Mike Plumb was something like 48 when he rode for the gold-medal winning Olympic team in 1984. So, yeah! Also, I like the idea that “mastery” in riding is a “continuum” not a “finite goal” because this sport IS different in that our partners (the horses) are sentient beings, not inanimate equipment, and no two horses are exactly the same.
There are definitely sports that are youth sports, gymnastics being an obvious example. Many sports that cause heavy wear and tear on knees, shoulders, and various joints see few athletes lasting very deeply into their thirties, and a forty year old professional football player is called “the old man.”
Horseback riding definitely has the potential to be a wear and tear sport, but that`s from falls and wrecks, not from the inherent stresses that accompany daily riding. With luck, a rider who is, say, 12, should be looking at a riding life that can easily continue for the next forty to fifty years, and not only last for decades, but also have the prospect of being an elite riding career for many of those years.
There is a tendency for younger riders not to think in these longer range terms, but to have the misconception that if they fail to reach some…
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