Equestrian Sports Are On Forefront Of Gender Equality
Do men and women ever compete in the same sports? Yes, but not very often! Sports usually segregate the competitors by sex. However, in equestrian sports, men and women compete against each other all the time and in different disciplines.
From the rings of the hunter/jumper shows to the racetracks of the thoroughbreds, men and women compete side by side. Equestrian athletes must focus on much more than just strength, including the finesse of riding and partnering with an animal weighing over 1,200 pounds.
Let’s take a look at the recent $25,000 WEC Grand Prix Showjumping competitions at the World Equestrian Center’s new indoor arena in Wilmington, Ohio. Like many of the various equestrian sporting events held there, this competition was open to men and women. The Saturday evening competition was ladies night for winner Megan Bash and her Pourkopia Fontaine partner, delivering two clear, quick rounds to secure the win against three teams of horse and rider. Megan’s competitors were men and she beat them all.
Showjumping, like the competitions at WEC and riding in general, isn’t about strength, it’s about confidence, finesse and communication with the rider’s four-legged partner. Each horse, like people, has their own personality so matching the right horse with the right type of rider is the art. Some horses prefer a delicate rider while other horses prefer stronger riders. It just depends on the horse’s preference.
There are many different disciplines involving horses, but only three disciplines make it into the Olympic competitions: eventing, show jumping and dressage. One of the most traditional Olympic sports, which was open only to men until the 1950’s, equestrian is now the sport that most promotes gender equality.
And although other Olympic sports may have mixed events, alongside the men’s and women’s competitions, the equestrian sports competitions are the only ones in which all the medals are competed for on equal terms by both men and women.
With plans in the works for the new World Equestrian Center at Golden Ocala, you can expect a variety of equestrian events that will be open to both men and women competitors. Follow us on social media for the latest developments.