Being black in this world is a struggle but add being a black woman who is entering into a sport dominated by White men. Ms. Shariah Harris is set to be the first African-American woman to play in the high goal polo also known as the top-tier of the U.S. polo. Harris from Philadelphia began her polo career thanks to her mother’s accidental turn into the Work to Ride program. This program is a nonprofit that allows low-income kids to learn how to ride horses, help out in the stalls and in return maintain good grades. ABC News reported that Harris received an academic scholarship from Cornell where she plays collegiate polo.
Harris was given an opportunity that no one could turn down if it means it comes with the hateful “stares, the inappropriate comments and the whispering that comes with being a black woman playing polo can be discouraging at times, but it won’t stop her from riding.”
Lezlie Hiner, who runs the program, said who had never seen a horse in person before, eventually became a star pupil. She was a “tough as nails” kid who would literally fall off a horse and get right back on.
“And she actually does fall off a lot,” Hiner said. “She takes some headers, but she just goes for it and keeps on going.”
Harris, who was named the U.S. Polo Association’s 2016 national interscholastic player of the year, credits the program with giving her direction. To stay in Work to Ride, kids have to keep their grades up. Harris ended up earning academic scholarships to attend Cornell. She helped the school’s arena polo team to the national semifinals this year.