Across all kinds of different sports, athletes almost always share certain qualities. They’re often physically nifty and naturally fit. But there is a psychological aspect too – a certain tenacity, stubborn-mindedness, and gritty determination that makes them reach the top of any game they play. The same, of course, applies to the equestrian sport.
We all know about the love of all things equestrian from athletes in other sports (Sir Alex Ferguson stands out), but what about the other way around? And how might these sports be intertwined? Which skills can transfer across hobbies and sports? We’ll look into that, as we uncover 5 famous equestrians that have taken to other sports.
Ward is best known for his show-jumping prowess, for which he has three Olympic medals to show. In 2004, he won the gold medal for the U.S. in Athens. But did you know that he is also a keen basketball player and golfer? The show jumper has pointed out in Lohud.com how the age of elite golfers and equestrians is falling at the same rate, as younger riders and players get better access to training facilities and tech. In basketball, golf, and show jumping, it’s easy to see how a steady hand and a focussed mind will help take athletes to the very pinnacle.
American show-jumping supreme Margie Goldstein-Engle has earned her spot as the American Grandprix Association Rider of the Year an incredible ten times. But when she’s away from the circuit, it’s poker that takes her fancy. In fact, she likes the game so much that she even has a belt made up to look like a poker hand – it has a straight flush, no less, and might just bring her luck on the racing course. Interestingly, a Poker.org guide to how to win at the game lists a few skills that have likely been helpful to Goldstein-Engle in her riding competitions, such as limiting your range, checking your ego at the door, and staying cool.
Sir Mark Todd
So far, we’ve focused on different games and sports, but Sir Mark Todd is a set apart in his side hobby in farming. Hailing from New Zealand, he’s grown up in a green and picturesque land. And that’s perhaps why he has such green fingers. Voted Rider of the 20th Century by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, it all could have turned out different for Sir Mark, who pursued a career in farming before saddling up. Again, a steady hand and an eye for the aesthetic may have helped him in both gardening and dressage. And who knows what secret produce and superfoods he might have grown and fed to his horses.
This one’s a little closer to home. Fallon also tried his hand at flat race jockeying, which is an understated way of saying that he won the lot. He was British Champion Jockey an extraordinary six times, and his control of the horse at top speeds will have done wonders for his ability in other equestrian sports. This is a man who knows his way around a horse, which is a great way to shake off those horse show jitters. Our post on how to ‘Defy Horse Show Jitters’ has some great advice on doing just that.
Now, this one isn’t exactly a hobby, but we thought it worthy of a spot on the list. Gates is the daughter of that very famous Bill. While that’s not an impressive feat in itself, more impressively, Jennifer is enrolled in med school. She is also engaged to fellow equestrian Nayel Nassar, and the pair ride together for the Paris Panthers, as reported by BusinessInsider.com. She’s ambitious too: she wants to use her tremendous privilege to ‘make the world a better place’.