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‘Willingness to change’: hopes fairytale pictures will help promote diversity in equestrianism

We can all do our bit to help combat inequality and lack of diversity in equestrianism, the mother of a mixed-heritage rider believes.

Trinity Allman, a 13-year-old showjumper and eventer, appears in pictures taken by Jade Greenfield, of Mountain Photography, which mum Kerrie Rycroft hopes will help promote and celebrate racial diversity in our industry.

Kerrie told H&H the pictures have been widely shared online, with positive feedback and supportive comments.

And although she said Trinity has not experienced negativity related to her ethnic background in the horse world, she is often the only non-white rider present – and the family has been the victim of direct racist abuse in other places.

“I wrote a post on social media about some of my kids’ experiences, and it’s been shared thousands of times,” she said. “People have said they had no idea what it was like but until you’ve been the only person who looks like you in a school, or at Pony Club, or at a show, it doesn’t occur to you.”

For a report into the barriers to ethnic diversity in equestrianism H&H spoke to Imran Atcha, St James City Farm Riding School in Gloucester, who said he has been approached when riding by people who have said they did not think Black or Asian people could ride horses, and a key to increasing diversity is to change that mindset.

Jade, a close friend of Kerrie’s, agrees, telling H&H she is not only planning more photoshoots with Trinity, she has also contacted a number of brands to ask them to use more diverse models in their imagery.

“When I saw Kerrie’s post about racism, I looked into it more, and thought ‘how can I help?’” she said.

“I’m no good with words, but maybe my pictures can say something instead.”

Jade used her own horse, Siangie Ruby Mountain, for the pictures, and gave Trinity a white dress to wear, in a woodland setting. She has since set up another shoot, with her rescue pony Mountain of Fire.

“It looks like something from a fairy tale,” she said. “I’ve trained a lot of people, and been to a lot of shows and taken a lot of pictures, but none of them have been Black people before.

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“This has really opened my eyes. I’ve had one company come back to me to say they’re looking into their marketing and their image library and I’m going to contact more, and do more shoots with Trinity, to really try to help get this out there.”

Kerrie added: “I think there’s a willingness for people to accept that just because something’s always been one way, that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.

“I think this will be a slow burn, not a quick fix, but it’s nice to see people are making an effort, and we can all do our bit. I’m very vocal about it because I’m a mum, and I have no intention of stopping.”

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