James Eyre, Chief Executive Officer of British Equestrian (BEF), stated that reading a report on the “life experiences of under-represented communities” in the sport was “difficult reading” and that the federation needed to address issues including bullying and racial and class prejudice.
The research, which the BEF commissioned and which was released on Thursday, claimed that equestrian competition was seen as “elitist and classist,” and it outlined nine major themes, including high expenses and a lack of a diverse attitude in the business.
“Among participants who are currently participating in equestrian activity, themes of bullying and racialized experiences arose significantly,” the survey noted.
Participants said that bullying was widespread in riding schools and liveries, and that many equestrian environments made them feel emotionally unsafe. Participants believed that bias based on race and class was also maintained.
“The sharing and commonality perspectives of respondents, regardless of their race or financial situation, suggests that the equestrian business is open to a cultural shift.
The report made 11 recommendations to BEF, which acknowledged the conclusions and advice. We have a long trip ahead of us, but it’s one we must undertake if we want to maintain our relevance and have a thriving, inclusive equestrian community, according to Eyre.