As we honor and recognize the federal Juneteenth holiday, it is an important time to reflect on diversity, equity, and inclusion: where we have been and where the eventing community can continue to grow. One organization that has been leading the way was established in 2020 by a passionate group of eventers, Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Focusing on the fact that the United States is becoming increasingly more diverse but seeing a lack of equivalent representation or recognition of Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) within equestrian sport, the group endeavored to not only push for growth and change, but to also work towards making sure that BIPOC equestrians were able to see allies within eventing and other equestrian sports. The leaders of SEE have made tremendous strides in the past two years. As they look to the future, there is an incredible amount of work still to be done.
In 2021, Strides for Equality Equestrian (SEE) and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) established the Ever So Sweet Scholarship which provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with five-star eventing Sara Kozumplik Murphy for one season (winter or summer). The scholarship funds cover full board and training costs for one horse, several lessons per week, housing, a stipend for living expenses, competition fees, and coaching at competitions. During the duration of their working student opportunity, participants learn to manage, care for, and compete horses in an immersive program and will have the opportunity to work as part of the team in all aspects of running a large, competitive barn, in addition to making critical professional connections that would otherwise be unattainable.
What does eventing have to do with equality in our nation and the world? That is one of many questions answered and discussion points mentioned during the open forum led by Anastasia Curwood and Heather Gillette, the co-chairs of the USEA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the co-founders of Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) at the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Together they delved into how Equestrians of Color are a vital part of our sport and how others can be their allies.
Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) and the USEA Foundation are currently accepting applications for the winter 2022 round of the Ever So Sweet (ESS) scholarship in Ocala, FL. The scholarship period will be two months beginning in January and ending in February/ March. The application deadline is October 15, 2021.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce the partnership with Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) for the 2021 USEA American Eventing Championships Presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) to help promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sport of eventing. This year’s AEC will be held August 31-September 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.
Strides for Equality Equestrians and the United States Eventing Association Foundation are proud to announce the formation of the Ever So Sweet Scholarship. The scholarship, which is the first of its kind, provides a fully-funded opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with upper-level professionals.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is proud to announce the formation of a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and a new partnership between the USEA Foundation and Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE).
The United States is an increasingly diverse country, but equestrian sports do not reflect that reality. This can and should change. The “moonshot” idea conceptualized by five-star eventer and trainer Heather Gillette and historian Dr. Anastasia Curwood, along with United States Eventing High Performance rider Matthew Brown, Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is pleased to announce its official launch.