Within both the equestrian community and our general every day social interaction, we are exposed to an increasing amount of toxic acts of behaviors. Social media has exponentially connected our world and provides an enormous amount of positive benefits, but unfortunately it is also a gateway to malicious communication. These behaviors are not limited to any specific age group.
We can all be part of the solution. During a recent conversation with equestrian performance consultant Darby Bonomi, PhD, she introduced me to a social media outlet called The Kindness Movement that was formed to address negative behaviors specifically within the equestrian community. Founded by junior rider Izzy Baker as an effort to promote kindness and stop bullying, the organization is quickly gaining momentum. Read below to meet Izzy and learn why she started the initiative and how you can become involved.
Salut and Happy New Year - 2019 is sure to provide many opportunities to integrate acts of kindness in each of our every day lives!
What exactly is THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT?
The Kindness Movement is an organization and social-media outlet for equestrians that promotes kindness and anti-bullying - standing up for one another in the community.
I post content to educate people on bullying and Safe Sport to raise awareness and encourage reporting of inappropriate behavior and violations in hopes of creating a space for people to anonymously report and ultimate stop harassment. I also share positive stories promoting kind acts and I encourage people to become involved.
What inspired you to create THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT?
Over the last year, I have experienced and witnessed a lot of bullying in the industry. I actually took a break from riding because the harassment was so bad. I was then harassed on social media for taking that break! After this happened, I knew that something had to be done about the issue of bullying within our sport. If it was happening to me, I knew it was happening to other riders as well.
I conducted an online survey. I was blown away by the amount of people who wanted to help spread awareness about the issue of bullying so I founded The Kindness Movement.
For equestrians, the barn should be an escape from life's problems, a place of love and support, a connection to horses and the sport. Sadly, for a lot of riders it has become one of their biggest stressors due to bullying.
If you had to name your top three objectives that result from THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT, what would they be?
How can others become directly involved in THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT?
There are many ways to get involved:
Can you tell us about yourself and your connection with equestrian sport?
I am a 16-yr. old junior rider from Portland, Oregon. I have been riding for 9 years and have had the amazing opportunity to compete across the country. The experiences I have had riding many horses and ponies has allowed me to create connections with trainers and riders nationally. These connections have helped me tremendously with promoting The Kindness Movement!
Is there anything that has surprised you as you have launched the THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT?
I am beyond surprised at the momentum we have. The movement has grown in such a short period time with high trainer involvement! I did not expect that many trainers would see the message, let alone want to be so involved! I owe a lot of this trainer involvement to Sami Milo (owner/operator of Cavallo Stables) who has helped me make connections with the trainer community!
The Kindness Movement's logo was created by McKenna Bright
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"Amateurs—in whatever discipline or level—are the most passionate and devoted riders. Time spent riding provides some of the most joyful, satisfying and therapeutic moments of our lives." - Darby Bonomi
Click below for professional insight as to what might hold you back from riding and the importance it delivers to your life.
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