Listen to the podcast of By The Love Of Horses as Susan Jamieson is in conversation with Author Richard Askwith about the story of Lata Brandisová, the first woman to attempt, and the only woman to win, the Grand Pardubice steeplechase of Czechoslovakia, with her horse Norma.
The Grand Pardubice has a long history and a reputation for being one of the most difficult steeplechases in the world.
Lata Brandisová was a brave and talented woman who had the courage and determination to win this formidable race, the hurdles of which are at times called "un-jumpable." She did so, too, at a time when heretofore the race was only challenged by men.
Lata also lived through some of the most difficult periods of modern history, from the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the First World War, through the Nazi's occupation and then the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Richard Askwith's book has recently been named Biography of the Year in the British Sports Book Awards.
As a rider at 60 years old, I believe that all can benefit from the secret of riding. I myself raised with a British background, take inspiration from the Queen who continues to ride at 94 years old. I believe that the same can be true for today’s youth. Riding can give them hope that they can overcome the challenges that they face and give them the confidence to become all that they can.
I was moved by the calls I received after my interview with Libby Znaimer from women and men who told me their stories of their love of horses and riding. They told me how riding set them up to overcome their circumstances. Some came out of the Depression, some out of World War II... these riders did not let these experiences dampen their efforts to achieve a full and happy life and make a contribution to their respective communities. All mentioned that riding helped immeasurably in this. They believe that riding gave them the confidence in themselves and in their ability to do something ... to go after what they wanted their lives to be.
If you are interested in sharing your experiences of riding in the past, or more recently with regard to today's youth, on my upcoming radio show on Zoomer Radio, please contact me at ByTheLoveOfHorses@redscarfequestrian.ca
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