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 horseracing.
The majority of the incidents in question took place in 2020, when Dunne was found by the panel to have threatened Frost by promising to “put her through a wing (of a fence)” and he was also accused of using misogynistic language such as “f****** whore”, “f****** slut” and “dangerous c***” towards her.
Following Thursday’s verdict, Frost said in a statement she would “take a few days to reflect” before commenting further.
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, rather than running away from it, was the right move.
She added: “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.
“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.
“And I’m discovering there are people, not just jockeys, but general public, lads and lasses, everyone, who have been made to feel similar.
“So what I have gone through and had to do has been worth it if it helps less people feel the way I have and they have. I don’t just mean in sport, but in life.”
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.”
She added: “They (PJA) are the jockeys’ voice, there to help all the members, but one of the PJA heads likened my scenario to his having a spat with a local cricket player in a Sunday afternoon village game.
“He said it was the same and we should just get on with it. The PJA are underwater, they’re drowning and not accepting they are.
“But as a system we have to accept that you can’t shout at someone like that.
“Yes there is a lot of adrenalin, emotion and pressure that can cause people to lose their characteristics. And I don’t just mean in the weighing room but everywhere within the sport.
“You get more respect trying to teach people by not shouting and calling names and making fun of them. You get more respect by educating people. They will learn and progress in their job.
“I am hoping the authorities can now go on and do their jobs. Not by putting a piece of paper in the weighing room saying, ‘Call this number,‘ but to offer proper help.”
Much has been made of the fact that in the closing submissions of the hearing, 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.”
The rider is now hoping for a brighter future — and revealed she has already noticed a difference in the attitudes towards her in the weighing room.
Frost added: “What do I want for myself? I just want to enjoy my riding, I want to move forward — I just want to be me.
“I’ve already been made to feel I am part of the weighing room, they do want me to sit down and have a cup of tea with them.
“I haven’t felt like that for some time.”