grooming, farrier, vet, course design & building, etc.)
Strides for Equality Equestrians will be led by a steering committee of predominantly BIPOC members of the equestrian community and active allies. The organization hopes to collaborate with similar initiatives in other equestrian sports to advance our mission across the equestrian sport.
For further inquiries or to support Strides for Equality, please contact:
Sponsorship Inquiries: Catherine Reddick – firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Relations: Sally Spickard – email@example.com