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From the beginnings of the equestrian sport in the United States, African Americans made significant contributions in the horse industry. In racing, the first thirteen winning jockeys of the Kentucky Derby were Black men! We were and still are ranchers, jockeys, trainers, grooms, breeders, competitors and many other roles. These accomplishments have been dismissed and erased from our history. It is time to acknowledge and celebrate African American equestrians.
In 2022 Ebony Horsewomen, Inc. (EHI) began a collaboration with Jeffrey Fletcher, a former New Haven, CT Mounted Police Officer and owner and President of The Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum in Stratford, CT. Their partnership resulted in the concept of the Black Boots Awards - a celebration of the role of the Black equestrian.
The inaugural Black Boots Awards (BBA) will highlight Black equestrian accomplishments in the horse industry and will bring their work and accomplishments out of the shadows and into the forefront, while reviving, acknowledging, and celebrating Black pioneers. The Black Boots Awards (BBA) will celebrate the many Black equestrians across the US today in several areas including the English and Western disciplines, rodeo, competitors, organizers, riding clubs and associations, trainers and riding centers.
The BBA will take place virtually on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at 7:00 pm EST and broadcast live on our Facebook and YouTube channels and on StreamHorse TV. The ceremony will be hosted and broadcasted at the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, Connecticut, and a limited number of in-person tickets are available. The event is semi-formal attire and we are giving a prize for the best Stetson hat!