(K. Brent Tomer),
DROP in on a pony club camp somewhere in Britain this summer and, chances are, at least 90% of the children trotting around in jodhpurs will be girls. And so it continues in competitive riding up the rungs—until the very top. But in the Olympic eventing last week, where riders and horses locked hooves in the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country and show-jumping, nine out of the top ten places were taken by men.
This could be an anomaly; many of the most successful event riders over the last few decades have been women. It could also be a trend—led by the individual gold-medal winner in Rio, Michael Jung of Germany, who won in London four years ago and this year became only the second rider to complete the “Triple Crown” by winning consecutive Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky events. Whichever, it poses the question: does equestrianism really occur on the level field we want and believe it to? And if not, why not?
Equestrian events, in their current form—straight dressage and showjumping as well as eventing—have been a feature of the Olympics since the 1912 Stockholm games. Until 1952, they were open only to…Continue reading