Christilot Boylen was first named to Canada’s dressage team for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics at which point she was the youngest-ever Olympic dressage competitor. Since then, Boylen has represented Canada on five more Olympic teams (1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, and 1992) with three top 12 finishes. In addition, she was a member of four other medal winning Pan American Games teams in 1967, 1971, 1975 and 1987, winning individual gold in her last three appearances.
This spring, Equestrian Canada announced that Boylen, at age 73, is the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to, and ongoing support for, the Canadian equestrian community. Widely recognized for her strength of spirit, the award represents the culmination of a career and the power of women and sport.
“Dressage has taught me the necessity of integrity and patience,” explains Boylen. “Horses don’t care who you are, they care and react to what you are. I look forward to sharing these lessons with my students and to help teach them how to build strong relationships with their horses.”
Boylen holds the highest level of EC coaching certification (High Performance 1) and will be looking to mentor more Canadians and riders from other nationalities striving to improve their dressage, in all three FEI disciplines. She will also continue to work with Ontario Equestrian as head coach for the newly created GRIT Training Program.
I’ve been fortunate to count some of the world’s best among my trainers and role models, such as Willi Schultheis, Georg Theodorescu, and Udo Lange. I look forward to sharing my experience and offering guidance to others during the training processes.
“I’ve been fortunate to count some of the world’s best among my trainers and role models, such as Willi Schultheis, Georg Theodorescu, and Udo Lange. I look forward to sharing my experience and offering guidance to others during the training processes,” said Boylen. “It’s a privilege to take that knowledge they’ve given to me and pass it on to others. I love watching and suffering through the ups and downs every one of my students have as they work their way to the top of the ladder, and then start all over again with a different horse.”
Boylen will continue to ride and train daily and is particularly interested in helping develop Canadian-bred warmbloods and thoroughbreds. She has herself trained two Canadian-bred horses to international level in the past, both of which were subsequently sold to German interests.
As the owner/rider of “Rockylane”, a 13 year-old Westphalen mare, Boylen will be exploring possibilities to pair this talented Grand Prix Level mount with the right rider.
“Rocky is opinionated but steady and brave. She has mastered the Grand Prix level and could fulfill her next rider’s ambitions. It would be my dream to help this pair on their way.”
Boylen is also working on her fourth book, an autobiography. Her first book, Canadian Entry, was published in 1966 and was followed by Basic Dressage for North America and The Horse Lover’s Diary all of which have been sell outs. The latest edition will recount the amazing life of an Indonesian immigrant to Canada who got her first horse with her savings from the Howdy Doody Show and became one of Canada’s most celebrated dressage icons.
Christilot can be reached at [email protected]