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View Full Version : Kathy Kusner in COTH



riderboy
Feb. 20, 2010, 10:41 PM
Although a show jumper, I remember Denny using Kathy Kusner as an example of classically correct form and function at Camp a few years ago. And using her expression " don't go forward more than you need to not get left behind." Jeez, I hope I got that right! Anyway, a fabulous article about her in the latest COTH.

retreadeventer
Feb. 21, 2010, 08:58 AM
About every 10 years she gets some press for some reason. IMHO there are lots of really great horse people out there doing more than she is and deserve more ink. And speaking from first-hand knowledge, having met and interviewed said person in the past. Not news.

riderboy
Feb. 21, 2010, 01:27 PM
I don't really know the politics of upper level/Olympic riders and I'm glad I don't. Kathy was held up as a stylish, classic rider that could possibly through example help me become a better rider. I thought the article was good too, she seems like a very interesting ,accomplished person. Perhaps it is a bit "unfair" that she gets more press coverage than other deserving riders, I don't know. As we all know, there is very little about life that is fair. And that's not always bad. If life were totally fair someone smarter than me woud have my job, and someone better looking and richer than me would have married my wife!

flutie1
Feb. 21, 2010, 01:31 PM
About every 10 years she gets some press for some reason. IMHO there are lots of really great horse people out there doing more than she is and deserve more ink. And speaking from first-hand knowledge, having met and interviewed said person in the past. Not news.

I disagree with your assessment Retread. i too have met and interviewed Kathy and found her both dedicated and interesting. She was an enormous talent in her day, and her inner city program in L.A. was innovative and useful to many young and largely forgotten lives.

VicariousRider
Feb. 21, 2010, 03:15 PM
She was an enormous talent in her day, and her inner city program in L.A. was innovative and useful to many young and largely forgotten lives.

THIS is true. She was a pioneer for women in the world of horse sports (especially racing) and the Horses in the Hood was also groundbreaking.

1. The Olympic thread is simultaneously bemoaning the fact that it takes so much money to get to the top of this sport. The truth is that for MOST people it takes a ton of money to get IN to the sport. Kusner has made horses accessible to a group of people who otherwise would not have access to them. That, IMHO, does not get ENOUGH press!

2. 10 years is considered a generation. There are a lot of people in this forum who express their disappointment that the "younger generation" doesn't know anything about or appreciate the history of horse sports in America. Kusner was a part of that history.

pluvinel
Feb. 21, 2010, 03:23 PM
About every 10 years she gets some press for some reason. IMHO there are lots of really great horse people out there doing more than she is and deserve more ink. And speaking from first-hand knowledge, having met and interviewed said person in the past. Not news.
Perhaps you don't know her history.....or the history of eventing and that for many years women weren't allowed to ride in 3-day as it was "too dangerous" for the little ladies.

Kusner's pioneering efforts are the reason female jockeys are now granted licenses to race horses. She was a successful jockey on the flat. She was a successful steeplechase jockey. She was a member of the USET Olympic squad and a successful show jumper.

She has nothing to prove to anyone. I have not seen the COTH article as the pony express has not arrived. Considering that the majority of event riders are women, perhaps its good that she resurfaces periodically. People need to be reminded of what it took to let the current generation do what they take for granted and to remind folks of the equestrian talent of the top level riders of any generation.

She rode anything she could get her hands on......and won.....at multiple equestrian disciplines. That's what makes a rider worthy of being sponsored at the highest levels.

denny
Feb. 21, 2010, 04:41 PM
Anyone who belittles Kathy in any way, I can absolutely guarantee you they never watched her ride.

flutie1
Feb. 21, 2010, 05:01 PM
About every 10 years she gets some press for some reason. IMHO there are lots of really great horse people out there doing more than she is and deserve more ink. And speaking from first-hand knowledge, having met and interviewed said person in the past. Not news.


Anyone who belittles Kathy in any way, I can absolutely guarantee you they never watched her ride.

Damn straight. She was one in a million. Still is!

3dazey
Feb. 21, 2010, 05:27 PM
I had the pleasure of watching her ride in Madison Square Garden when the National was held there, and when I was a little young thing. :eek:

I absolutely idolized her. She was this tiny, brilliant rider on these gigantic creatures leaping things that made my head spin...and one of the few females riding Grand Prix level.

I'll never forget that. :sadsmile:

magnolia73
Feb. 21, 2010, 06:57 PM
About every 10 years she gets some press for some reason. IMHO there are lots of really great horse people out there doing more than she is and deserve more ink. And speaking from first-hand knowledge, having met and interviewed said person in the past. Not news

It may not be news to you, but I have always admired her efforts to bring riding (and all the positives it brings) to kids who don't have much else.

On top of that, it is always wonderful for me to read about women who accomplished much back in the day- its inspiring and she lead the way for many. I'll always take the time to read about a classic, historically relevant sportsman, even if it gets repetitive.

It takes a lot of errr...cajones to be so petty.

cssutton
Feb. 21, 2010, 07:04 PM
It takes a lot of errr...meow to be so petty.

There. I fixed it for you.

CSSJR

retreadeventer
Feb. 21, 2010, 08:21 PM
There are other horses in the hood programs. Hers was not the first. The people doing them are every bit as dedicated and perhaps not as accomplished. But very worthy of press nonetheless. There are such programs in NY, Philly, Baltimore, Wash. DC and more I am sure I haven't heard of yet. Because they all may not have a USET rider helping them, or haven't been featured in COTH, doesn't mean they are not as important her program, or as effective, or as needy.

There are great and accomplished horse people all over this country. For example: can we talk about people like Jane Cory who promoted eventing on her own place for a couple of decades, sold that, and now stepped in and helps at Jersey Fresh. Why without her, and an incredible effort last year to fund the course and event, the US would have lost a major event. Last year, not 30-40 years ago. And there are more. Many more. Our own LAZ for example, who took an idea from some place else in the country and made it work for her region when everyone said it wouldn't work, last year. (The Indiana T3D). These people are working for our sport right now, today. I'd like to read about these people, too.

Kathy was not an eventer to my knowledge. I am not old enough to have seen her ride, that was many decades ago (maybe 30 or 40 years?). I have seen beautiful pictures. When I knew her she did not ride.

Nothing against her. Not being catty. Just wondering about the relevance.

grayarabpony
Feb. 21, 2010, 08:38 PM
There are other horses in the hood programs. Hers was not the first. The people doing them are every bit as dedicated and perhaps not as accomplished. But very worthy of press nonetheless. There are such programs in NY, Philly, Baltimore, Wash. DC and more I am sure I haven't heard of yet. Because they all may not have a USET rider helping them, or haven't been featured in COTH, doesn't mean they are not as important her program, or as effective, or as needy.

There are great and accomplished horse people all over this country. For example: can we talk about people like Jane Cory who promoted eventing on her own place for a couple of decades, sold that, and now stepped in and helps at Jersey Fresh. Why without her, and an incredible effort last year to fund the course and event, the US would have lost a major event. Last year, not 30-40 years ago. And there are more. Many more. Our own LAZ for example, who took an idea from some place else in the country and made it work for her region when everyone said it wouldn't work, last year. (The Indiana T3D). These people are working for our sport right now, today. I'd like to read about these people, too.

Kathy was not an eventer to my knowledge. I am not old enough to have seen her ride, that was many decades ago (maybe 30 or 40 years?). I have seen beautiful pictures. When I knew her she did not ride.

Nothing against her. Not being catty. Just wondering about the relevance.

In bold -- because the past affects the present, maybe? In any case, it's the first article I've seen on her in COTH.

I thought it was one of the best articles I've read in COTH in a long time. Would you be happier if this thread was posted in the Hunter/jumper forum?

pluvinel
Feb. 21, 2010, 09:02 PM
There are other horses in the hood programs. Hers was not the first. The people doing them are every bit as dedicated and perhaps not as accomplished. But very worthy of press nonetheless. There are such programs in NY, Philly, Baltimore, Wash. DC and more I am sure I haven't heard of yet. Because they all may not have a USET rider helping them, or haven't been featured in COTH, doesn't mean they are not as important her program, or as effective, or as needy.

There are great and accomplished horse people all over this country. For example: can we talk about people like Jane Cory who promoted eventing on her own place for a couple of decades, sold that, and now stepped in and helps at Jersey Fresh. Why without her, and an incredible effort last year to fund the course and event, the US would have lost a major event. Last year, not 30-40 years ago. And there are more. Many more. Our own LAZ for example, who took an idea from some place else in the country and made it work for her region when everyone said it wouldn't work, last year. (The Indiana T3D). These people are working for our sport right now, today. I'd like to read about these people, too.

Kathy was not an eventer to my knowledge. I am not old enough to have seen her ride, that was many decades ago (maybe 30 or 40 years?). I have seen beautiful pictures. When I knew her she did not ride.

Nothing against her. Not being catty. Just wondering about the relevance.
The relevance is she was the first to challenge "the system" to allow women to get licensed to ride as flat jockeys and steeplechase jockeys.....and won that fight because she was so good that people went to bat for her. The relevance is that she rode successfully in every equestrian discipline....as a jockey on the flat, as a jockey over timber, as a jumper rider in the Olympics, as a jumper rider in puissance classes.....and did this exceptionally well.....methinks you have no clue what this lady did. Horses in the Hood is just a small part of her legacy.

Sorry.....the relevance is that this lady broke a lot of ground that is important still today. The fact that you and other women can ride in cross country competitions today is in no small part due to this rider's efforts.

riderboy
Feb. 21, 2010, 09:34 PM
Well, actually the "relevance" happens to be, as I said, that Denny Emerson held Kathy up as an example of how we, as eventers, need to show jump. That is one of our three phases, is it not. Denny has long derided the current "praying mantis" form over fences so popular in the H/J world. I learn by example from people smarter and better than me. Denny is one, Kathy is another.

pluvinel
Feb. 21, 2010, 10:17 PM
For me, the relevance isn't so much in the jumping. It is the fact that she was so successful at so many disciplines. And ever the feminist, that she broke gender barriers in horse racing.

For eventers, her relevance is she was a successful flat and steeplechase jockey. If I recall, Bruce Davidson used to recommend that aspiring eventers go off to learn to be comfortable at a gallop and spend time as exercise riders and fox hunters. Jumping big fences at speed and galloping over mixed terrain seem to be key skills for eventers.....along with the stadium jumping, of course.

VicariousRider
Feb. 21, 2010, 11:44 PM
There are other horses in the hood programs.
I am aware of that. I have awarded prizes to the "Work to Ride" kids in Philly. Isn't it GREAT that Kusner has brought so much publicity and funding to these types of programs?


There are great and accomplished horse people all over this country.
Maybe you should suggest these topics to the COTH. Kusner is a legend and totally worthy of the page space IMHO. I would be happy to see those articles as well but not at the expense of ever celebrating those who came before.

Davignport
Feb. 22, 2010, 12:29 AM
I was lucky enough to see Kathy Kusner ride at the National Horse Show back when I was a kid. She was someone I always admired and loved to watch ride. After reading the article on her, it made me appreciate her even more to know just how hard she had to work to make it on the USET (which at that time was a boy's club). She worked hard and was happy to do whatever it took to be able to ride better horses. The idea of having to be "horseman" and not just a "rider" is something that most of us who were around when Kathy was riding would like to see more of these days. I would welcome more articles on the great horseman and horses of the past.

magnolia73
Feb. 22, 2010, 07:11 AM
The article actually focused on some of her horses that she had success with. On occasion COTH covers that type of story. The good thing is you can skip the article without saying the subject is somehow unworthy of press. It's definitely worth a read if you are interested and there is a nice video at the end of the article.

Pixie Dust
Feb. 22, 2010, 08:14 AM
There is a "Riders in the Hood" program in Baltimore? That's news to me.

FairWeather
Feb. 22, 2010, 09:02 AM
About every 10 years she gets some press for some reason.

Wow. What an utterly bizarre comment. Are you saying that one should have to "deserve" press? I get "press" regularly (about 6-10 times a year) and sometimes I deserve it, sometimes I dont :p, but Kathy Kusner? really? are you REALLY picking on someone as amazing a rider and HUMAN BEING as Kathy Kusner?
That's truly a stretch.

I suggest a vacation for you, or maybe a bottle or four of wine, because you cannot possibly come across more bitter than you do now.

flutie1
Feb. 22, 2010, 12:40 PM
Personal vendetta aside, a question for you retread. If press about Kathy Kusner bothers you, which it obviously does, why do you read it? I have issues with Sarah Palin. I therefore studiously avoid reading anything about her. It makes for better mental health!

BAC
Feb. 22, 2010, 05:19 PM
Anyone who belittles Kathy in any way, I can absolutely guarantee you they never watched her ride.

I watched her ride for years when I was a kid, she was magnificent. She is my all time favorite showjumper, although Bill Steinkraus is a close second. ;)

GotSpots
Feb. 22, 2010, 05:27 PM
Why give her press? Because we could all learn alot from someone who
rides like this (http://equisearch.com/sports/olympics2004/kusner1.jpg).

In a hackamore. On a horse who had a stopping problem.

And makes it look that effortless. It's only, after all, a fence more than 7 feet tall.

Robby Johnson
Feb. 23, 2010, 11:13 AM
Personal vendetta aside, a question for you retread. If press about Kathy Kusner bothers you, which it obviously does, why do you read it? I have issues with Sarah Palin. I therefore studiously avoid reading anything about her. It makes for better mental health!

Flutie, I make this a practice as well. I never knew Pam Anderson would make such a huge impact on my life, but when she appeared on a red carpet days after Palin's selection as a running mate was announced and, when questioned said, "I can't stand her. She can suck it," I knew I had a mantra that would last a lifetime and remove Sarah Palin from my worry list FOREVER!

That aside, I do think a representative body of work - particularly one with range and diversity - is always relevant, regardless of whether or not the efforts are original or most successful. I believe this reflects a thinker, and someone who takes action. Those are good traits, in my opinion.

Riderboy, as someone who has battled the praying mantis inclination for most of his riding life, and heard a million times what not to do, what I never really received from instruction was how not to do it. What I have learned is not earth-shattering to comprehend, but was completely a revelation once I analyzed and processed it anatomically ... everything has to do with the position and placement of your pelvis. Understanding how the hip connects to the pelvis and how the knee and ankle fall and function beneath it - and learning how to control the body to function in an optimal position - will change everything. Including the instinct to fling the shoulders/upper body at the horse's neck.

Now, I just need a scenario/pony to practice this daily. I want nothing more than a good jumping photograph with a solid position!

fooler
Feb. 23, 2010, 05:41 PM
There are other horses in the hood programs. Hers was not the first. The people doing them are every bit as dedicated and perhaps not as accomplished. But very worthy of press nonetheless. There are such programs in NY, Philly, Baltimore, Wash. DC and more I am sure I haven't heard of yet. Because they all may not have a USET rider helping them, or haven't been featured in COTH, doesn't mean they are not as important her program, or as effective, or as needy.

There are great and accomplished horse people all over this country. For example: can we talk about people like Jane Cory who promoted eventing on her own place for a couple of decades, sold that, and now stepped in and helps at Jersey Fresh. Why without her, and an incredible effort last year to fund the course and event, the US would have lost a major event. Last year, not 30-40 years ago. And there are more. Many more. Our own LAZ for example, who took an idea from some place else in the country and made it work for her region when everyone said it wouldn't work, last year. (The Indiana T3D). These people are working for our sport right now, today. I'd like to read about these people, too.

Kathy was not an eventer to my knowledge. I am not old enough to have seen her ride, that was many decades ago (maybe 30 or 40 years?). I have seen beautiful pictures. When I knew her she did not ride.

Nothing against her. Not being catty. Just wondering about the relevance.

I know of several Riding for Disabled and Riding for Disadvantage programs plus support them as I am able. Just because one came before the other does not make either program best - only longer in service. Publicity for one often promotes publicity for all.
Interesting your comments as I have long admired Kusner - from a distance, never had the opportunity to meet her. However I have read comments, can't remember exactly where today, that some were dismayed when she first applied for her jockey's license. . .after all 'ladies of a certain class' did not lower themselves to such. It is one thing to ride as an amateur - but never as a professional.
She did not allow others to place her in a box, instead lived her life on her own terms. Some would admire her actions, others would not. Put me in the first category ;).

JER
Feb. 23, 2010, 06:08 PM
Just wanted to add that Kathy Kusner is always kind and pleasant in person. She's far cry from the all-too-common stereotype of the bitter, unsmiling, older BNR (our sport has its share of the latter too).

She must have done something right. :)

vineyridge
Feb. 25, 2010, 10:59 AM
As a confirmed believer in the excellence of the thoroughbred in all jumping disciplines, I found the horse emphasis to be the most valuable part of the article. Apparently when she was riding, according to the interview, the same disparaging comments about the worthiness of the pure TB in the jumper ring were already being made. And she beat them (Germans and WBs) with her full TBs using completely objective measurements.

Some of her TBs were sport bred (the gelding out of Winter Rose) and some of were OTTBs. But they prove, and I believe it's valid even today, that if given a chance, the RIGHT TB can be every bit as good on the international stage as Purpose Bred and Euro trained with Rollkur WBs.

This article gave the excellence of TBs in sport some much needed light and might change a few minds that aren't completely locked and give more TBs chances that they need.

denny
Feb. 25, 2010, 12:18 PM
In those days of Untouchable, Snowbound, Fleet Apple, and even later, there were lots of inexpensive, sound Tbs coming off the tracks. It was possible to buy several, weed through them, sell the not-so-great jumpers for a small loss, and put time into the better ones..

America`s best riders were doing that, whereas today they aren`t likely to.

Read Linda Allen`s Between Rounds in the Show Jumping issue last week for some insightful comments.

cyberbay
Feb. 25, 2010, 02:14 PM
I don't care one way or the other about the article, although I did find it interesting. But, I do think retread is entitled to her opinion, an opinion that is not shot from the hip and has some reasons behind it. Maybe she knows some things you all don't know about this topic. Who knows?

And the posters who said 'don't read the article if it displeases you,' I guess the same can be said to the posters who didn't like retread's comment... don't read it. You, too, can skip over comments you don't like. And ignore it. Retread has a valid opinion -- you may not like it, but to call her substantiated and defensible opinion 'bizarre' is patently wrong. Unlike some people, retread may read things she doesn't like b/c she doesn't practise denial. Her comment suggests to me that she pays as much attn. to unpleasant things as pleasant things and keeps her thinking cap on.

Does KK compete and actively ride these days? Maybe an early exit from the sport is why she is older, but not bitter... ;-) And she is a public figure for Horses in the Hood (or was?), and fundraising and being pleasant are essential to any venture's survival.

And if she wants to engage in spanking a stopper, that's fine. She didn't mention a vet's opinion on the horse. I just know that I'd have a vet check it over thoroughly, and be sure as I can in my own assessment that pain isn't a factor in his need to hit the brakes all the time. I sincerely believe that horses in her era didn't have fewer problems than they have today.

FairWeather
Feb. 25, 2010, 03:11 PM
but to call her substantiated and defensible opinion 'bizarre' is patently wrong
Isn't that *our* right?

Aren't I entitled to my opinion, an opinion that is not shot from the hip and has some reasons behind it? Maybe I know some things you don't know about this topic. Who knows?

JSwan
Feb. 25, 2010, 03:28 PM
Robby - I tried meditating on a photo of Kathy Kusner but it doesn't work. :cool:

She is one of my favorites - and I will go to my grave wishing I had 1/10th the style, talent and grace she has. Incredible horseman.



What I have learned is not earth-shattering to comprehend, but was completely a revelation once I analyzed and processed it anatomically ...

Now, I just need a scenario/pony to practice this daily. I want nothing more than a good jumping photograph with a solid position!

cyberbay
Feb. 25, 2010, 05:26 PM
For sure, Fairweather, you're entitled to your opinion, but not sure calling someone bizarre without any of the reasons that makes you come to that conclusion? Retread pointed out some real facts that the article unintentionally brought out, that KK gets press, say, for H. intheHood when there are many other similar programs who, by this time, should be getting ink, too (or, at least, that is what I think retread is saying). Can you really argue with that concept? V. Rider did have a good suggestion about bringing these other horse-industry heroes to the attn. of COTH editors.

She never said KK was imperfect, perfect, or whatever. I think people need to take the time and read carefully what people are posting, even in this medium where haste is the norm. I think retread's ideas would be understandable. And I think she's too young for bitterness... ;->

Personally I think the article was super-interesting. I am sorry that people like KK, with their passions, interests, and the courage to keep their eye on what is most meaningful to them and the discipline to not succumb to ambition or distraction, are not household names. Instead, we get Brittany Spears. Although I think KK was in S. Illustrated at one point...

FairWeather
Feb. 25, 2010, 08:19 PM
not to nitpick, but i actually called the "comment" bizarre. And yes, I can argue with the concept that one group gets press over another and how silly it is to complain about it, but I wont :)

Everythingbutwings
Mar. 5, 2010, 08:20 AM
Maybe she knows some things you all don't know about this topic.

That made me laugh and laugh! :lol:

Okay, the USA has a constitution that guarantees the right to free speech. It has no codicil at all about one only being allowed to criticize their equal. :winkgrin: