by Cheryl Williams
African-American equestrians are the minority within a minority as equestrianism remains an interest among a few people, primarily white. Few women make it to the top of equine sports.
Shayla Wilson is determined to be one of those few. An honors graduate (2008) of Virginia Intermont College, the nation’s top equine university, Shayla was the first African-American on the school’s equestrian team.
“At Florida University I was already an anomaly because I was the only black person on the team. I only started being outcast by certain members once I made it to Nationals, as if they’d realized ‘She’s serious’ or felt entitled, like ‘I was supposed to get that spot!’ I ignored it and mostly dealt with my friends. People like that ruin themselves. The biased coach was eventually fired. I like it here at Intermont and have a great world-class trainer.”