How do you describe yourself as an equestrian?

An extremely passionate and sensitive equestrian with an earnest hunger to learn and grow. The more I learn about what truly being an equestrian is, the more I am inspired to develop myself and my relationships with horses in every aspect.

As a deeply spiritual young equestrian, I am always amazed at how revealing and healing animals and the natural world can be if we only develop a skill for discernment and are open to the lessons they give us. Horses, to me, are such sacred animals that give us so much more than I feel we can ever give back sometimes. Because of this, every interaction, no matter how small, must be filled with intention, openness, and humility.

I aspire to be the kind of equestrian that can not only train and ride but truly connect with their partner and allow them the space to be 100% them.

How did you get involved with horses?

My first word after “I” was “horse”. So, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Despite not coming from an outdoorsy or equestrian family, I was blessed to have a mom who saw that passion early on and helped bring horses to me.

When we lived overseas, I got my start with vaulting before riding western pleasure when we moved back to the states. By the time I was in high school, I’d switched to English Hunter/Jumpers before setting on eventing during my college career. A lot of years passed between all of those, but I have always kept horses in my life in some form or fashion, whether reading about them, watching videos, or volunteering to keep them in my life.

What role do horses currently play in your life?

Currently, I am a working student at an eventing and sales barn. I’m in a phase of my career focused on learning and growing (not that that ever really ends).

Horses have always been the best teachers and I hope to make myself into a proper professional rider and trainer with their guidance. I can’t wait to be able to give back to other EOCs and the industry as a whole one day soon.

How has your culture influenced your equestrian lifestyle?

I come from a non-equestrian, hardworking, and matriarchal family. I grew up seeing the women I loved and looked up to sacrifice everything to provide and care for their families. That’s just honestly the way it is in most black households. We are all very close-knit and always supportive of each other, even if we have no clue what path one of us is on. Because of that, even if they could give nothing but verbal support (which is really all I’ve ever had), I always knew I had a group of people in my life who believed in me, even if they were unsure of my dreams.

For them to want me to live a fulfilling life and not sacrifice those things that fill me with joy gives me immense motivation and focus. I’ve tried to pay that forward through my interactions with other equestrians, especially equestrians of color. I’ve had to learn and do it all by myself. There have been plenty of times when I felt behind the ball, or just completely wrong.

Being able to turn to family and friends and have them reassure me that I can persevere and deserve to keep the things in life that fill me up is one of my biggest motivators. I feel like it’s one of the major reasons I continue to strive for my goals. And I want to bring that awesome bit of my culture into the equestrian industry.

What challenges have you faced as an equestrian of color?

One of the main challenges I’ve faced is being viewed as “the other”. The equestrian world can be extremely elitist and closed off, often keeping money, resources, and opportunities in a closed circle, either intentionally or unintentionally. Most of the time, I realize this is more a result of ignorance of the wide variety of equestrians out there along with the intersectionality of gender, race, class, and background. It’s what makes people automatically assume I’m a groom working for someone else or not even acknowledge my presence in equestrian spaces.

I feel as though I’m not taken seriously when I voice my goals and desires and am always overlooked despite putting in an insane amount of effort. I’ve spoken with many other equestrians of color and a common main theme we all have voiced is how difficult it is to even be considered for opportunities regardless of discipline.

It feels like I have to be 100x more educated and skilled to be proven “worthy” and yet still be considered not good enough. But you can only get that way if you have experience which leads a lot of us to give our all, and then some, just for scraps of “education” and “experience” that we hope will help pave the way for more equestrians like us. It’s an extremely disheartening cycle for equestrians like me that needs to be changed.

What is your happiest or proudest moment as an equestrian?

My happiest and proudest moment was definitely when I went to try a horse and ended up spending a couple of hours in a pasture with him. I got a good glimpse of his personality, and we were able to truly enjoy each other’s presence at liberty which is something I have a big interest in.

There were no expectations from me and because of that, I think it made for one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling times in my life with a horse. I think it did wonders for our bond and ability to effectively communicate with each other both under saddle and in hand. I’d really recommend this way of meeting a potential partner to everyone. His name is Flieger, by the way. Hopefully, you’ll be seeing him more on my pages. 🙂

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

I always, always tell every equestrian of color that they belong in this industry and lifestyle.

I implore you to find a group of people (they don’t have to be equestrians) that can serve as a safe space and support group for you. Ask questions and voice your opinions. Don’t just accept opportunities because someone else tells you it’s good for you. Remember that humility and a willingness to learn will take you much farther than simply rushing through your goals.

You are incredibly powerful and worthy just as you are. If you are ever in a space (equestrian or not) that makes you feel less than, leave. You are deserving of the utmost.

Be prepared to work hard, but make sure you are working smart as well. Being an equestrian is not about winning or having the fanciest horse. It’s okay to be envious of those things when you see them sometimes, that’s human.

But most of all, don’t let your current situation dictate your value or opinion of yourself. Do not simplify or dimmish the complex beauty you own to someone else’s perception of your potential. Please show up authentically and don’t downplay your light because the equestrian world needs you.

Quick Favorites:
Horse breed: Holsteiners 🙂
Horse color: Black
Discipline: Eventing and Liberty
Treat to give: Apples, I love the crunch 🙂
Place to ride: Wooded Forests with pastures for galloping 🙂