The international riding community is often distracted by our intense schedules, the increasing demands on our horses, the vast amount of prize money and the race for that next Championship medal. The demands within the sport are ever increasing, but this past week, the sport of show jumping really came together to show solidarity and recognition of those we have lost, both within the sport and outside the sport.

SimonDelestre_SparkassenYoungsterCupFinal-2Last week during CHIO Aachen, the French riders including Roger Yves Bost and Simon Delestre, wore black armbands to recognize the tragedy and loss felt following the terrorist attack in Nice, France. The event which took place in the South of France, saw 84 people killed and 303 people injured when a 19 tonne cargo truck deliberately drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France.

This past week at the Dublin Horse Show, Brazilian rider Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, wore a jersey embroidered with the nickname of deceased rider Andres Rodriguez, who lost his life at the beginning of the year in Wellington, Florida following a tragic car accident.

During this year’s Puissance event, Dublin Horse Show played the video of last year’s Land Rover Puissance, which saw the Pan American silver medalist Andres Rodriguez successfully jump the iconic red brick wall, wearing an IRFU rugby jersey under his show jumping jacket. Having cleared the wall at 7″1 in height, Rodriguez stripped off his jacket and galloped around the arena in the Irish jersey, to massive cheers from the spectating crowd.

Zanotelli, well-known rider for Brazil, wanted to dedicate his performance in this year’s Land Rover Puissance to Rodriguez, in what can be described as a heart felt acknowledgement of a rider that we all miss very much. Despite the unfortunate spelling error in the name on his jersey, the kind gesture was one that was felt amongst many riders within the community and appreciated by all who knew Rodriguez.

With so much pressure building towards the Olympic Games in a few weeks time, it feels as though one can often lose sight of what is important. It is so vital that as athletes and as a sport, we remain connected to the value of life itself and how truly fragile it is. We appreciate the moments taken this past week in Dublin and the previous week in Aachen, where we acknowledge those who are no longer with us, and take a moment to remember them and honor them.