It’s great to see historically marginalized equestrians begin to get some comeuppance on the Olympic stage. That includes racial and ethnic minority groups as well women, who until relatively recently weren’t even allowed to compete in the Olympic eventing. It wasn’t until the 1964 Games — which, coincidentally, were also held in Tokyo — that the sport of eventing would see its first female Olympian. Lana duPont rode her Maryland-bred Thoroughbred, Mr Wister, to a podium finished, having helped the USA to a team silver medal.
Their competition wasn’t without dramas. Recalling her cross-country round, Lana said: “We fell hard, Wister breaking several bones in his jaw. We were badly disheveled and shaken, but Wister was nonetheless eager to continue. We fell a second time near the end of the course, tripping over another spread. When we finished, we were a collection of bruises, broken bones and mud. Anyway, we proved that a woman could get around an Olympic cross-country course, and nobody could have said that we looked feminine at the finish.”
Equestrian sport often pats itself on the back for putting women and men on a level competitive playing field, but systemic inequality and disparities still exist. Watching Julia Krajewski win individual gold yesterday, I was telling my husband of the many obstacles she had overcome just to get to the Games, much less fight her way to the highest step on the podium, including the loss of her champion partner Chipmunk FRH when he was purchased (by the German Olympic Committee for Equestrian Sports, no less) to give to Michael Jung.
“Wait,” he said incredulously. “Are you telling me the German Equestrian Federation bought the best horse out from under this woman who just won gold to give it to a man who won … ?”
Mmmhmmm. We’re certainly making strides, but there’s a long way still to go.
Holiday: National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
The U.S. Center for SafeSport has found international show jumping champion Rich Fellers ineligible to participate in the sport. On July 16, SafeSport changed Fellers’s status to “ineligible,” listing his misconduct as “criminal disposition; criminal disposition involving a minor; criminal disposition-sexual misconduct.” Rich was arrested June 7 on four counts of second-degree sexual abuse by the Tualatin (Oregon) Police Department after he was indicted by a grand jury. [Chronicle of the Horse]
Prizes, prizes, prizes! Hundreds of thousands of dollars are up for grabs at the 2021 AEC. The event is just a month away and will take place Aug. 31 – Sept. 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park. [USEA] On a related note, Piedmont Equine is partnering with the 2021 MARS Great Meadow International to provide prize money to U25 Riders. That event takes place in The Plains, Virginia on August 19-22, 2021 and offers CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and Preliminary divisions. [USEA]
Onward to Olympic show jumping! Qualification is done and the top 30 will move forward to fight for the Individual medals tomorrow. The biggest surprise of the night was that not a single member of the crack American side have made it through. Jessica Springsteen (Don Juan van de Donkhoeve) and Kent Farrington (Gazelle) collected four faults each while Laura Kraut (Baloutine) collected eight. They won’t be in action again until the Team competition begins on Friday. Full report on EN to come soon. [Live Scores]