British Equestrian and its 18 member bodies have today signed a unity pledge which outlines a commitment to improving equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the industry.
The pledge includes the following commitments:
- to make equestrianism representative of the diverse communities around us
- to grow a welcoming community for all who are united by a passion and respect for the horse
- to promote the benefits of equestrianism on mental and physical health and wellbeing.
The full pledge is available to view online.
Chief Executive of British Equestrian Jim Eyre said; “Equestrianism and the passion for horses is by its nature hugely diverse and open to all, regardless of age, gender, religion, ability or background. However, we know ethnically diverse communities and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are under-represented across equestrianism and may not feel it is for them. If we are to thrive as an industry and open up participation for everyone to experience the unique joy horses bring, we have to do more to embrace our differences and recognise what can be possible when equality, diversity and inclusion is woven into our culture.
“While this is a strategic imperative for the Federation, it’s more about working to break down those barriers and creating a community where everyone truly feels they belong. Today marks the start of our commitment to doing just that. We look forward to working with partners and stakeholders on a number of research projects which will bring a strategy and an action plan, which will help us collectively deliver on our pledges.”
Within the organisations, work has already commenced around equality standards, culture, and workforce to lay the foundations for the larger projects around perception and participation. British Equestrian will focus on two major research projects in the coming months, outlined below, with more to come in the future once the objectives of these have been met.
Firstly, a project being launched by British Equestrian today is an extensive research project to understand Barriers to Participate in Equestrianism, which aims to discover the perceptions of people from ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic backgrounds towards equestrian sports and activities, and what the barriers are to taking part. After an extensive tender process, British Equestrian is excited to announce that international learning and development consultancy AKD Solutions have been contracted to complete the research.
Having worked with the home nations’ sports councils on their #TellYourStory campaign, sharing the experiences of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people across the sporting landscape, AKD Solutions are ideally placed to conduct the research, as well as working with British Equestrian on long-lasting and effective solutions for implementation to help make an impact.
The team at AKD has outlined a thorough research plan so that as many who wish to participate in the project can do so in a convenient and accessible way. The following will be available;
- hour-long online forums
- face-to-face sessions within communities
- face-to-face sessions at equestrian facilities for specific groups, including those who are advocates, interested, apathetic, cynics and unaware
- one-to-one interviews to explore lived experiences, perceptions, barriers and motivation in detail
- online questionnaires, which will give quantitative data to support the qualitative processes.
The survey will launch next week and British Equestrian would like everyone – from those who are currently involved in equestrianism to those who have been previously or wish to start – to engage. If you would like to sign up to receive updates or be part of this ground-breaking research, you can do so here: https://bit.ly/38BccEH.
Akin Thomas, CEO of AKD Solutions commented; “We’re excited to be working with British Equestrian on this initiative. We’re going to bring some creative ideas to how we design and deliver this project. We intend not just to deliver a great research project, but also to build long-standing relationships between communities and equestrian sport, providing greater awareness, breaking down barriers and bringing genuine opportunities for people.”
Lindsay Correa, RDA UK Trustee and Chair of RDA’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion working group said : “It is undoubtedly a positive step to have all British Equestrian member bodies united over this important issue. At RDA we are working to ensure best practice throughout out network and will be encouraging our participants to take part in this research.”
The secondary research project that will also be commencing soon is around urban riding centres throughout the United Kingdom. Working in collaboration with the Sport and Recreational Alliance, we’ll undertake a consultation with our urban riding centres to learn about their business models and the challenges they face, with a view to learning how to increase their reach and launching similar initiatives in other urban environments. Further details of this project and other elements of the British Equestrian’s equality, diversity and inclusivity project will be communicated in due course, including the launch of a wide-reaching strategy and related action plan.