It’s 1968. It’s the Olympics, individual show jumping class. U.S. rider Bill Steinkraus and Snowbound take the gold. British equestrienne Marion Coakes and Stroller take silver, jumping one of only two clear rounds over a course that was described as the biggest course in show jumping history.
Marion Coakes is about 21 years of age. Stroller is about 18 years old. And, at 14.1 hands, he is a pony.
Stroller was born in 1950, a bay Conemara pony / thoroughbred cross. He was owned and ridden by Marion Coakes, who successfully convinced her father not to sell Stroller when she turned 16 and was ready to “graduate” to horses. Coakes and Stroller were formidable competitors, winning 61 international competitions.
At 20, Stroller won the 1970 Hamburg Derby. Coakes said, “When we sailed over the last fence, having completed the only clear round of the day, the crowd of 25,000 went crazy. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. We had completed the 50th clear round ever achieved on the course — and it was the first by a woman rider.” And by a pony.
Stroller is living proof that it is not the size of your body, but the size of your heart and spirit that make you a champion.
Who says ponies can’t jump?