first published in the February 2022 Equiery

Kathy Kusner at the Washington International Horse Show (photo from WIHS archives)

Legendary horsewoman Kathy Kusner was honored with one of two U.S. Equestrian’s Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2021. Kusner, who now resides in Playa Vista, California, is most widely known for winning Olympic and Pan American Games medals for the U.S. in Show Jumping. It is her pioneering work to promote women in equine sports, however, that is her greatest achievement.

Kusner was one of the first women selected to the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) to compete in an Olympic Games. She represented the U.S. in the 1964 Toyko Games, 1968 Mexico City Games and 1972 Munich Games where she was part of the Silver Medal team. She was part of the Gold Medal team at the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paolo and then the Silver Medal team at the 1967 Winnipeg Pan American Games.

Outside of the Show Jumping world, Kusner became the first female jockey licensed to ride races in the U.S. in 1968. The license was issued only after Kusner filed, and won, a discrimination lawsuit against the

Maryland Racing Commission. Kusner also was the first female jockey to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup.
Kusner is the founder of the non-profit Horses in the Hood, which works with inner-city communities in Los Angeles, California, to introduce young people to horses.

To learn more about Kathy Kusner, read “Maryland’s Local Lady Legends” here on