by Brianna Ballard
Imagine having a teammate who speaks a different language, has the mind of a toddler, and weighs 1500 pounds. Now imagine trusting this teammate with your life. Yep, sounds about right.
Every equestrian athlete has heard the phrase “you just sit there,” or even “it isn’t a real sport.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Riding isn’t only a sport, but an Olympic one. In fact, eventing, an event that combines multiple equestrian disciplines, is said to be one of the most dangerous sports, recording over 37 deaths in ten years. No matter the discipline, there is always a huge risk. It’s also the only Olympic sport where men and women compete against each other.
What makes this sport unique is the horse; they are big, unpredictable, and a huge responsibility. Riders are not only athletes, but trainers and caretakers. They are some of the strongest athletes around, training up to six or seven days a week, both in and out of the saddle. Time off is rare, but any rider will tell you that the connection with this animal is worth the dedication.
This sport is often scoffed at, but the truth is, nothing about it is easy.