Hiroshi Hoketsu, who will represent Japan in dressage at the London Olympics, is 71 years old. Unlike many sports, equestrianism offers the opportunity for athletes to compete well beyond the expected age range of most Olympians.
Sure, people say, the horse does all the work! While there is some truth to that, most of the people who say that have never ridden a horse and have no idea about the strength, balance and subtlety required to ride at the highest levels of competition.
In article on Yahoo News, Hoketsu says:
“I am out there riding horses every day for several hours. Then I come back in and do many exercises, to help with my strength, coordination, and, most importantly, my balance . . . Most people can’t tell but my body is getting a little weaker. My horse knows it and she helps me.”
He also says something that will give all of us aging equestrians hope:
“But I still feel my riding is improving, little by little. That is my motivation. I am a better rider at 70 than I was at 40.”