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Getting Black In The Saddle
Episode 15th August 2022 • Black In The Saddle • Abriana Johnson
00:00:00 00:44:53

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What does it mean to be Black In The Saddle? After a summer hiatus, the podcast is back with a new name, a new feel, and a new energy. In this episode, Abriana talks about the transition to Black In The Saddle (BITS), her vision for the future of the podcast, and bringing along help to make it happen. Tune in to hear about new sponsorship and collaboration opportunities as well as how this season is dedicated to giving back to the communities that support us.

Connect with Key on Instagram @keyni.equestrian

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @blkinthesaddle


Abriana Johnson 0:00

Hey y'all, and welcome back to the black in the saddle podcast. I know I know you're probably sitting there like, wait, I clicked on the wrong podcast this morning, but no. Or this evening whenever you're listening to this, but no, you didn't. You didn't. The podcast young black equestrians is going through a rebrand. In this episode, I am going to talk about what sparked that rebrand. And where the vision is headed. Now, what does it mean? What does blackness that'll mean? And the new things coming up for this season? Okay, so stay tuned. And we're gonna get into it. All right, welcome back. There has been so much good energy and good vibes around the rebirth of this podcast. Now, you know, Beyonce just came out with a renaissance. And that's exactly the period that I am feeling like that I'm in. So I just want to welcome you back and share a moment of gratitude for you being here continuing to listen, continuing to support continuing to engage so that I know what kind of things that you're interested in, and how we can best support this community as a podcast, right. So I took a summer hiatus off of creating episodes. My last episode of the young black equestrian podcast was episode 100, which is a huge milestone, I am so excited about that. I feel like I started this podcast when there was a huge need of more equestrian black equestrian voices in this space. And that's exactly the need that was filled. Right. So over the summer hiatus, I learned a few things, I had some time to reflect. And I felt like my energy just was a little off towards the end of the season, I really felt like I was I should have enjoyed creating the content more than I did. Right. And so I know, from my own, you know, personal development, that true alignment is a feeling that you have, right? True alignment is when it feels good to say yes, it feels good to do the work, it feels good to show up. And I just wasn't I was I was off on that. I wasn't really feeling that towards the end of last season. And wanted to be in community with some people that I just felt like I was not there yet, right. And so over the summer, I took a break, I kinda lay low and watch the lay of the land and watch where we are as an industry and really just observed how other people moved and how things came to be. And I realized that I was not competent, or content in the box that I've placed myself in. Right. And if you know me, you know, surely doesn't like to be put in boxes, okay. But sometimes, we do that to ourselves, right? We say I've created this thing, this is how it should be. And don't always have time to self reflect and say, Okay, how can this be made better? How can this be different? And so I had a couple conversations over the summer, and I was like, you know, I'm just not sure that I can continue this. I'm just not sure. And the response I got was, you know, the work that you do is bigger than you. And I completely agree with that. But I don't believe in self martyrdom. I don't believe in this

sacrificial Energy that came with some of those comments like, you're not supposed to enjoy the work that you do, even if it's bigger than you. So with young black equestrians, I started to find that there were so many more people who wanted to engage, and wanted to connect. But they felt like because of the name of the podcast, it wasn't a space for them. And as a brand strategist, you know, back when I was a baby brand strategist, I didn't quite realize the impact that that would have. And you know, why B II was named, because that's what I felt like. And that in the podcast was created in response to a lot of just lack of support from an older generation. And so I created it, because that's what I felt like, right? That's, that's what, that's how I identified. But now, it's like now that I see the impact of building this community. I mean, not now that I see it. But now that I've had the time to really reflect in and realize where alignment is not happening. I knew that there had to be a change. I knew that there had to be some sort of different approach to this work, but I didn't want to lose everything that I had done so far. You know, 100 episodes, a lot of work. And so I, over the summer was thinking, just thinking like, what, I gotta do it differently. I got to do this differently. And I just need time to figure out how now, the name black in the saddle was one of those shower thoughts. I know you have those. Okay, I know you have those, you get in the shower, and you start thinking, or you started singing horribly at the top of your lungs. And you think, Wow, that's a good idea. And sometimes it may stick with you after you get up to shower. Sometimes it doesn't always, but this is one that stuck with me. And as a writer, as an author, I have this really just keen interest in words. And in plays on words and alliteration. I mean, I'm a kids children's book author. So these that's kind of how I think sometimes little catchy phrases and alliterative phrases, but black in the south, okay, maybe one day, and I want to say this is even before the last season ended. And that's just what it was. It was just thought like, Oh, that's cute, black and unsettle, like back in the saddle. And that was it. So over the summer, what it's August now, so in cash, it was this late June, early July, early July. That goes the first weekend in July, I went to Fort Worth, I went to Fort Worth to experience the bill Pickett rodeo for the first time. And it was a great time, y'all. It was a really good time to be in a space with my people. Watching these competitors do what they are passionate about and like hitting the Dougie and the NaeNae you know, as they're switching events, like being able to sing r&b oldies at the top of my lungs with an entire Coliseum while watching black competitors on horses do the doggone thing. That was beautiful. That was amazing. That was an incredible experience. And if you have not gone before, you absolutely need to. And so I'm capturing content, I'm capturing, you know, videos and pictures and you know, just connecting with some of the vendors like it was a good time. It was a really good time. And so

all summer I said this trip is going to inspire me to get no pun intended. Get back on the saddle. With young black equestrian, I am going to feel reinvigorated. I'm going to have such a positive energy coming from this trip. I went I bought me a pair of boots while I was down there. I went shopping did the touristy things. Shout out to my friend, Kevin. He drove me around, we did non touristy things locally, local things. It was it was a really good trip. It really truly was. But then when I got back home, I still felt like I was in a box. I still felt like I was stepping, I was standing in a room full of people. And still feeling alone. Do you have that feeling? Sometimes? It's kind of hard to explain. And I know you're like Abriana Girl, you talking about a podcast? Like get it together? That's truly how I felt myself. I was like, what? Like, why are we even feeling like this? This is your podcast, you created this, get it together. But if you know just telling yourself to get something together does not always make it gotten together. You begin enough when I'm laying down. So I sat on it. And I said, What is it going to take for me to feel good about this? What is it going to take for me to feel like this is something that I really enjoyed doing. And circling back to this comment that said, you know, your work is bigger than you. Absolutely, absolutely, that I can look at the analytics and see that we are, you know, in Germany and in Iceland, and Finland, I can see that there's listeners there, I can see that people are still engaging, and listening to episode from months years ago, I can see that I can see that the Facebook group is continuing to grow. But I don't believe that you should continue to do work if you're not happy. I believe that we can do work that's bigger than ourselves and still enjoy it. And if it's if the work gets to a point where we don't enjoy it, this life is too short to continue it even if it is bigger than you I think you should enjoy what you do. Period. So young black equestrians as it what is it going to take for me to feel good about this? So I looked at, I reflect it and I look back on all the things that all the comments because I'm a overthinker so I store things in my brain that make me feel like ah, but the comments of you know, I don't fit here, but I wanted to listen anyway. I don't identify as young but I think this is really cool. I don't know if this is for me. And I realized that I was starting to channel that. Right. I was starting to have those same thoughts myself. So I say you know what? We've got to get out of this container. Why we had a mazing run I am so proud of it. That is my first baby. Okay, it's my first baby. But it's time for up leveling. It is time for a renaissance you you can break much or you can break. Black in the saddle is here to stay now. What does it mean to get black in the saddle? I will tell you after this message from our sponsor.

Hey, barnyard besties. On August 13. We are going to be celebrating the first annual cowgirl Cameron day at Farmville Public Library. In North Carolina, we are going to have so much fun, there's going to be activities for the kids, there's going to be photobooth setups, they're going to be readings with encore. But we're also raising money for school supplies to support Pitt County students as they get prepared for this school year. So we have suggestions for school supplies to donate. Or if you want to donate funds to support us, purchasing school supplies for these students, feel free to visit cowgirl C-A-M-R-Y-N and we would love to be able to include you in our support for these kids as they prepare for their school year. So come join us August 13 11 to 1pm at Farmville Public Library. Can't wait to see you there.

All right. So what does it mean to give Black in a saddle? Now, like I said before, it's a little wordplay on back in the saddle. And, you know, because I am just so infatuated with the words. I said, let me look this up. Let me see what Miriam says, Let me see what Urban Dictionary says. Because, you know, they always say somebody, let me see what the consensus is, I know what I think this means. But let me see if there was like an origin or, you know, some kind of source or whatever. Well, basically, there isn't, you know, it's it hails from the times where people were riding horses more frequently, obviously, back in the West. And it's, it's basically, it's a phrase that embodies perseverance. It embodies the tenacity to get up and keep going, the the opportunity to have a new vision and have some grit, and get back to what you were doing in the first place. And not always, not always what you were doing in the first place. But get back into motion. Right, the direction can change. We know that ran horses, but getting back on getting back on the horse that you are riding today is so critical. We know that from from training, you know, if you fall off as long as you are, well, and the horses safe, you get back on, you get back on and that is the true embodiment of what it means to be a horse person. And so being a black person in this industry, I felt like I have had to get back on the saddle. Over and over and over again, I'm in a couple of industries where people like me, just are not frequent, right? I don't come across a lot of black horse women in the veterinary space. I don't come across a lot of black horse women in the brand development or marketing space that I know those things. Things seem grossly unrelated. But I'm an octopus, I don't know what to tell you. So, black in the saddle to me means that this is a reminder of what it took to get started and why I am dedicated to this work. Every time I fall in falter, I will get back on this saddle and the direction may change. The energy may change the speed may change. But I got that one. I got back on. And I kept going. And I did it. I dedicated my time, my effort, my energy and my passion to getting back on.

When I was in high school, we started a trail club trail riding club that lasted a couple of years. It was called in the saddle riders. And it just made me chuckle because it's kind of an homage to them as well. It's kind of an homage to My family who put me back in the saddle, if you remember my story, I started writing when I was seven. I stopped, and then started writing again when I was in high school, and and it just had a cousin was like you want to come to a trip? I'm like, sure. Know what that is? Or you know how to ride a horse? Yeah, never without seven. If I could do seven, I can do it. But I'm just telling you like, literally, right? It was different. And have you ever been to a black trail ride? You know, it was completely different than a seven year old. Arena lesson? Yeah. So. But my very first trail ride, they were like, Oh, my God, you are a cowgirl, you did. I mean, I fell into a gorge of water didn't come off my horse, like they were screaming at me. The whole nine, you can scroll back in the episodes to hear the very dramatic retelling of that story. But my family helped me get there back in the saddle and have a renewed passion for this. They put me in this environment that was so inviting, that was so family oriented. You know, despite despite what people say, on the internet, we have a really close knit group of people that we just enjoy going to trail rides with and have a good time. And so this is a little bit of a homage to them as well, because they put me back in this album. And they also believe I felt like something else that I noticed. And if you're in the if you're in the black in the saddle community, the Facebook community, you will, you will hear me say this on yesterday's August fireside chat, but there was a there was just some moments in social media time, where I felt like because it said young black equestrians white people, specifically, there were a couple of white women felt the need to explain or berate or comment in a space that was not for them or about them about things that were completely unrelated, but their own prerogative. And I felt like they thought that this might be something that was safe for them because it was a younger, that as a young, because I know they hadn't actually listened to any of the podcast. They felt like that was something that they could get away with scot free and not have any response to. And if you know me, and if you have listened to this podcast, you also know that that I that is not reality, right? Like I firmly I'm not gonna say aggressive because, you know, they try to say black woman aggressive all the time. But I want to be perfectly clear that this space, this content, this community, is for Black Horse men and women. I don't think that is it is our responsibility to carry the torch of diversity. I've even had to explain this with cowgirl camera in my children's book series. They say oh, wow, look, a little black cow girl that's so beautiful. Then you can introduce like a Mexican cowgirl and an Asian cowgirl and XYZ cow girl. And I just found it very funny. I'm like, all of these books about little white cow girls. Not once does someone say oh, you should introduce a little black cowgirl.

People don't have those conversations with white authors. Right? And I also don't believe in in creating experiences that I'm not proud of that I don't have. And so, the only way that there would be that kind of like overcrossing or introduction is if I was joined Co Op offering something with someone else, write someone who could speak to that lived experience, because what I write is a lived experience. And so yeah, some some people had me wrapped up. Some people, some people really was confused on the the type of energy that was coming from this podcast like, right? No, no, ma'am. Do not come on this platform, my platform that I built to detract from my message. I'm not that young. I'll be turning 30 This year out. 30. So I feel young. I don't know about y'all, but but we're still growing. We're still grown. And we're adults, and the internet's are the streets. Okay. So, you know, I just felt like there was some confusion on how people should have how they should conduct themselves on this platform, if they did not identify the same way I did. So I say you know what this name change is going to be a clear, a much clearer communication effort to say, who this is for. Anybody can enjoy it. But just know that when I am thinking of things to create what I'm thinking of conversations to have when I'm thinking of people to invite it is because I want the Black Horse community to benefit specifically from the information that is being shared. That's it. So let's get into some new things coming up this season. I talked about the rebrand. But I could not do this without the help. Of my new podcast, production assistant. Param Param, param param found shot shot shot. Key more if you are following us on Instagram or Facebook, you will have seen her introduction. Key actually has a episode with me on the podcast. Her full name is Kia more so you can you can go back and listen to Kia as episode and get to know her, you know, for an hour. But he is one of those people that I felt like has been in my back pocket or like looking, looking over my shoulder and just always being so supportive. I mean, engaging with content saying hey, I Brianna that link you posted shortly I don't work. And I'm like dang, girl. Thank you. I forgot. I didn't realize Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it. Because sometimes tech be tech and sometimes tech does not tick. Okay. And so she has always been there as you know, this guardian angel figure supporter that I am just, I was over the moon when I saw her application come through. She also was the first person to help me when I went on my first author signing, I went to a farmers market in Durham, I was invited by my friend Sydney. And I took encore with me and I said Dang, you know, sometimes I have to talk to myself. Hey, black woman. You can't do everything. NASA. Oh yeah, you're right. So I had to ask for him. And I asked if someone would be able to come help me with the horse handling aspects. So the AQa sign books.

st author signing, this is in:

. Sometimes it lasts for like:

some new merch that we're going to be able to enjoy together and really get back in the saddle in the street far right. Black in the pasture, black in the saddle in the pasture. So I appreciate everyone who has supported that. So far. I'm looking at my outline, and this is the last thing that I wanted to cover in this episode. This season for me is about giving back this season in my life this season in this podcast. It's about giving back to the community that has supported this so far. And the community that doesn't even know that it exists. But why wants to know, right? And so, when this podcast first started, it was really about creating community and connecting with this community. And then it turned into, you know, like, once we started growing, it was like, Oh my gosh, I did not know these people existed, I did not know these people existed, just like, dang, y'all. I know a lot of people. So let's bring all these people to existence to the forefront share their stories. And that was beautiful. That was beautiful.

But it started to become just like a very individualistic sharing of information, right. And, and that was appropriate. That was the need at the time to hear people's voices to hear people's stories.

And to see how they did this, and what they have going on, right. This season, I want to focus the content on community builders, and how they have found ways to give back to this community to create for this community, to connect with this community and to make an impact in these communities. I want to hear from people that have really been out there doing the work, because a lot of what I hear now is you know, people either looking for support, or people looking for someone to support. And so I want to connect, or draw the bridge between knowing and doing. There was a lot of knowing you learned about people previously in previous episodes. But now what can you do? Who can you support? How can you give back. That's what I plan on focusing on. So I'm really excited about that. And to bring you this content in this season. A couple changes that are going to be made this podcast used to be weekly. We are now going to a bi weekly, every other week. Schedule. So every other Friday, you will get a new episode. And I think that just fits for the time in my life right now and the amount of work that I have going on, but also allows me to be very intentional about the work that we're doing. It slows us down just a little bit. We I am so used to going so fast. It slows us down for just a moment. It allows time to savor the work that we're doing and to connect with people. Right. So that is new season things. Okay, that is what is going on for the podcast that you used to know as young black equestrians. But it is now black in the saddle podcast. So please, when you listen to this episode, let me know how you feel about this change. Let me know your thoughts. Let me know if this resonates with you. Let me know if you feel more connected to this. Renew renewed vision, this renewed ability, this this new space and let me know if there's anything and in particular that you want to talk to talk about. Bring it to the group. Bring it to the community. And let's have a conversation about it. Perfectly down, bringing the winner's circle Wednesday. I'm down, down for it all. Okay. All right. As always, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast player, Apple, Google, Stitcher, Spotify, whatever, and share this with a friend that you know, needs help getting black in the set. All right. Follow us on social media on Instagram and on Facebook. And I will see you in the next episode.

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