Publication: Horse & Hound

Date: July 2020

All in a day’s work: Campaigner Reece McCook, founder of Ride Out Racism

Reece McCook, founder of online campaign Ride Out Racism, on promoting cohesion within the equestrian community and how he wants to stand out

When I was six, I was strolling to the local shop with my auntie and we passed a field with two Shetlands. I automatically decided I was going to call them Bobbie and Jack and wanted to feed them carrots. Since that moment, my love for horses has grown and grown.

I volunteered at my local riding school in Coventry, in return for rides. Once I fell off two horses in one day. I went home and told Mum. I had no confidence. A week later, I got an envelope addressed to me. All I did was scream! It was a picture of Carl Hester at the 2012 Olympics. It said, “Wishing you all the luck in your equestrian career, reach for the stars, best of luck, Carl.” My mum had told one of her colleagues about my loss of confidence, they had emailed Carl and that was his response.

It’s not something you see every day, a Black person riding horses. I’m from an inner-city community and I hid the fact I rode from my friends until I finished college. I felt I’d be judged. Being in the saddle, nothing else matters. The only thing I’m concentrating on is the way my horse is going, my position, my posture, I love the technicality horses bring. I love even saying I can ride. You’re as one, a team, learning non-verbal communication skills.

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