Dear Pony People,
As barns and shows begin to open up again and we all get a taste of that good old “return to normal” it is crucial to pause once more and recognize that there is no turning back. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, and the thousands of other Black lives lost unnecessarily to systemic injustice, it is time for our equestrian community to make measurable changes and ensure together that institutionalized racism will never be normalized within our community.
For those who might think that our sport has made strides in the diversity field (with cross-gender participation across ages), understand that not a single rider among the top 150 ranked showjumpers in the United States today is Black or a NBPOC. The equestrian bubble is not to be excluded from global conversations this time. The simple truth is that we cannot hide behind statements of inclusion while a larger accessibility narrative continues to plague equestrian sports. The cost of providing basic needs for a horse surges when board, training and exorbitant competition fees are added to the equation. Economic inaccessibility equals denied opportunity. Denied opportunity is exclusion, which is systemic prejudice. We are not exempt.
We all have work to do, and roles to play in solutions. Since its inception, PonyApp has committed itself to serve all riders, at all levels, from all disciplines. Today, as an all-white startup in an industry of privilege, we recognize that our team must pledge to push further and act with our voice, our actions, and our resources to get behind this issue. Here are our first strides:
- Launched an internal audit of all social media and marketing efforts to identify ways to create content representative our broader community
- Develop product offerings to provide opportunities in the equestrian space for a more diverse community
- Create internship and mentoring programs to support the BIPOC equestrian community
- Prioritize Field diversity acquisition efforts
- Improve our talent acquisition process to ensure that we have a diverse slate of candidates for all open positions at PonyApp
- Ensure that all future brand partnerships align with our company values
In addition to the above, our team will continue to share reliable resources designed to help inform and educate non-Black equestrians. To start, learn more about some of our favorite programs:
Collective action from our federations, competition organizations, and all equine-related businesses can effect positive change. Let’s move beyond acts of inclusion to truly create a sense of belonging in this space for Black and all NBPOC equestrians. This is the only way to allow for innovation in our sport and inspire the large-scale participation of future generations.
We are still learning but commit to listening throughout this long journey together. Please continue to send us your feedback. Thank you for holding us accountable and joining us!