Ride Out Racism and The DHD Foundation launch social campaign #IAMPARTOFTHECHANGE
Thursday 26 November 2020
Reece McCook, social campaigner and the founder of Ride Out Racism, has teamed up with Daisy Honeybunn and her husband Pravin Mukhi, founders of the DHD Foundation, to create #IAMPARTOFTHECHANGE, a campaign to increase diversity and inclusion throughout the equestrian industry.
Explaining his experience within the industry, Reece said: “I started out by volunteering at my local riding school in Coventry, in return for rides, and was so excited when I eventually worked my way to achieving a working pupil placement with a top event rider, which was an exciting opportunity. However, in every equestrian establishment I’ve been in, I’ve been the only person of colour. Over the years I have experienced a lot of discrimination, including being judged as a stereotype, and at times I’ve received actual verbal abuse. It was disheartening and I lost my confidence – my dreams were shattered and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to work in the industry. But with the support of friends and family I set up Ride Out Racism, in order to lower barriers and make the sport more accessible and diverse on every level.”
Reece met Hickstead Director Daisy after he was nominated to appear on her popular Horse & Country TV series, Daisy Dines With, through his role as an ambassador of The Urban Equestrian Academy. Talking about their partnership, Daisy said: “Reece is a very determined and impressive young man, and he is doing such important work within our sport and industry. We have become great friends, and we wanted to work on a campaign together, that could actually spark real effective change. We want to build a more diverse equestrian world, where seeing faces of every colour, and people from every sphere of life is the norm, and where acceptance is automatic.
“Many people and organisations are of course already working extraordinarily hard within the industry towards this goal, but there is still a long way to go. We wanted our campaign not only to show people the projects we are working on, but also to create a platform for others to share their own work and ideas.”
The campaign launch projects include giving riding lessons to young people from disadvantaged communities, and providing funding for Reece to study on the British Horse Society’s (BHS) renowned BHS Coach In Complete Horsemanship programme. There is also an ongoing project with Brixton’s famous Ebony Horse Club, helping source experts for their lockdown online talks programme, as well as an interesting collaboration with a leading Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) training consultancy. The campaign will provide EDI training grants for equestrian consumer brands, as well as specially created online resources.
The campaign will be launched on Thursday 26th November, and many top professional riders have already lent their support by appearing in the campaign’s launch video, including the Rio 2016 Olympic showjumping gold medallist Nick Skelton, and a host of riders across the major disciplines including Carl Hester, Laura Tomlinson, Laura Collett, William Whitaker, Shane Breen, Laura Kraut, Paralympic medallist Natasha Baker and equestrian personality Esme Higgs.