What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mean in our Sport?


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three words you may hear regularly on the news, business radio, and perhaps in your own companies, but likely not often in the barn. This is a topic that some find to be inappropriate when it comes to horses.

When I first announced on our social media platforms that the Mid-South Horse Review was taking nominations for our new Impact Awards series, and one award’s focus was Equestrian Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, there were a few replies that were not well received.

One reply read: “Can’t you just stick to ruining the school system and leave the horse industry alone?”
Well, no, I cannot. 

As I read that post my heart began to race, my jaw clenched, and my head shook, and I said colorful adjectives out loud judging the morals and character of the individual who publicly wrote that response for all to see. However, isn’t that 50% of our experience with social media these days?

Why do I feel this is an important topic to cover in the Mid-South Horse Review? 
Why do I think it is relevant?
Why do I think we need to recognize and publish the happenings of organizations and individuals who are actively bringing new people into our equestrian communities and sport? 

Because it is happening, and it matters! 
Our sport has the chance to evolve and grow. This is our opportunity to grow with positivity, openness, and acceptance that every human being; no matter race, socio-economic background, physical and mental difference or disability, can be enriched by horses, and all the gifts they bring.

My mission as the Publisher of the Mid-South Horse Review and Hunt & Field Magazine is to attract as many new people into our equestrian and outdoor sports as possible, and it is important to celebrate the organizations and individuals who are expanding our sport and industry to unexpected communities and individuals. The more people with opportunities to love horses and share experiences with others, the more promotion of equestrian sports helps improve the lives of more horses needing a home and a person to call their own.

I was blown away by some negative responses, but the positive responses affirmed the importance of this topic. We received nominations from supporters of organizations that actively help underserved communities that teach horsemanship and how the horse enhances lives. We have honorees who assist with helping individuals with mental and physical disabilities reach new goals from partnerships with horses. We have honorees who are saving lives by helping form bonds between man and horse. We have honorees who are blind and physically disabled who inspire others, just like them. They prove that there is a place in the barn for disabled equestrians. We have honorees who give opportunity to individuals who do not have the wealth to attend horse shows. They help those individuals reach new goals and be rewarded for their hard work without show costs and expenses. We have honorees who are recruiting specific demographics and ethnicities into equestrian careers that are in need of more interest and growth to sustain the demands on the industry.

There are an abundance of horse breeds, horse colors, equestrian disciplines, and places for those horses to excel, so why is it not the same for equestrians from all different kinds of backgrounds? 

We have the opportunity to grow our sport, our community and have more people caring for horses. Let’s celebrate the individuals and organizations who are bringing new people into our community, teaching them about horses, proper and ethical horsemanship, and who inspire newcomers to be the next horsemen and horsewomen of our sport.


Lauren Abbott

Lauren is a lifelong equestrian. She was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn. Lauren has worked in Journalism for over 20 years and has served as a staff writer, designer, photographer, audience and business development consultant, & advertising senior executive. She is the Owner & Publisher of MSHR, and CEO of Ford Abbott Media, LLC, the parent company of the Horse Review and Hunt & Field Magazine.

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