The horse world is not diverse. You likely can name 10 or more professional riders who are white, but probably not more than one or two who are people of color. Last year Nation Media launched its First Annual Diversity Scholarship to benefit riders of color in an effort to work toward more diversity in equestrian sport. This was a great start, but there is much work still to be done to make the equestrian world more diverse and inclusive for everyone.
We were pleased to become aware of a new grant initiative spearheaded by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation along a similar vein. The Foundation was founded in 2010 in honor of the late Helen Gurley Brown, long-time, legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. The foundation invites new proposal applications for ideas on outcome driven initiatives and programming to identify and implement strategies to reduce racial and/or ethnic disparities in the equestrian world in the United States. Grants may range from $50,000 to $150,000 depending on project scope, and they are only accepting US based applicants.
The HGB Foundation explains:
Eligible applicants that are interested in making a systemic impact in this industry and are willing to submit a descriptive one to two paragraph pitch of their ideas should apply using the link below. Additionally, we will ask that applicants (individuals or teams) submit information regarding their accreditation of domain expertise to demonstrate ability to fully carry out this initiative on behalf of the Foundation, speak to how the idea aligns with HGB Foundation vision and values, as well as a project roadmap, timeline, and budget for roll out.
The HGB Foundation recognizes that effective and quality programming in an effort to make a difference and impact in this industry will take substantial dedication, time, and funding in order to change the landscape of who gets to be an equestrian. We plan and hope to be an integral part of changing the future of the arena and are looking forward to partnering with a grant recipient to enact real change for the betterment of all in the horse riding profession.
If you have an idea on how to tackle the problem of racial and ethnic disparities in the equestrian world, we encourage you to apply for this grant. It could be geared toward young people or amateurs; toward lesson programs or more the professional side of the industry. There is much work to be done, and as with all systemic change, it starts at the local level. It’s one more inclusive barn, one role model, one opportunity that can begin to make a difference. And it can start with you. The application can be found here.