The United States is an increasingly diverse country, but equestrian sports do not reflect that reality. This can and should change. The “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.
Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is an allyship program for the equestrian community and represents a first step towards addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in our discipline. This organization hopes to partner with a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the future to fully expand its vision.
The mission of Strides for Equality Equestrians is to promote a more inclusive culture within the horse community by listening to and addressing the concerns of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) within the equestrian community and educating everyone about how to be an effective ally.
Recognizing that we must be the change we wish to see in the world, SEE will encourage equestrians to stand shoulder to shoulder to ﬁght for equality and justice. Not quietly, not anonymously… but proudly and loudly. We all share a love of horses and the sport, and that shared commitment should bring us together. It can be uncomfortable to confront the bias and microaggressions that exist within our sport – but our strength lies in moving forward in open discussion, together.
Together, we will do our best to make allyship seen and heard. We will make equestrian sports accessible. We will encourage growth in understanding of issues that affect people of color. We will encourage empathy and inclusion. And we will make equestrian sports better for all.
The Strides for Equality Equestrians 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 eventing community. This includes not just riders, but also volunteers, officials, grooms, and everyone who loves equestrian sport.
- 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
- Create Equitable Opportunities
- 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 disciplines to advance our mission across equestrian sport.
Members making a monetary donation will receive a SEE pin that can be worn proudly on a jacket lapel as a show of visible allyship. More merchandise opportunities are forthcoming. To learn more and to make a donation, please visit www.stridesforequality.org.