Here at Noëlle Floyd, we aim to celebrate women in the equestrian space every day — but International Women’s Day calls for a special celebration. As a predominantly female company with an all-women editorial team, the premise of empowering badass female equestrians around the world is a big part of what gets us up in the morning (okay, and the horses, too).
It’s amazing to look back at how far women have come in the sport, but it didn’t happen by accident. International Women’s Day is a time to recognize all the badass women that brought us to this point.
We’re standing on the shoulders of barrier-breaking giants, like Lis Hartel — the first woman to compete in equestrian sports in the Olympics after the gender ban was lifted in 1952. Lis didn’t just compete — she also earned a silver medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki despite a major physical disability; she was paralyzed from the knee down after a debilitating case of Polio and had to be lifted onto her horse each time she rode. Overcoming those unthinkable obstacles, she clinched the silver medal and in an emotional moment the gold medalist, Henri Saint Cyr of Sweden, carried Lis from her horse to the podium so that she could stand to receive her medal.
The opportunities we have as women today are thanks to the bravery and persistence of women past. And the courage that we show as women will impact the lives of women to come. Whether it’s women lifting each other up, like Gail Greenough’s graceful words about World Equestrian Games gold medal champion Simone Blum; or a community of female riders coming together to have an open conversation about body image; style pioneer Dani Goldstein embracing her individuality despite internet trolls; young women in the space preaching acceptance in a way that is wise beyond their years; or Laura Graves being the relatable hero that she is — these are displays of strength that are important to take notice of.
So today, do what you can to lift your fellow females up, whether that’s at the barn, in the workplace, at home, or on the internet. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.