Eight year old equestrian jumps to new heights
When some think of images of success for our young daughters, we often see the Beyonces’, Rhiannas’ or the Nikki Minajs’ of the future. We might never consider the Donna Cheeks’ of the future. She was the first Black female equestrian to compete and win a medal in the Olympics.
Our daughter Sumayyah has been riding for about a year and a half. She won first place and champion in her first competition after only riding for about four months; the judge called her a natural. Since riding, she wants to be a veterinarian or horse trainer and has aspirations of competing in the Olympics.
Riding gives Sumayyah a confidence and sense of accomplishment. Years ago, she was afraid to even pet a horse let alone ride although she seemed to love the beauty of horses.
She started off on leadline and post and trot now she has advanced to hunter jumper and jumps foot and half cross rails. As she advances to canter, she will soon be jumping higher hurdles.
Riding takes discipline, confidence and focus as well as determination. Sumayyah has developed greatly in her confidence just from riding in such a short time.
She has demonstrated love and determination even after her first fall performing a jump. She got right back up on the horse and continued to ride and jump again.
8 year old Sumayyah Muhammad controls her horse as they perform a jump.
As with any other sport, bumps and bruises are a part of the business, but if you have focus and determination to be great, you can’t let that deter you. Young Sumayyah has proven she will not be easily deterred. This little 45–pound young lady shows she is the one in control of the 1,000–pound horse. She displays control when the horse wants to do its own thing by quickly and confidently showing the horse who is boss.
There are other young, Black female equestrians, but not many, still slowly but surely more are on the rise. It is a wonderful thing to see our young girls competing and doing things outside of dancing and singing.
We are now looking for land in Virginia to start an equestrian center—which Sumayyah decided to name “Olympian Equestrian Center”—for young Black riders, male and female to further introduce the sport to our youth.