GENDER Equestrian is the only Olympic sport where men and women compete equally. National teams are composed of both men and women. The horse is the equalizer. Below two riders, same jump. On the left a female rider and on the right a male rider.
AGE Most top level athletes are young .When they reach their mid thirties they are referred to as “old” and there is much discussion about whether or not they can still be winners. But in equestrian sport riders are still competing at top levels into their seventies. Japanese dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu was the oldest athlete in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In London 2012 he was 70 years old. This past winter I did a series of posts about 70 year old women dressage riders including Janne Rumbough who is still competing in Grand Prix dressage at the age of 75.
INJURY Here in Ontario we have all been transfixed with the NBA finals and the Toronto team, the Raptors, clinched the Championship with the first win ever for a Canadian team. In game five of the championship series, Kevin Durant, one of the star players from the opposing team, sustained a ruptured achilles tendon. The media has discussed whether or not this could be a career ending injury for him. There is a Canadian equestrian, Olympian show jumper Eric Lamaze, who is fighting cancer. He has a brain tumor. This is a very serious form of “injury”. He had to take some time off but came back to win at the biggest of competitions at Spruce Meadows. After winning the RBC Grand Prix of Canada he was asked how he felt. He said that when he had woken up that morning he had not expected to win but that was what a great horse could do for you. “When you don’t have the fight in you they fight for you,” he told the interviewer. There is no question that Lamaze is a fighter but he attributes his win to his horse Chacco Kid . The horse was the equalizer.
Here is a short video of Lamaze riding the jump off. His horse Chacco Kid goes like the wind and jumps fast and clean. Also in the video American rider Beezie Madden and Swiss rider Steve Guerdat. They were all vying for the win. Men, women, aged or injured the horse is the equalizer.