Everyone has a dream. Some let go of this dream as soon as they step into their adulthood. Others stick to it a little longer and later turn into that resentful personality who resented the core act of believing in their dream.
There are only a few people who uphold their dreams, believe in them, and keep working for them until these people achieve these dreams. Every obstacle they face on their way towards their dreams acts as a catalyst for them put in more effort and determination.
They don’t lose hope!
Ranée James – Birth of a Dream!
Ranée James is one of those people who believed in their dreams. She found her love for horses at a very tender age and never let go of this love. Instead, she nurtured it. She didn’t stop here but also coerced her family to be more invested in her dreams. She can change the world with her dream – and she knows it!
Antigua – An Island of Sandy White Beaches
If you are a tourist, you must have known Antigua as an island with beautiful beaches. For Ranée, it’s more than that. It’s the foundation of her dream for being an Equestrian Olympian. This is the island that sparked the love of horses in Ranée. And this is the place that taught her to ride on them.
She wants to be a role model for the young, aspiring Olympians and equestrians of Antigua. By bringing home the gold, she believes she can inspire the younger generations to perverse in their dreams and go for it. At the same time, she hopes this achievement will influence the percentage of Blacks taking part in this sport to rise.
How It All Began
Like most huge dreams and memorable achievements, this dream of Ranée stemmed from her intrinsic goals and motivation. With almost no encouragement from the external environment, Ranée’s love for horses was the only reason that prompted her to take this sport seriously.
It may seem surprising but the first time Ranée ever came in close contact with a horse was at the age of nine years. Till then, she relied on videos and images of these quadrupeds to keep her motivated. Her love was so strong she would get excited whenever a horse or pony walked past her.
Her first encounter with a horse gifted her emotions of excitement and connection. She remembers the experience as incredible yet strange at the same time.
After her first encounter, she had to wait for another six years before she could get another lesson. Then she made it her life goal to commit her time and resources to her dream. This commitment manifested as her volunteering at stables for grooming and caring for horses and leading the riders through woods in exchange for some opportunities to ride on these magnificent creatures.
A White-Dominated Sport
Unfortunately, her experience at these stables wasn’t free from difficulties. You see, horse riding is a sport that is excessively dominated by White people. Then, because of the high costs that go into learning the skill, only elites can afford it. Because Ranée was neither from the elite sector of society nor she was white, she faced discrimination at the stables she visited.
First off, she had to bear racist behavior from riders, managers, and grooms. In her words people told her she didn’t belong there and that she shouldn’t come there.
One prominent event involved these people making her sit on a violent, un-groomed horse. This event put her under lots of stress as it could have meant an end to her life.
Another occasion where she was targeted only because of her race included her facing false accusations of abusing her loan horse. These accusations led her to lose her lease horse for good.
An Unwavering Hope and a Breakthrough
These events were disheartening, to say the least. Yet, Ranée persisted.
Her breakthrough came when she took a scholarship opportunity and moved back to Antigua. The equine environment was a little friendlier there as the number of Black people in this sport was relatively larger in Antigua than in London.
With her earnings from her job, she managed to afford weekly riding lessons and finally got the chance to transform into a phenomenal rider. She could see herself competing at Olympics with her riding skills.
Invasion of the Pandemic
Until late 2019 Ranée worked day and night on her goal to compete in Olympics. She manages her studies, weekly lessons, and coaching schedule without burning out. She had to put a pause to this routine because of her pregnancy.
Unfortunately, her return to her mission became more difficult because of the pandemic outbreak.
Antigua’s economy depends on tourism – an industry that has suffered most because of the pandemic. Although we are looking forward to brighter days, the economic outlook for most countries shows little room for development while the focus remains on rehabilitation.
This situation affected Ranée’s dream intensely. Now she has to rethink her finances to fulfill her dream of going for the gold.
Even with a newborn, pandemic, and lost earning streams, Ranée’s dream somehow managed to survive. She has set her eyes on the 2024 Olympics. According to her, the 2024 Olympics will only be the beginning of her career and her services to young equestrians in her country of origin. It will soon open doors for young Black Equestrians to enjoy the sport without bounds.
Consequently, she envisions a future where no aspiring equestrian has to look for financing to achieve their goals of competing and showing their skill.
Excitedly, she talks about the therapeutic side of this sport as well as the opportunity it offers the participants to collaborate and remain active.
Currently, she is running a crowdfunding campaign on MakeAChamp to fund her training sessions. Check it out here