The Equestrians of Color Photography Project: Ateasha Baltodano and Josh Boggs

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Ateasha Baltodano. Photo by Purple Horse Designs & Photography

The Plaid Horse is proud to introduce some of the photo project’s featured equestrians to our readers in each issue

In 2020, a group of photographers came together to create the Equestrians of Color Photography Project, a weekly blog that promotes inclusion and amplifies the voices of equestrians of color ready to openly share their story with the community. Learn more at equestriansofcolor.com.

The Equestrian: Ateasha Baltodano

The photographer: Purple Horse Designs & Photography

Learn more at equestriansofcolor.com/ateasha-baltodano

How did you get into horses and what is your current relationship with them?

I started my journey with horses at 11 years old. My mother used to be a hot walker at the Atlantic City Race track, as well as a trail ride instructor when she was a teenager. Her love for horses rubbed off on me. Having horses growing up was something we bonded over. I left the horse world during my high school years and started up again when our youngest daughter begged to get her first pony. Five years later, we now own a horse farm and have our own herd. My husband and my two daughters also ride. It’s a family affair.

How has your culture influenced your equestrian lifestyle?

Honestly, when I was growing up in the 4-H, I was the only member that looked like me. There wasn’t anyone in the English world I could look up to. But now, things are really changing. With social media, we can connect with so many people and are able to see our own culture living, working, and changing the equestrian world…creating our own equestrian lifestyle.

The Equestrian: Josh Boggs

The photographer: Purple Horse Designs & Photography

Learn more at equestriansofcolor.com/josh-boggs

What words of encouragement would you have for other equestrians of color or people of color considering becoming equestrians?

It’s going to get tough, I’m not going to lie. Just keep pushing through. If someone says you can’t do it, just prove them wrong. Don’t let others tell you what you can and cannot do. Prove to them that you can do anything that anybody else can do.

There will be a lot of moments of, ‘I don’t get it. I don’t know what to do. I can’t do it.’ But don’t give up if something gets difficult. I’ll try to ask questions if I’m stuck on a movement, or can’t get something right. If my plan isn’t working, I’ll ask my trainer what I can do to fix the problem.

I remember a ride where I wanted to hop off and give up. Me and my horse just weren’t clicking. He was darting at everything, I couldn’t hold him back. My trainer and I were going back and forth. It was one of those really frustrating rides where nothing is going right.

But you have to remember, the horse is still trying to do his job. Remember he’s doing his best and we just have to figure things out. But of course, I was like, ‘I can’t ride him. I’m not good enough for this horse.’ I was going through a real rut. We ended up figuring out it was the saddle that was making his back hurt and once that was fixed, I was like, wow, this horse is a lot of fun.

You’re always learning, and it doesn’t get old. You think you learn one thing, then you learn eight more things on top of it to help improve what you just learned. Hard work will continue to pay off. 

Share your story

If you are an equestrian of color (16 years or older) interested in sharing your story through The Equestrians of Color Photography Project, you can connect with a local photographer ally via the project website: equestriansofcolor.com.


*This story was originally published in the December 2022 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!

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