Although probably many of today's riders don't know who she is, Kathy Kusner was an incredible rider, a team Olympic medalist with Billy Steinkraus, Frank Chapot and George Morris, with countless national and international victories as well as flat and steeplechase racing wins, but she was as well an incredible athlete, a scuba diver and marathon runner, a licensed jet pilot and a philanthropist.
Some of her top horses included Untouchable, Unusual, Aberali, Fru as well as various team horses, and she rode Good Twist before Frank Chapot won so much on him.
The following tribute to Kathy was written by Frank Waters, editor of The Golden Age of Show Jumping,
My dear friend Kathy Kusner- Happy, Happy Birthday!
It is hard to believe that Kathy is now 81 years young, she is so alive, so bubbly, so active and in amazing condition.
I have been so honored in the past to spend Kathy's Birthdays with her when she was here in Florida.
We had wonderful food and continued to reminisce about the wonderful old days of The Golden Age of Show Jumping.
Kathy Kusner was named Horsewoman of the Year before joining the United States Equestrian Team at the age of 21.
REPRESENTING the United States, she rode in three Olympic Games, Tokyo in 1964, Mexico City in 1968, and Munich in 1972 (silver medal).
She was also a member of the United States team in two Pan American Games, Sao Paulo in 1963 (gold medal) and Winnipeg in 1967 (silver medal).
In addition to riding for the United States in countless international competitions, she was a consistent winner and leading rider at major national and international horse shows, and on two occasions was the leading international rider at Madison Square Garden.
Kathy's many wins include the Grand Prix of Dublin, in Ireland (twice); the French Championship, in La Baule, France; the Pre-Olympic Grand Prix of Rotterdam, in The Netherlands; the Puissance, in Aachen, Germany (twice); the Grand Prix of Hickstead, in England; the Grand Prix of Wiesbaden, in Germany; the Grand Prix of Wulfrath, also in Germany; the Grand Prix of Ostend, in Belgium; and the Grand Prix of Lucerne, in Switzerland.
She mounted a successful legal case in 1968 to become the first licensed female jockey in the United States.
Since the age of 16, she had been regularly winning unrecognized flat and timber races.
As a licensed jockey, she rode races up and down the eastern seaboard and Canada and became the first licensed female jockey to ride races in Mexico, Germany, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Panama, South Africa, and what was then Rhodesia.
She was also the first woman to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup, the toughest timber race in the world.
ABC Television filmed an award-winning documentary in Saratoga about her being the first woman in modern times to ride in a steeplechase at the racetrack.
She has worked as an expert witness concerning horse-related issues since 1983.
She has experience as a course designer, both nationally and internationally.
She has worked as a television commentator for Grand Prix show jumping events and has written for well-known equestrian journals.
She has been featured in a variety of television shows, books, articles and a 2005 Library of Congress publication, Women Who Dare.
She did the riding for the long shots in the Disney movie, The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit.
She and the jockey Julie Krone were the subjects of a segment in the Debbie Allen-produced series, Cool Women.
Kathy, in 1960, was named Horsewoman of the year by the American Horse Shows Association.
In 1990, Kathy was inducted into The Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
In 2000, she was named one of the 50 most influential horsemen of the 20th century by The Chronicle of the Horse and The American Horse Shows Association.
Also in 2000, she was inducted into the Virginia Horse Shows Association Hall of Fame, and in 2005, she received the Pegasus Medal of Honor from the United States Equestrian Federation.
In 2005, she was also inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, ad in 2012, Kathy was a receipient of the John Henry "Pop" Lloyd Humanitarian award.
In 2016, she was inducted into the California Professional Horseman's Association Hall of Fame.
Kathy continues to be involved with the world of horses, giving clinics on riding, training, and competing in the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Guatemala, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Paraguay, Zimbabwe, Spain, South Africa, Peru, and Mexico.
She is a licensed pilot with commercial, multi-engine, instrument, seaplane, and commercial glider ratings.
She obtained a Lear Jet-type rating, for the Lear 23 and 24, and became the first woman to work as a Lear Jet pilot for Executive Jet Aviation, which was the largest jet charter company in the world at that time.
She also has aerobatics skills.
Kathy is an experienced scuba diver and has had the opportunity to dive some of the best waters in the world.
She is an enthusiastic runner.
As of August 2015, she has completed 123 marathons and 73 ultramarathons, including 20 races of 50 miles or longer, and in 1997, she finished the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race in 27 hours, 37 minutes.
Kathy is founder and chairman of the board of Horses In The Hood, a non-profit organization benefiting the inner-city community by providing lessons that teach skills and values associated with the care and riding of horses.
Kathy my dear friend, I love you to the moon and back and consider myself highly honored to be included in your circle of friends, Happy, Happy Birthday lovely lady. Please enjoy the photographs, all honoring this amazing, amazing lady.