Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Rarely, but sometimes, you run into a riding event on television. I came across one the other day of international show jumping. Riders were from all over the world, men and women, and their ages ranged from the 20s to Ian Millar at 70. How many sports can you say that about? I remember watching Ian Millar and his wonderful horse, Big Ben, when they began competing in 1984. They went on to win more than 40 Grand Prix titles! As riders, you become part of a sport that keeps you around for as long as you like.
If you want to remain at the top of the heap of your discipline, prepare to live like a rodeo cowboy moving with the tour to the next big show - only this one is international! I just finished reading Jack Le Goff's book after George Morris's autobiography. These two have passports that must look like encyclopedias! It's necessary at that level. I can't imagine what it must be like to maintain horses in training, manage a business and compete internationally. One naturally becomes, or already is, quite a rolling stone.
And how many talented riders gave up the frantic pace of the international scene, or never entered it in the first place? Obviously it takes a lot of money to compete. You have to have the right horse (s), you have to have the talent and ability, you have to have the desire, and you can't have any responsibilities that would keep you in one place. That's a lot of factors. Like many young riders, I had dreams of riding in the Olympics. With role models over 70, we can keep those dreams alive. What an awesome sport!