COLORADO SPRINGS — We are gearing you up for Tokyo 2020 and want to introduce you to another Olympian who lives next door.
Janet Foy was born and raised in Colorado Springs. She’s not competing in the Olympics, rather, one of the select few people in the world who will be judging.
She’s a Springs native, who was born at Penrose Hospital and graduated from Cheyenne High School.
“I rode with the Pikes Peak Rangerettes. I was also the Girl of the West for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo back in 1972, or 1971, I believe. I’ve always been involved with horses,” Foy said.
Her biography is about to get a major accolade added to it.
“I’m so, so, excited to be able to judge the Olympics. It’s, of course, every judge’s dream,” Foy said.
She’s been working with horses and riders for decades and is one of the few elite dressage judges in the world.
“Dressage is a French word which means training,” Foy explained, “I think the very first book on dressage was written in 800 B.C. so it’s a very, very old sport. It was originally developed as horses were being trained for war, so there are a lot of movements we don’t do anymore.”
Foy grew up riding western style but learned dressage when she moved to England and joined the Oxford Riding Club. She got an assistant instructor’s degree from the British Horse Society and when she came to the U.S. people asked her to teach them.
She abandoned her marketing and advertising degree, and the rest is history, “All of a sudden, people wanted me to be a horse trainer. So, I abandoned my college education, much to my parent’s dismay, and I became a horse trainer,” Foy said.
She became very successful and won national awards before eventually becoming an FEI 5* judge. There are only about 40 in the world. The panel of dressage judges for the Olympics is seven.
Despite all her success, she still makes time to teach students of all levels.
Nicole Ackerman is the owner of Inside Track Training and said she’s so lucky Foy is still around.
“She’s wonderful! A great lady. Great sense of humor!” Ackerman laughed.
“I’m blown away that she comes and works with us,” Ackerman said, “She’s been dedicated to coming and helping me ever since I met her 18 years ago. I love that. I feel absolutely blessed to have someone like her as part of my own training and my horse’s training!”
Foy said she would have never imaged a girl from the Springs, which still feels small to her after all these years, would become a judge in the Olympic games.
“I’m just thrilled!” Foy said.
This time around will be different due to pandemic restrictions, but she is so excited for Tokyo 2020.
There are three equestrian events in the Olympics and Foy said they are the only sports where males and females compete against each other. She said the horses and athletes do a massive amount of work to get to this level and truly are a team.
You can catch the Olympic games starting July 23, 2021, on KOAA5.