As its international women’s day I thought I’d share with you some women in the equestrian sport past and present who have been an inspiration to me and who I admire.
One women who we cant ignore that shaped history for women everywhere was Emily Davison (although not exactly equestrian), her act on 8th June 1913 when she jumped in front of the queens horse at the Epsom derby changed history for women everywhere.
A pioneer in the field of horse racing in 1970 Diane Crump became the first female jockey in the UK to partner a winner on may 6th 1972. It was th first time female jockeys were allowed to race. Hayley Turner and Lizzie Kelly are among the most successful female jockeys of recent times.
In 1956 Pat Smythe became the first British female showjumper to compete at an olympics. She helped Great Britain too win team bronze. There are so many fantastic female riders in showjumping now a days but a few of my favourites include Ellen Whitaker, Emily Moffit, Laura Renwick to name a few.
Shiela Wilcox was the first British lady event rider to achieve international success when she won team and individual gold medals at the 1957 European championships. Lorna Clarke was also an amazing eventer and completed badminton an amazing 22 times between 1967 and 1989. Other successful female eventer’s include Ginny Elliott who won Burghley 5 times, badminton 3 times and sh also helped secure double olympic bronze and team silver for Britain at the Los Angeles and Seoul olympics. Pippa Funnell was the first rider to win the elusive Rolex grand slam of badminton, Burghley and Kentucky. Some other amazing women in eventing who I admire Mary King, Tina Cook, Nicola Wilson.
Jennie Loriston-Clark is one of the greats from the world of dressage, she rode at 3 Olympic Games. Sh took over the running of Catherston stud in 1966 and is the current chairwoman of British dressage. Charlotte Dujardin has changed the sport of dressage and made history by becoming the most successful british dressage rider, she was triple gold medalist at both London and Rio olympics, European champion, world champion and holds all 3 world records in the sport of dressage.
As well as all the great female riders I have mentioned 2 other women who I admire and have inspired me in the world of horses are Clare Balding and the Queen.
As well as the women of the horse world lets not forget the mares who have helped shape the sport, a few of my favourites from history and today,
• Regret – she was the first filly to win the Kentucky derby in 1914
• Headley Britannia – the little mare with a big heart, she won Burghley in 2006 and was the first mare to do so in 33 years.
• Black caviar – a race horse who was undefeated in 25 races
• Burmese – she was the queens cavalry horse
• Kings temptress – Mary kings mare with whom she won Kentucky on in 2011
• DV stenkjers Nadonna – Gareth Hughes partnered this mare to team silver at the 2014 world equestrian games
• Half moon Delphi – Michael Eilberg’s partner who also helped Great Britain to team silver at WEG 2014
• Atterupgaards Orthilia – Fiona Bigwood’s (now sold) mare with who she rode at the 2016 Rio olympics
As well as riders and horses it’s important that we recognise and celebrate all women involved with the sport around the world. So whether you are a rider, groom, owner, breeder, show organiser, show secretary, judge, support team or just a fan happy international women’s day!