Following is a series of letter from Leslie Wylie to Cynthia McGinnes and her replies.
Thanks for taking the time to write us. This is an unfortunate situation for all, and with a great deal of misinformation and assumptions circulating. We hope that the eventing community can work together to find a healthy path forward.
I am afraid that ship has sailed. If you had done more research before making your request for Plantation Field to change the name, you would have realized that your request had no more validity than asking realtors to drop the use of master bedroom.
You are going to have to live with your activism causing damage that cannot be repaired. You can no longer just assume that you are still included in the Eventing community.
We never make assumptions. But we do believe in a more inclusive eventing community in the future.
Sincerely & Go Eventing,
You have just listed your first assumption. The Eventing community has always been inclusive.
It is entirely results based, and I have been involved with Eventing.....rode in my first event in Virginia in 1963.....for 57 years, and I have never seen a person’s color be a concern at any level.
I also rode champion hunters (Peter Gunn, Matinee Idol) , trained with Frank Chapot, my uncle owned Good Twist, who campaigned with the USET for many years, sired Gem Twist,...... I have never, in any of these disciplines, seen race be a concern.
My husband and I have bred thoroughbred racehorses for 47 years, many Maryland champions, Breeders Cup competitors,......never seen race be a concern at the track.
All of these horse activities are results based, color or ethnicity not a factor.
One of the best jumper riders of the 60’s, Sonny Brooks, was black. He was always included, whenever I was there.
You cannot cover up the damage that the uninformed intrusiveness of your unwarranted activism has done to the sport of Eventing through the loss of Plantation Field.
You speak of a more inclusive Eventing community....it was inclusive before your activism, as are all of the competitive horse sports.
Black Lives Matter, Inc. is a Marxist organization. You need to question their motives before you go after the horse sports.
Thank you for this perspective. I started competing in the early '90s so I don't have that context.
I did have a poster of Greg Best and Gem Twist on my bedroom wall when I was a kid, and I hope your family knows what sort of dreams that horse inspired -- it's really incredible, to look back. So incredible.
I want the magic of horses to be accessible to all. What can we do to help foster that?
What you might have done is allow programs like Work to Ride, that brought riding to the inner city youth in Philadelphia....sponsored by money raised through Plantation Field events...to continue and expand. Unfortunately, due to your misguided efforts, this program no longer exists, and these youth will no longer have the chance to experience riding.
Horse sports are expensive... it is not race or ethnicity, but the amount of money available that is the biggest obstacle to young people getting involved.
Horse sports are very inclusive...look at the amount of LGBTQ involvement..... Do you remember Sidney Poitiers daughter who was very successful in juniors, and Sylvia Johnson’s daughter( BLackEntertainment Television) who also competed on the FL circuit? They had the money to be able to afford the costs, their race did not stop them.
What you can do is stay out of the way!
I cannot emphasize how much damage losing Plantation Field will do to the small eventers...those who compete in Elementary, beginner novice, novice....they are done now, no other places within hours of driving distance offer these events done so well, so often. Every time these lower level events were run at Plantation Field, they would draw 500 entries or more. These people were young and old, on horses that they could afford.
Do you really appreciate how much irreparable damage you have done to the sport, the very people you say you are trying to help? I don’t think you do.
Sending the information to the New York Times was the last straw.
Sometimes you just have to live with the mistakes you make, and you have really made a big one. I don’t think you can fix it.
That land is gone as far as Eventing is concerned and you have tarnished the reputation of the sport and the people that have been running it.
I think you should take up another line of work as an activist as that seems to be your passion. The horse sports have no place for that, it is not needed.