Bryony Frost has revealed she considered relocating to France in her first interview since an independent panel of the British Horseracing Authority ruled she had been bullied and harassed by fellow rider Robbie Dunne.
Dunne was last week given an 18-month ban, with three months suspended, after being found in breach of all four counts of conduct prejudicial to horse racing. The majority of the incidents in question took place in 2020, when Dunne – who is yet to confirm whether he will appeal – was found to have threatened Frost by promising to “put her through a wing (of a fence)” and he was also accused of using misogynistic language towards her. And speaking in the Sun on Tuesday, the 26-year-old revealed the extent of the turmoil she has suffered during the past 18 months.
“The world I was in was like ‘Take it on the chin, brush it under the carpet, it will be OK in time’. But it was increasing in momentum and getting worse,” said Frost. “There were times I thought life shouldn’t just be about day-to-day living. My last resort was taking it to the BHA. I knew it was never going to stop but I had to give something a go because it was getting worse.”
Frost admits a move across the Channel did cross her mind, but she ultimately felt tackling the problem head on was the right move. “There were times in all this when riding in France did turn my eye, and that would have been very easy for me to protect myself,” she added. “But what happens when there’s another person who goes through a similar scenario and I hadn’t done anything to help?
“In the end it came down to two things. There was the point of I don’t believe anyone should make anyone feel that way, that you’re not worthy of being who you are. And the main one was I wouldn’t be a decent human being if I one day saw someone go through what I did, knowing I could have done something to prevent it happening again. If I allowed it to happen I’d be going back on everything I stand for in my own rules of life, how you treat people. I didn’t want to see anyone go through what I did.”
Frost is critical of the role of the Professional Jockeys’ Association in the case, claiming: “They weren’t there for me and their system isn’t good enough. I felt like an inconvenience. There was no care or interest from them even when it reached the stage of the hearing. They just basically said that time would fix it. They wanted to ignore it until it went away. I don’t feel they saw what I was going through as being as serious as it was.
“They were meant to be neutral, they weren’t there to pick sides. It wasn’t about me versus Robbie Dunne, or about girls having to back girls, or trainers having to back trainers. It was about human beings – there has to be a line you can’t cross. You’re not going to get on with everyone but it’s about treating people with respect and dignity.”
Much has been made of the fact that in the hearing’s closing submissions, Louis Weston, representing the BHA, described the weighing room culture as “rancid”. The PJA has since rejected these claims, as have several jockeys. Frost said: “It’s important to say there are extremely professional, good people in the weighing room. They’re not all like that – far from it. Not everyone in there should be tarnished with that brush. There are lots of really good people inside.”