Gender, Age, Injury: the horse is the equalizer!

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.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. kunstkitchen says:

    Thanks for this inspiring post about age and injury. Really inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I am glad you found it inspiring. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lignum Draco says:

    That’s very inspirational about Eric Lamaze. Equestrian seems like a true team sport – horse and rider.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are right it is a team sport. Horses understand us better than we know. Thank you for this comment.

      Like

  3. David says:

    When I talk with my non-equestrian friends, which are most of them, they ask if my daughters compete in the women’s division. I say they don’t. It’s the one sport in which there is total equality. And, what makes it better, every rider competes on a level playing field. There have been times when the total unknown has “upset” the world’s best. My daughter Deborah calls it the NFL effect, “on any given Sunday”. Or, Saturday in many cases.

    And, riding with injuries, my daughters have done it. Deborah rode her first season as a junior with a sprained MCL and ACL – just needed a little help mounting up. Elizabeth rode a national show with a badly bruised foot after Lilith stepped on her during the unload. The hard part was getting her right boot on and off. Then, Tara rode half a summer with hairline fracture in her left wrist. She said it hurt like the dickens making turns.

    You gotta love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Bravo to your young women. They are warrior riders! I love it.

      Like

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    These are pretty amazing points you make. Makes you wonder why so few women race horses…its not down to their ability, I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think there are some now but that is an old school thing in racing. Certainly all the men are starved into skeletal thinness so it is not about women not being strong and big enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alli Farkas says:

    So gratifying to see that Eric found such a wonderful horse after the loss of Hickstead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is . He has more than one really good horse which is nice. I hope he will be able to recover from this health situation.

      Like

  6. It is so true that the equestrian sport is one of the few where age doesn’t really matter. It’s on my bucket list to ride the worlds toughest endurance race one day. Mr. “Potato Richardson” have won, and placed in the top many times. The last time 2015, he won at age 72! I’ve met him, he is quiet the character! https://potatorichardson.com/tevis-cup/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Wow! That is amazing. Thanks for the link.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. map195 says:

    nice article…thanks for share

    Liked by 1 person

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