A sport associated with wealth and high society, equestrian, is one that most are only exposed to via their TV screens. A sport that lacks diversity, how can young Black girls find themselves in a sport that has no reflection? In the spirit of Nike’s Play New campaign, MEFeater is shining a light on the revered sport.
Equestrianism was introduced in the 1900 Summer Olympics as a sport with jumping events. In an equestrian race, riders compete against players to reach the finish line first, jumping over hurdles along the way. Unfortunately, Black equestrian riders were faced with overcoming hurdles both on and off the field. Horses, training classes, and race admissions do not come easy or cheap in the equestrian world. However, The Urban Equestrian Centre, located in the United Kingdom, offers affordable training lessons to youth interested in learning more about horses. In America, there are farms across the states that provide youth training courses to future equestrians.
Today, riders Shaquilla “Shaq” Blake and Ranaee James are amazing examples of women of color breaking glass ceilings in equestrianism. Shaq Blake currently runs a blog online where she details her journey in equestrianism, theblackequestrian.com. Ranaee James describes her journey through photos on her Instagram, ebony_in_equestrian.
Before she became the most sought-after muse in Hollywood, Lori Harvey was once a competitive racer. Lori won various medals in the junior leagues. Top colleges aspired to recruit Lori to compete on their equestrian teams. She dreamed of competing in the Olympics, but her career was cut short when she broke her back and tore her MCL. However, her imprint was already left on the racing world. Lori’s iconic racing photos will be used to encourage little Black equestrians for life.
Visibility is key to the resurgence of Black women in equestrianism. The more Black equestrians are seen in the media, the more positive influence they can have over future generations who have a passion for horses. Everyone deserves to pursue their passion without fear of judgment or exile. There is unfathomable freedom that comes with taking charge of your life. Black Equestrian riders today are charging towards their destinies, unapologetic and unwavering. The domination of Black women in the equestrian world is inevitable, and MEFeater will be here rooting, watching, and supporting from the sidelines. In the spirit of Nike’s Play New campaign, we encourage you all to try this amazing sport!
To find out more ways to Play New, check out our Twitter thread to view Nike’s official video and click here to view other cool ways to try something new.