June 2017 Issue - page 4

Page 4
June 2017
By Crystal Bucks
Imagine months of prepa-
ration, a lifetime of focused
effort. Muscles burn and beads of
sweat drip as the body strives for
perfection. Everything is aligned
Local FEI Dressage Rider Heads to Israel to Shoot for Maccabiah Gold
into flawless synchronicity for the
one momentous chance to bring
home the gold.
It’s not the Olympics, but
the Maccabiah Games. Under
the supervision of the Interna-
tional Olympic Committee, the
Maccabiah Games is the third
largest sporting event in the
world, featuring ten thousand
athletes, eighty countries, and
forty-three different sports. A
Jewish competition founded
in 1932 on a four-year cycle,
this year’s Games will only be
the second year that equestrian
sports are included.
The equestrian portion of
the Maccabiah Games includes
a dressage and a show jumping
team. Rebecca Cord, of Cochran-
ville, PA, a FEI dressage rider,
USEF L Graduate, USDF bronze
and silver medalist, ARIA and
USDF certified instructor, was
chosen from thousands of riders
across the country to join the
dressage team and represent the
United States. Cord will be one
of eight riders and over a thou-
sand athletes wearing the stars
and stripes during the 20th World
Maccabiah Games on July 4-18th
in Israel.
“I am so excited to be
selected from the pool,” said
Cord. “This is taking two
important aspects of my life,
dressage and my heritage, and
combining them into this inter-
section of Olympic-level sport.”
The unifying concept is that de-
spite being in direct rivalry with
other countries, every competi-
tor has a shared heritage and is
part of the Jewish community.
It is a chance to represent and
show pride for your country,
while overcoming a cultural
divide and connecting to the
shared Jewish identity.
Flexibility and Confidence
While it was always a goal to
one day compete on an interna-
tional level, Cord did not realize
this opportunity would come
so soon. A fellow Jewish client
recommended Cord apply for the
Games, which includes a series
of applications, written essays,
and riding videos, to try for a
spot on the team. “I had heard
of the Maccabiah Games before,
but I hadn’t realized there was
an equestrian part,” said Cord.
“It was nerve-wracking, because
I had to wait for several months
to hear back. There’s a team of
people who view the resumes,
read the essay questions, and
watch the videos. That takes
some time.”
One of the essay questions
pertained to the rider as a per-
son: what made this particular
person think she can handle
the pressure, unpredictability,
disappointment that ultimately
comes from traveling to anoth-
er country, catch riding other
horses, and competing on such a
grand scale? Cord was confident.
She said, “It was a tricky ques-
tion, but ultimately, it’s what I
do every day training dressage
horses. I may have plans to ac-
(Continued on page 20)
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