Horses for All strategy outlines equestrianism’s equitable future

  • Written By: British Equestrian
  • Published: Tue, 28 Nov 2023 14:29

British Equestrian and our 20 partner organisations have today published a diversity and inclusion strategy, Horses for All. The culmination of an extensive research, listening and learning process, the new strategy sets the agenda for our long-term commitment to lead change in our industry and foster a culture and environment of everyday inclusion and equity.

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Photo: British Equestrian / Jon Stroud Media

The equestrian community is largely representative of society in the areas of gender, age and disability but there is work to be done to be truly inclusive. Some 18 months ago, as a Federation we set out on a journey to begin to address the inequalities and barriers with a pledge to improve for a better future. An extensive research project and comprehensive response document gave us an opportunity to effect systemic change throughout our industry.

The strategy will act as a framework to build action plans which will deliver meaningful, generational results to ensure equestrianism is:

  • reflective of society and that equestrian activity as a sport, leisure pastime or career remains relevant in the 21st century
  • a safe, respectful and inclusive community with a culture that values and welcomes everyone
  • accessible for anyone from any background to participate in.

Horses for All outlines six key strategic objectives under the headings of:

  • Leadership and governance – structures and behaviours which lead by example
  • Data and diversity indicators – a data driven approach to support actions and ambitions
  • Workforce – creating diverse, safe and welcoming teams
  • Partnership and collaboration – building alliances for increased accessible opportunities
  • Education and accountability – build knowledge and empowerment to meet other’s needs
  • Communication and engagement – clear and consistent messaging which connects everyone.

As an organisation, British Equestrian has begun work on a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to implement the objectives outlined in the strategy with actions, initiatives and programmes to help bring the strategic mission to reality. We will then work with our member bodies to individually complete their own action plans.

Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive said; “This strategy is fundamental for British Equestrian and our member bodies as organisations but even more so for the wider equestrian community, it’s crucial for our future relevance. We recognise our need to do better and this document gives a blueprint to facilitate the positive change needed.  It’s our collective mission to encourage more people to engage with horses in a forum free from discrimination where equity is paramount, and we want to underpin our commitment to achieving this with our strategy.”

Head of Participation for British Equestrian Mandana Mehran Pour continued; “The genuine enthusiasm and ambition throughout this project has been inspiring and I’m proud of where we’ve got to but now is the time to take responsibility and action to drive the vision forwards. We’ve acknowledged our previous shortcomings but now must seize the opportunities outlined in the strategy to initiate the actions and changes required. The BEF team is looking forward to formulating and delivering an action plan, and supporting our member bodies to do the same, which puts us on a path to the vibrant future we collaboratively want to achieve.”

British Equestrian would like to thank everyone who contributed to the creation of this strategy. From all the respondents in our research to the member body representatives on our working party, everyone who has given feedback, provided vision and helped shape the plan is part of the commitment to making a real difference.