6 Iconic Equestrian Moments Every Rider Should Know
Everyone has that one moment of time which stands alone in sport. The one which ignited your passion, or inspired you to aim for greatness.
With so many different disciplines in equestrian sports from dressage, show jumping, racing and more; there have been many unforgettable moments throughout the years. Here are a few of our iconic moments for you to enjoy.
First Woman to be Crowned World Show Jumping Champion
Gill Greenhough wrote herself into the history books in the summer of 1986 by becoming Canada’s first world show jumping champion. However, she was not only the first North American to win the title but also the first woman as well.
Greenhough had been riding and competing in equestrian sports since the age of 11, but wasn’t to represent her country till she was 23 years of age. It was somewhat remarkable that with only three years of international competition experience, Greenhough then 26, was to put in the performance of a lifetime over five days. She rode Mr T to several clean rounds and—if that wasn’t enough— in the final she had to ride three of her four rounds on competitors’ horses to victory.
Mclain Gets His Moment
Mclain Ward first burst onto the scene by qualifying for the 1995 Jumping World Cup, finishing 10th as many predicted a bright future for the 19-year-old from New York. Such was his performance that it is almost unbelievable to think that the title would elude Ward for a few years, never mind what turned out to be more than two decades.
Mclain had a successful Olympic campaign with the 2016 US Olympic team where he earned a silver medal with mare, HH Azur. The pair competed later that year in the FEI Jumping World Cup in Omaha, Nebraska. They were just unrivalled and their performance brought the house down as Ward finally achieved his goal of becoming a Jumping World Cup winner.
Steinkraus Breaks America’s Olympic Medal Drought
Bill Steinkraus will forever be remembered as America’s first ever winner of an individual Olympic equestrian gold medal. He was widely regarded as one of the true greats of the sport and rode for the United States Equestrian Team in a 22-year international Equestrian career. Steinkraus picked up medals in 1952 and 1960 before being denied when his horse pulled up lame ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 with one week to go.
However, that disappointment only spurred him on; and in 1968, aboard 9-year-old gelding Snowbound, he tasted show jumping gold.
Best Mate Secures Historic Triple
In 2002 a new star of UK horse racing was born, Best Mate. Trained by Henrietta Knight, the seven-year-old raced to his first victory in the world-famous Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was a fantastic jumper, as proven by his record of never falling at a fence or hurdle; and he quickly became a fan favorite. His maiden victory was backed up a year later, and heading into 2004 all the talk was of a historic triple. He didn’t disappoint. Ridden by Jim Culloty, he achieved his third victory in 2004, resulting in the BBC naming him as one of the standout horses in UK racing history.
Secretariat’s Triple Crown
Secretariat’s win in the 1973 Belmont Stakes is definitely an iconic performance in the sport, and firmly positions him as one of the best racehorses in history. Not only did he seal a triple crown, winning by 31 lengths, his record-breaking time still stands. A horse racing infographic on Bwin Sports detailing the top 10 great racing moments includes this victory and it’s more than worthy of that accolade.
The Horse of the Century?
As the score of 92.3% was recorded in the 2009 FEI World Cup Dressage Series, it elevated Moorlands Totilas, the Dutch Warmblood stallion to another level. It was the third world record set that year by Totilas and rider Edward Gal. ‘Toto’ was a true phenomenon, who some considered the best horse not only of his generation, but of the century.
This is my list of iconic equestrian moments and I would like to know yours! Please comment below with your top iconic equestrian moments.