How do you describe yourself as an equestrian?
I used to do gymnastics until I went to horse camp one day on spring break about 4 years ago and I knew from this moment that I wanted to ride horses. Now, I compete in YEDA (Youth Equestrian Development Association) doing western horsemanship. I also enjoy trick riding, barrel racing, and trail rides. I also love working at the barn so I can spend time with all the horses.
I love being around horses and I plan to be around them for my whole life. I do not have my own horse, but I have lots of horses I get to help with and ride at Star 4, which is the barn I take lessons at. My goal is to go to college for equine therapy and hippotherapy. I want to use all kinds of horses, including rescue horses that need help. I want to have my own barn one day that I can have horses that help kids, and kids that can help horses.
What do you enjoy about being an equestrian of color?
I enjoy being who I am! I feel like God created people all different and I get to represent both black and white people because that is how he made me. I am proud of who I am and all that I have learned so far about horses. I am excited to keep learning and spending time with horses and hopefully, I can help to show other people that want to ride to ride no matter what color that they are. Maybe they will see me and know that all kinds of people can ride if you love horses.
What challenges have you faced as an equestrian of color?
One time at camp I was playing with some of the younger kids the game “I got your nose” where you pretend to take someone’s nose, but it is really just your thumb. All the kids knew that it was not me that had their nose because my thumb was brown and their noses were all white. That was the first time that I felt different. I started to think about why there were no brown kids like me there.
Then I started doing shows and I did not see any there either until one day, I saw one other girl. When I am riding in one of my shows and I look out, I can always see my dad because he is the only black person there usually. I think that it is not a bad thing that there are lots of white equestrians, but I just feel there should be more diversity in the equestrian world like there is at school and at the mall and other places.
The horses do not care if we have white or dark skin or even if we have different color hair or eyes or anything. They just want to be cared for and ridden and loved.
What words of encouragement would you have for other equestrians of color or people of color considering becoming equestrians?
I would tell other people of color no matter what you look like or no matter your skin tone FOLLOW YOUR DREAM! Don’t let somebody hold you back because the color of your skin or because you have glasses or because you have a different style, just DO YOU and don’t let anybody get in the way of that dream.
You should find some good friends like mine that don’t treat me different because of how I look or what color I am, they treat me different for the person I am. The strong, brave, confident, and beautiful person that you can be…who cares if you’re a boy or a girl…who cares if you’re black or white and who cares if you have a different style. BE YOURSELF NOT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TELL YOU TO BE.
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