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What a week it’s been (again! Madness.). It’s been exhausting, it’s been bruising, it’s been desperately sad and also incredibly hopeful, all at once. The world is on the cusp of changing into something kinder, something a little bit closer to equality, and I can feel the seismic shift on the horizon. But the fight for human rights isn’t quite over yet, so stay strong, stay kind, stay gentle and patient when it’s so hard to do so, and keep helping your friends and family to understand exactly what’s being fought for.
If you ever feel under attack because of it, or a little bit like an island in a sea of dissent, know that we’re here. You can find me on social media and I will always stand by you in spirit. (NB to a small minority: if you fancy taking that invitation as an excuse to slide in my DMs and verbally attack me, know that I’ve got a week’s worth of practice dealing with those shenanigans now, so am fairly deft at roundhouse kicking a nasty message back into the ether. My inbox is reserved for joy, kindness, respectful debate, and videos of husky puppies on treadmills.)
A few people messaged me yesterday to check in on how the police horses at the Parliament Square protest were doing. We are, of course, absolutely delighted to say that a social media post has confirmed all were tucked away happily in their stables yesterday evening. No one likes to see evidence of animals in distress, least of all those of us whose entire lives revolve around them. But this note takes us into some murky waters.
What is crucial to note when discussing the viral video that made the rounds is that these protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, but that these isolated incidents are the videos that make the rounds — and that’s partly because there’s an agenda there. After spending a socially distanced afternoon photographing yesterday’s protest, I was saddened to see not a single mention or video of the thousands of people kneeling quietly, singing and dancing together in celebration of Black cultures, or joining in with a feminist celebration in which we all turned to the Black woman nearest us and told her she was beautiful. That’s what social media missed, so we have a responsibility to ensure that a viral video doesn’t become the defining moment of a movement to which it bares little resemblance.
You’re allowed to be angry because horses were involved. Nobody is taking that away from you. But we urge you to be thoughtful in the way you present your anger. That’s a powerful, wonderful thing.
National Holiday: It’s National Best Friends Day today. Give yours a little bit of socially distant love, and save an extra-sloppy smooch for the four-legged one, too.
Event Entry Notes:
Surefire Horse Trials entries will be open until Friday, June 12, 2020. All paperwork must be complete by that date. Please check the website for updates www.surefireeventing.com.
Your Monday reading list:
If you want to learn a little bit about why we’re currently seeing the biggest global protest against racism in history, Jumper Nation editor Lynn Mueller has compiled a brilliant starter list of resources for you. Can I describe Lynn for you in a sentence? Not at all — to try would do a disservice to this dynamic, intelligent woman who contains multitudes. But one of the many, many things she is is Korean, and so she knows all too well the sad reality of racism and then many insidious forms it can take. What does that mean? Well, that we should probably take a moment or ten to listen to what she’s got to say, for one. [Fight Against Inequality: Resources from Readers]
Brianna Noble has become one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we’re huge fans of this compassionate trainer of tricky horses and her gelding Dapper Dan. Once upon a time, Dapper Dan was a nearly impossible mount, but plenty of time, love, and invaluable patience has turned him into the type of partner you can ride into a protest in a major city. Erin Gilmore caught up with Brianna to find out more about this remarkable woman and her equine partner. [Brianna Noble is the Horsewoman We All Need Right Now]
It’s no secret that equestrian disciplines are among the most whitewashed of all the sports. But how can we fix that? It’s a conversation I’ve had countless times over the past few years, with the EN team and media colleagues, with riders of all backgrounds, with my diverse group of friends outside the industry who see the horse world as something that wouldn’t want them even if they wanted to be a part of it. It’s an enormous oversimplification to say that the financial commitment that riding requires is the issue here — yes, it’s part of it, but we’re looking at a much more complex issue. But access problems that give children in underserved communities the chance to get close to these special animals is a great first step, as the Chronicle discovers when visiting Baltimore’s City Ranch. [A Closer Look at City Ranch]
Dan Jocelyn’s Olympic mount Silence has been euthanised at the grand old age of 30. There’s not much we love more than seeing these great campaigners enjoy a long, happy retirement. Now, Dan has shared some of his fondest memories with the New Zealand Thoroughbred — a touching farewell to the horse who changed his life. [‘He did things dreams were made of’: farewell to Olympic event horse]
What we’re watching: The clever, witty, and ineffably cool Dear White People on Netflix. This has been one of those shows that I’ve devoured over and over again, hungry for more and so, so grateful for its existence.
Where we’re sending a donation: Leicestershire’s The Urban Equestrian takes the concept of inner-city equestrian access programmes and moves it to the UK’s Midlands, where the city of Leicester sits amid some of the country’s richest hunting country and horsey culture. The story of founder Freedom Zampaladus is an incredibly compelling one, and the work the programme does to change the lives of its kids is profoundly valuable. They’ve got a GoFundMe here.
Monday video from Fleeceworks:
You probably need some ponies in a paddling pool right now. We’ve got your back.