How do you describe yourself as an equestrian?

I am absolutely an adult ammy— but a passionate one. My personal philosophy is horse first, rider third, and something else in between. As dedicated as I am to training and improving and winning ribbons at competitions, the real value I get out of being an equestrian is the bond that I have with my horse and my barn family. Positivity and love first, competitions second.

How did you get involved with horses?

One of my dearest family friends, Mavis Spencer, is actually the one who started my horse passion when I was just a kid. She has been riding since I was born, and I grew up hanging out at her house with her brother since he is my age and our parents are close. Seeing her blue ribbons hanging from her ceiling and hearing her talk so passionately about horses inspired me to start riding when I was very young. Sadly, life got in the way— school, college, work, etc.— and I had to take an almost ten-year break from riding. But I am back at it bigger and better than ever now.

What is your happiest or proudest moment as an equestrian?

Getting my first horse, honestly. Seeing Aragorn step off that trailer is a moment I will never forget. When I love horses, I love hard. This boy has left a hoof print on my heart.

How has your culture influenced your equestrian lifestyle?

I come from a family whose motto is “it takes a village”, and that has absolutely influenced where I chose to ride and what barn I chose to train with. Without a healthy, positive, and uplifting community, there is no point in me dedicating my or my horse’s time there. I don’t think I would’ve found such an incredible group of equestrians to ride with and train under without that upbringing. At my barn, we value praise and love over blue ribbons and flawlessness. Don’t get me wrong, we work hard and compete fiercely, but even if one of us is off course, we cheer louder than our vocal cords can handle.

What challenges have you faced as an equestrian of color?

The underlying judgment that comes from riders and spectators from seeing someone like me at competitions— especially in less diverse areas— is always unsettling. It’s disheartening to not be able to count more equestrians of color at the show grounds than only the fingers on my hands as well.

It makes me— at times— feel unwanted or less than. Especially with reports coming out of FEI or USHJA judges being stripped of their titles for being openly racist. If those are just the ones open, how many more are silent? How many of them are potentially judging my hunter rounds or dressage tests? I fear that my scores may be less than in subjective areas of competition due to the color of my skin, and that is not a stressor anyone should have to deal with when the goal should be focusing on yourself and your horse.

What words of encouragement would you have for other equestrians of color or people of color considering becoming equestrians?

We are out here. You may not see us at every show, but we are out here supporting you. We are growing in rank and in volume and we all have your back no matter what. Yes, it is intimidating to enter an already seemingly exclusive sport and add the intimidation of it being historically primarily white, but you deserve to be in this space just as much as anyone else.

Quick Favorites:
Horse breed: Thoroughbred
Horse color: Grey or Pitch Black
Discipline: English (show jumping to be specific)
Treat to give: pumpkin spice cookies
Place to ride: walking around the barn property