More Horse Historical

by kpmautner

In 1986, I was in England on an exchange program (another story, another time). I was fortunate that I was able to get to Hickstead to watch the grand prix competition. The USA had sent a young team, all women (more on that in a minute), to get some seasoning on the international circuit. I got the impression that it was more for the experience than in the real hope that they’d do some serious winning (but that’s impression, not fact).

At the time, women were not considered major threats on the international jumper circuits (forgetting of course Kathy Kusner, Mary Chapot, Marion Coakes, Anneli Drummond-Haye, Pat Smythe and assorted others, but there was still the unspoken thought). And of the four US team, 3 were in their very first international trip. Katie Monahan (now Prudent) was the only rider with international experience and was acting sort of as team chaperone.

Anyway, so it comes down to the Nation’s Cup. Each team (these were the rules in operation then – they might have changed since but that’s not in issue here) fielded 4 rides and each did 2 rounds. One score could be dropped. Katie was to ride last. The other 3 went clear in the first round, and she chose not to ride, saving the horse for another class later, as the drop score. Second round. All 3 young ‘uns went clear. Katie did not ride. USA won the class.

What I enjoyed most was the Horse & Hound concerened commentary the next week about the US JV team that was burning the best the rest had to offer, and their (USA’s) star rider didn’t even participate. Well done kids!