Equestrians of Color (EOC) celebrates the experiences of riders from diverse backgrounds and gives voice to their experiences in the industry.
“The goal is to create a site where stories of equestrians of color to go see somebody like them and see what experiences and educate rest of us and how we need to be more inclusive and sensitive to others,” professional photographer Shelley Paulson said.
The idea first came after a an interview with an international stock photo company who signed her on as a contributor. At the end of the meeting, one of the company representatives concluded with one piece of feedback.
“From your website it looks like horseback riding is only for rich white girls,” she said. “At time I was taken aback. Then I really thought about it, and he was right.”
She began making an effort to include riders from diverse backgrounds in images created for commercial clients, and she brainstormed ways to showcase equestrians of color in photography, including a website. Living just outside Minneapolis, the George Floyd protests made her realize it was time to launch the initiative.
“The city was burning down, and I thought, what could I do?” she said. “I realized I could revive that project.”
Three other professional photographers reached out to her and expressed a desire to help with increasing the opportunities of riders of color to share their experiences. Equestrians of Color launched as a collaborative effort between Paulson, Bethany Pastorial, Erica Hills and Anna Smolens.
How it works
The EOC project has a network of approved photographers. These partners work with riders of color to complete a photoshoot and an interview about their experience as in the equestrian world as a person of color. After review, those stories and photos are shared as an EOC blogpost.
How to Apply
There are two ways to participate.
- The first is to complete the brief EOC online application.
- The second option is to contact a Photographer Ally directly using the EOC directory.
Articles previously published in this series are: