The new British Equestrian (BEF) “Horses for all” strategy is “crucial to our future relevance”, its creators believe, and to ensuring the industry remains relevant.
The BEF and its 20 member bodies and partners have signed a pledge that states: “Our collective aim is to encourage more people to engage with horses – as a hobby, a sport, a career, a fan or simply wanting to spend time with and around horses. This strategy unites us in our desire, and outlines our inspirations to effect generational, lasting change.”
The diversity and inclusion strategy is the “culmination of an extensive research, listening and learning process, [which] sets the agenda for our long-term commitment to lead change in our industry and foster a culture and environment of everyday inclusion and equity”.
H&H has reported on the BEF’s project to address the barriers to participation, focusing on ethnic minorities and those from a low socio-economic background, the results of research in this area, and the plan to create the strategy that has now been published.
The aim is for the document to be a framework for action plans, which will deliver “meaningful, generational results”, ensuring that equestrianism is reflective of society, relevant in the 21st century, a “safe, respectful and inclusive community with a culture that values and welcomes everyone”, and accessible to people from any background.
Its key strategies cover leadership and governance, data and diversity indicators, the workforce, collaborative working, education and accountability.
BEF CEO Jim Eyre said: “This strategy is fundamental for British Equestrian and our member bodies but even more so for the wider equestrian community; it’s crucial for our future relevance. We recognise our need to do better and this document gives a blueprint to facilitate the positive change needed. It’s our collective mission to encourage more people to engage with horses in a forum free from discrimination where equity is paramount, and we want to underpin our commitment to achieving this with our strategy.”
The BEF has started work on a diversity and inclusion action plan to action the strategy’s objective, and will work with member bodies on their plans.
BEF head of participation Mandana Mehran Pour said: “The genuine enthusiasm and ambition throughout this project has been inspiring and I’m proud of where we’ve got to but now is the time to take responsibility and action to drive the vision forwards. We’ve acknowledged our previous shortcomings but now must seize the opportunities outlined in the strategy to initiate the actions and changes required.
“The BEF team is looking forward to formulating and delivering an action plan, and supporting our member bodies to do the same, which puts us on a path to the vibrant future we collaboratively want to achieve.”
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