Increasing diversity in UK equestrian sport: useful links

  • Following on from H&H’s news report on removing barriers to diversity in the UK equestrian world, here is a selection of accounts, groups and organisations you may be interested in, including those quoted in the article, so you can find out more about them. This article is by no means exhaustive and we welcome suggestions of other useful links we can add to this page.

    H&H’s editor-in-chief Sarah Jenkins believes the equestrian world should be for everyone and she discusses this further in both 11 June H&H Plus newsletter and her column in this Thursday’s magazine (18 June). As she says, now is the time to actively educate ourselves, remove barriers and ensure everyone feels welcome to enjoy the wonderful relationship that goes with riding and caring for horses.

    Sarah says: “I’ve always been proud that in our sports, women and men compete on equal terms. Though there is still some gender inequality, in that respect we are leagues ahead of some other disciplines. But when it comes to diversity, BAME riders do not feature proportionally to the UK population in our many events across multiple disciplines. That is something the horse world needs to acknowledge and address – as indeed it is in small pockets.

    “It should go without saying that we support equality, we despise racism, and we must call it out. But to say so sounds hypocritical, empty even, when you look at the reality of the UK equestrian demographic. Now is the time for every one of us to actively educate ourselves about unconscious bias and acknowledge that one major factor preventing many BAME people from enjoying the benefits of a relationship with horses is that they simply do not feel welcome. Which is a terrible situation. We need to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, by demonstrating to all the kindness, encouragement and willingness to share knowledge that there is in our community.

    “I’ve previously mentioned how fortunate many of us are feeling to have our horses, our countryside, space and subsequent freedom – these privileges should be available to everyone who is interested in them. Nobody should feel the horse world isn’t for them. Everyone should be able to experience the physical and emotional benefits of a life with horses, be that for work or pleasure. We need to accelerate that work and we all have our part to play in supporting it in whatever way we can.”

    Places for good discussions…

    Follow the honest and open discussions as part of the #rideoutracism campaign through posts and comments on its Instagram page. Covering what the barriers are, where some others could be, and ideas as to how to remove those.

    Equestrian For All

    A Facebook group for discussions on the problems and barriers facing members of the BAME community in equestrianism, further reading recommendations and chat on how to make the horse world welcoming for everyone.

    Riders to follow…

    Dannie Morgan

    Dannie is a rising star of the British dressage and eventing scenes, with a number of national titles to his name. These include the “Hartpury hat-trick” at the 2019 NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships plus titles at the British Dressage National Championships, and many other big wins. Danni also made his grand prix debut last year on Braemar, whom he trained from novice. Read more about Dannie here…

    Khadijah Mellah

    Khadijah made history with her winning ride at Goodwood in 2019 when she became the first person to race in a hijab in Britain.

    Read H&H’s report on her historic win here , H&H ran a full interview with Khadijah in 7 November, for a summary and to find out more about the ITV documentary, click here or watch the trailer below

    Lydia Heywood

    Eventer Lydia, 23, is based near Cirencester and rides for Jamaica, competing at intermediate/international two-star level. She also mentors other young riders at Ebony Horse Club and St James City Farm Riding School and founded the Cool Ridings Foundation to increase accessibility of equestrian sports worldwide and develop young talent.

    City riding…

    Urban Equestrian

    The Leicester-based social enterprise is opening up the equestrian world to those who otherwise may not have access to horses. It challenges the stereotype of riding as an “elitist” activity and aims to change opinions, with a number of services, projects and activities.

    Ebony Horse Club

    The riding centre brings horses and riding into inner-city London. Based in Brixton, the charity teaches skills, builds confidence and provides opportunities through horses to those growing up in South London’s most disadvantaged communities.

    The Emile Faurie Foundation

    The charity founded by Dressage Olympian Emile offers courses of lessons to youngsters for whom riding may not otherwise be within reach.  “These courses teach more than just riding; they develop life skills such as self-confidence, responsibility and discipline – and can have a positive impact on academic performance too.”

    What are our governing bodies doing and who can I speak to?

    For more information on what the sport’s governing bodies are doing, including plans and who is sitting on the action steering groups, click the links below…

    British Equestrian


    Pony Racing Authority (PRA)

    The PRA runs fully-funded programmes for 11-14 year olds who do not own a pony and who couldn’t otherwise take part in pony racing due to financial or other circumstances

    British Horseracing


    You might also be interested in…

    Inclusion nudges

    IMD Business School professor Ginka Toegel, an IMD teacher, facilitator and researcher in the areas of leadership and human behaviour, gave the opening address at the FEI 2019 sports forum. While the topic for the 2019 forum was gender, her short (15 minute) presentation goes further into human behaviour in general and how acknowledging unconscious bias is important in helping us actively overcome it in all sorts of areas.

    Watch the video on the link here… (approx. 17 minute watch, from 32.45 to 50.00mins)

    Compton Cowboys

    You may have seen photos of the group’s peaceful protest in Houston on Sunday. Find out more about them here. And you may also recognise them from the time they partnered with Guinness on this advertising campaign, to re-watch the video and find out more, click here… 

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