THE IRON DAMES PROJECT EXTENDS TO EQUESTRIAN SPORT
As an expansion of its successful pioneering project, the Iron Dames has today announced its new commitment to the world of horse riding by building an elite women’s show jumping team with the ambition to compete at the highest level in FEI competitions, including the Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League.
Since the project’s inception in 2018, the Iron Dames has continued to spread their wings in motorsport, achieving historic performances at the highest level of endurance racing while raising awareness and showcasing their passion all around the world.
In the meantime, the team has continued to grow with more and more women joining, in line with the project’s philosophy of promoting and inspiring women in all areas of mixed sports.
Mixed sports are still often perceived as masculine worlds, with relatively low representation of women in elite levels and not enough support and recognition for what they deserve. It is still the case in horse riding – the only Olympic sport featuring men and women competing directly head-to-head. They have been doing so for over 50 years, but it’s an aspect of equestrian sport that receives little public attention.
Building Iron Dames Equestrian meets this need for visibility and support for women in other sports and strengthens the development of the Iron Dames global project.
Cannes Stars powered by Iron Dames will consist of six riders and will be the only all-female to take on the challenge of the top-level FEI show jumping competitions worldwide, notably the prestigious Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL from the 2024 season.
True to the values and spirit of a model that has proved its worth in motorsport, Iron Dames Equestrian also incorporates the development of talented young riders from junior categories to professional categories and the promotion of women in the professional equestrian world in all lines of work.
By taking this ambitious step forward, the Iron Dames project is further establishing itself as a leader in empowering women and pushing the boundaries of sport and gender barriers.
To mark the start of this new chapter in the project’s young history, Iron Dames drivers (Sarah Bovy [BEL], Rahel Frey [SUI], Michelle Gatting [DEN], Natalia Granada [ESP] and Doriane Pin [FRA]) and new Iron Dames riders (Natalie Dean [USA], Katrin Eckermann [GER], Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann [GER], Sophie Hinners [GER] and Kim Emmen [NED]) were brought together at Autodromo Vallelunga. The track, situated in Campagnano di Roma, has a highly symbolic heritage since it was converted from a horse racecourse for motor racing. The event was held with the participation of Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL ahead of the Roma leg of the 2023 championship, which the Iron Dames drivers will attend.
Motorsport and horse riding share the beauty of having men and women competing on equal terms. The legacy of the Iron Dames has been growing in motorsport since 2018, celebrating multiple historic breakthroughs, inspiring the younger generation and positively changing long-held perception of it being a male-dominated environment. We’ve done well to keep believing in it and we now have proof that our vision and strategy are the right ones.
The time has come to open a new page in the world of equestrian sport, which is equally exciting and full of opportunities for women. It’s a very emotional day for me, with a feeling of immense pride and the excitement of a new beginning. To give birth to the first all-female team aiming to compete in the world’s greatest show-jumping events is a major step forward for the Iron Dames project and is particularly close to my heart. I’m pleased and honoured that these first six talented riders are joining us for a wonderful human and sporting journey and I wish them all the best. Their dreams are now part of our dreams.DEBORAH MAYER, IRON DAMES PROJECT FOUNDER
About the Iron Dames:
Founded in 2018 by Deborah Mayer, the Iron Dames is a groundbreaking project committed to promoting and supporting women in sports where they compete in equal terms with men. The project has been launched and rapidly developed in motor sport. The Iron Dames, as an all female line-up, achieved historic victories and breakthroughs at the pinnacle of world endurance racing, including winning the 24 Hours of Spa in Gold Cup, taking pole position in WEC or competing at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans 5 times. In other racing categories, a new generation of pink riders is also on the rise aiming to reach the highest level.
From 2023, the project extends to Equestrian sport with an elite women’s show jumping team with the ambition to compete in the most prestigious FEI championships, including Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Championships League.
With a team philosophy of race to inspire, the Iron Dames stands for all passionate women, driven by dreams, willing to go beyond barriers and limits.
About the Longines Global Champions League:
The GCL team series has 16 teams for the 2023 season, featuring many Olympic and World Champion riders. Running alongside the Longines Global Champions Tour, the Championship visits 16 stunning locations around the globe. For the first time in the history of show jumping, top riders from different countries unite to compete on the same team ensuring electrifying competitions over a Championship season. The four teams with the most points after all 15 regular events will get fast tracked straight through to the GCL Super Cup Semi-Final at the GC Prague Playoffs, skipping the knockout GCL Super Cup Quarter Final. With every event contributing to the final score, and team managers faced with the challenge of deciding which of their roster of six to field at every dynamic event, the battle for points throughout the season ensures top class sport and thrilling action.