Training and opportunities for people from under-represented communities to get into equestrianism are among the projects in the pipeline as campaigners seek to increase ethnic diversity in the horse world.
Reece McCook and his colleagues on the Ride out Racism campaign are working on unconscious bias training for equestrians, and an inclusion project, among other schemes.
Reece, a mixed-heritage rider who has pledged to promote and support BAME people in the UK horse industry, has also been applying to various sources for the funding the campaign needs to progress. He has also been promoting his work in the media, to almost entirely positive feedback.
“We haven’t really had any negativity,” he said. “The only thing that’s a big disheartening is that we feel some of the bigger establishments could be doing more to help share our message. But apart from that, the response from the general public has been phenomenal.”
Reece explained that the training on unconscious bias would be delivered to yards, either managers to pass the knowledge on to staff, or for all employees. Centres that had completed the training would then receive accreditation.
“It would be like safeguarding training, based on ethnic diversity and our whole message,” he said. “[It would be] telling the public about institutionalised racism, and the different types of discrimination that can occur.”
The courses would also provide education on different religions and cultures, to “try to make sure everyone’s as comfortable as possible”.
As protests around the world throw a spotlight on the underrepresentation of ethnic backgrounds in the British equestrian industry, H&H
‘I’m no good with words, but maybe my pictures can say something instead’
The inclusion project aims to make riding accessible to as many people as possible, including those in inner-city areas.
“There’s lots in the pipeline,” Reece said. “We’re waiting to hear back about funding as we need that, and sponsorship, but I’d love Ride out Racism to be like the Kick it Out campaign in football. I’d like it to be almost a governing body, to support BAME people in equestrianism.
“We’re looking at ways to change our industry.”
Anyone who could support the campaign is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to publish Horse & Hound magazine weekly during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as keeping horseandhound.co.uk up to date with all the breaking news, features and more. Click here for info about magazine subscriptions (six issues for £6) and access to our premium H&H Plus content online.