MAKERS Profile

Kathy Kusner

First Licensed Female Jockey

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In this MAKERS interview, trailblazing female jockey Kathy Kusner talks about growing up with a love for horses, her journey from working the stables to competing in the Olympics, and how she fought to become the first woman to earn a jockey's license.
Kathy Kusner is a pioneering jockey who became the first licensed female jockey in the U.S. Growing up, Kusner couldn't afford a horse of her own, but she worked in stables so that she could spend as much time as possible with horses, learning to ride along the way. In 1972, she had not only competed in her third summer Olympic games, but also became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in show jumping for the U.S. Equestrian team. When Kusner's bid for a license to ride in flat races was denied by the Maryland Commission, Kusner hired a lawyer and brought her case to court. The court ruled in her favor.  

More From Kathy

Wild Child
In this MAKERS interview, pioneer female jockey Kathy Kusner talks about growing up with a love for the outdoors and especially, for horses.

1964 Tokyo Olympics
Kathy Kusner, the first licensed female jockey, talks about her disbelief at being included in the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo, and shares a funny story about a run-in with a legendary athlete. 

Riding Around the World
In this MAKERS interview, the first licensed female jockey Kathy Kusner, talks about how she got to travel the world and ride good mounts because people wanted to see a spectacle. 

1950s Virginia
Kathy Kusner, the first licensed female jockey, talks about segregation and racism within her industry in the 1950s.

Horse Day Camp
In this MAKERS interview, trailblazing female jockey Kathy Kusner talks about her Horse camp that sponsors inner-city children.

Whoever Can Deliver the Goods
In this MAKERS interview, pioneer female jockey Kathy Kusner talks about what girls have to do to make it as jockeys, and how once they're there, the competition is gender-neutral.