For Agatha D’Ambra, A Dream Come True in a $1 Million Event

This weekend’s Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix equestrian event in Saugerties, New York is a long way from a trail ride in the Catskills, but for 26-year-old Agatha D’Ambra, the journey has been a relatively quick one.

One of the competitors in this weekend’s event, D’Ambra grew up in Rexford, New York, just north of Albany. She’s loved horses her whole life, but she’s not one of those riders who was on a horse before she could walk.

When she was little, she and her father, Thomas D’Ambra, would go trail riding about once a month in the Catskills; when she was 10 years old, she began taking riding lessons at a local barn, and within two years, her parents had bought her her own horse, an OTTB–an off-track Thoroughbred–named Matty Monster that she renamed August Eclipse when she showed him.

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4 thoughts on “For Agatha D’Ambra, A Dream Come True in a $1 Million Event

  1. I know from your writing you are an advocate for gender equality. So, out of curiosity, and good naturedly, I ask – why equestrienne instead of the gender neutral equestrian?

    That $1,000,000 class is fun to watch if you ever get a chance.

    I’m having trouble finding out how Agatha fared. The HITS website is only listing the top 20 and she wasn’t listed.

  2. ljk,

    Could “equestrienne” be germane to the Olympics and reflect accurately a specific gender of competition for that venue in its own qualifying words, and, thus, become technically accurate to Agatha D’Ambra’s story? Just asking ….

  3. What a great question, ljk, all the more interesting to me because I used “equestrienne” automatically, without even thinking about it, much as I’d use “actress.” But I’d never use, for instance, poetess; I guess I must have thought “equestrienne” was the proper term, and that “equestrian” wasn’t gender-neutral but male specific.

    This isn’t a world I know much about — is “equestrian” used for both sexes?

    Thanks so much for asking that! And I did watch some of the show online on Sunday, but like you, I’ve not yet been successful in seeing where Agatha finished. She had some trouble with both the fences and timing, so I suspect not as well as she’d have liked.

  4. Show jumpers is my world (my wife’s actually). I’ve always considered her an equestrian and yes, the term is gender neutral.

    Frankly I was surprised to learn there was a word equestrienne.

    There are no female only Olympic (or any other) equestrian events. One of the few Olympic events where men and women compete equally. All equestrian competitions are segregated by age or ability, not gender.

    Sunday’s class featured all the best North American based show jumpers, as you might expect for $1M. Only 2 were able to complete the course “fault free”. That’s no fences lowered and within the time allowed. Fault free riders then proceed to a timed jump off. Typically a big event would have something like 5-8 in a jump off. Indicating that the course designer misjudged the difficulty of the course (he couldn’t have misjudged the quality of the riders).

    My wife BTW, having ridden since she was 6, is the best I know at picking winners out of the paddock. Many at good prices. A spot at the paddock railing is a must for every SAR 2 year old race.

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