The British Ethnic Riders Federation CIC

Darbi Johnston-Murphy

  1. What’s your name, your age, and how would you describe your cultural identity?

Darbi Johnston-Murphy, Age 27 black/white british

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and where you are in your equestrian journey. This might include the activities/disciplines you enjoy, the name of the equestrian centre or yard you attend, and your role there (for example, participant, volunteer, staff member, coach).

  I first started riding when I was 18 months old (1998) on my very, very first pony called Misty. she was a tiny grey Shetland.  My competition journey started on another grey loan pony called Albert. I started showjumping on the lead rein. That was so much fun and I won my first rosette when I was 2yrs old!! When I was 5, I was lucky enough to have a super pony called Sammy. He was a beautiful chestnut gelding with a gorgeous flaxen main and tail. I did my first Cross Country competition on him. I grew up breaking ponies with my mum and had the opportunity to ride 14 more ponies before I got JJ.

 Jessie was my 6 year old chestnut mare. My Mum bred for me to event, we have had her since she was literally born. I broke her in with my Mum and I have done all her schooling. I had a really good time teaching her to jump. She did her first Cross Country in 2010 when she was just 4yrs old and she got 6th place. S

  1. Have you encountered any racism during your equine journey? 

In 2012, Jessie and I won the Pony Club Area Eventing at Burghley and also the Showjumping Regionals at Arena UK and came 2nd at the Regional Dressage Championships as well as becoming the Regional National Schools Equestrian Association Showjumping Champion. I also became the 1st ‘Person of Colour’ to compete in a British Eventing National BE 90 competition against adults at age 12 on JJ who was only 13.2hh which was a fantastic achievement.

It was my best season as my contribution helped to qualify our Pony Club team to go to the Pony Club Novice Championships in Kelshall, and our Pony Club came 3nd overall. A few months later, our Pony Club hosted a Country Fair and celebrated our Pony Club members achievements.

All the other Pony Club members and the team that I was on went into the main arena and I was left out. Jessie and I were the only ones left in the Lorry Park when everyone else was parading around the main arena even after my mum had asked if I could join in.

I was very sad and I got off Jessie and handed her to my mum as I remember saying ‘What do I have to do to show these people that I am good enough’ and I never competed again!

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