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‘You’re not alone’: new website aims to support bullied riders

“You are not alone” is the message to any riders affected by bullying, by the creators of a new online support hub.

Riders Helping Riders launched this week in support of equestrians who have suffered at bullies’ hands, on social media or within the industry, by international event rider Phoebe Buckley, coach Christa Dillon and amateur rider Heather Mussett.

The website allows riders at all levels of the sport to share their stories, and provides links to relevant support organisations, as well as policies from British and Irish equestrian bodies.

“Developing this resource and speaking to those affected by bullying within the equestrian industry has highlighted the need for additional support for victims outside the affiliate [bodies’] anti-bullying policies in place,” a spokesman for the founders said.

“Riders Helping Riders noticed that bullying and intimidation — in all forms and across all sectors — is sadly endemic. While many businesses and organisations operate anti-bullying policies, those who are suffering can find it difficult to know where they can turn to, and have their voices heard. Resources are limited, and the hush culture associated with bullying can make addressing the issues more difficult and intimidating than tolerating the initial behaviour.”

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The three founders want affected riders to know they are not alone, with the facility for them to share their stories anonymously, and quotes from top-level professionals featured.

Stories already shared cover bullying on social media, at competitions, on yards and in equestrian jobs.

“Bullies bully for a range of reasons, and it’s so important that victims of bullying understand that it’s not their fault and they are not alone,” said Christa.

“If even one person reads the stories shared on our website and gets the help they need, then we’ve done our job. We can’t thank those who’ve bravely shared their stories enough.”

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