DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT: DEBRA WEISTAR
Director of Synergia, or director of this film? Well, both, actually. I am co-director of Synergia, along with Tom Weistar, and we have been making documentary films with and about youth for over 15 years now. This film, however, is personal. It’s not about conservation or activism, but it is about the relationship between humans and non-humans. Women and horses. My family.
Every Ride Is For You is about the relationship between women and horses as seen through the lens of three extraordinary women – my mother Oma, my sister Carol, and my niece Logan. A grandmother, a mother, and a daughter. Their connection to horses is both deeply personal, and universal — especially among women. Click below to read more of their story, current updates and photographs.
HORSES & PRIVILEGE
While working on Every Ride Is For You, so much has transpired in the world. I’ve had time to reflect on what a privileged life I have led, and how access to horses and to riding is so dependent on privilege. Since the urbanization of the US, and industrialized agriculture, horses have gone from an essential part of the work force to a status symbol. And yet, as all horse lovers know, to reduce this incredible creature to a status symbol or commodity is to miss the essence of life itself; the embodiment of connection, power, and beauty; and the mystery of oneness and love. There is no measure for such a thing. And there should be no barrier to anyone to access such a gift in the form of a horse.
And yet there are barriers, to access of all kinds, for far too many people. So I did some research and I discovered a few programs, articles, and organizations that either address the inequity, and work to provide access to horses and riding; or shine a light on horsewomen and horsemen of color who have made their own access as riders, but who are rarely in the spotlight. If you aren’t seen, then stereotypes and assumptions persist.
Perhaps the most relevant thing I can do with this film is to use it – and my access and privilege – to direct those who are touched by the film to learn about riders of color and to support the organizations that are opening up access and helping to shatter stereotypes.
Please visit these sites, read the articles, watch the videos. Find others, especially in the areas where you live. And then please be generous to those programs and support them financially. (We have.) If we are ever to get to true equity, we need to first open the doors and then use our privilege to break them down, in whatever area of life we find ourselves in. If that is the stable, then that is where we start.
EQUESTRIAN ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT ACCESS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR
Taking the Reins: Advancing Girl Power through Horse Power
Los Angeles, California
The purpose of Taking the Reins is to provide space where girls are encouraged to act boldly, with courage and confidence through experiences at our equestrian and gardening facility. Minutes from downtown Los Angeles, our nonprofit provides an outdoor space where girls are encouraged to Take the Reins of their own growth and futures. Immersed in the natural environment at our farm and equestrian center, girls learn the four pillars; Confidence, Responsibility, Teamwork and Leadership, all while experiencing the restorative power of nature.
Cowgirls of Color
Sisters United By Nature. Women that ride as one with horses! We love what we do and want you to love it too.
Young Black Equestrians – Podcast
Platinum Plus Stallions
The Platinum Plus Stallions (PPS) programs has played a major role in the transformation of young people age 5 to 25 from the Antelope Valley (AV) communities with too many unproductive, unsupervised kids with too much time to get into trouble to one providing these youth with a valuable structured program.
The Platinum Plus Stallions program uses the First Serve Life Skills Curriculum to “empower young people by providing local horse training facilities and schools with a life skills program that promotes positive values, healthy habits, and education through horse-riding – resulting in real life power, on and off the saddle. “
Oakland City Stables
Black Female Equestrians
Honoring the forgotten horsewomen throughout history .
“Streets raised us, horses saved us.”
“How a cowgirl and her community are creating a legacy.”