Kyra Kyrklund

Kyra Kyrklund (born in Helsinki on November 30, 1951) is a Finnish dressage rider and trainer who currently lives in West Sussex. Kyra Kyrklund has competed in six Olympics, which equals Finnish record with shooter Juha Hirvi, ice hockey player Raimo Helminen and cross-country skiers Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi and Harri Kirvesniemi.

The Finnish dressage legend, Kyra Kyrkland has participated in six Olympic Games, two World Equestrian Games and seven European Championships. With Matador, Kyra Kyrklund was placed fifth at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 and won the silver medal at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Besides numerous international victories, she has earned the national title of Finnish Dressage Champion more than ten times.

Born in 1952, Kyra Kyrkland's equestrian career started in a stable near Helsinki, where she attempted to ride her uncle's draft horses. In 1967, she participated for the first time in the National Show Jumping Championships for junior riders with the Polish gelding Dragon. Two years later, she purchased her first horse, Kasper. With this Swedish gelding she achieved various successes in dressage, show jumping and three-day event competitions. In 1972, Kyra Kyrkland and Dragon were the Finnish Dressage Champions

She participated for the first time at a European Championship with the Danish horse Piccolo (by Pilar), finishing 20th. In 1980, the combination represented their homeland at the Olympic Games in Moscow, placing fifth. Riding Danish Nor (by Monark) in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, she placed 17th.

With perhaps the most special horse of her career, Matador, Kyra Kyrkland was placed fifth at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. Surviving colic surgery, Matador with Kyra Kyrkland as his guide, won the silver medal at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, Sweden. After their victory in the 1991 Volvo World Cup finals, Matador (by May Sharif) was sold to Yoshinaga Sakurai from Japan.

With the Russian Trakehner stallion Edinburg (by Elever), purchased in St. Petersburg, Russia, Kyra Kyrkland expanded her list of achievements. Edinburg started his career as a racehorse, but Ivan Izimov, the gold medal winner at the Olympic Games in Mexico, discovered his talent as a quality dressage horse in 1988. In 1992, Kyra Kyrklund and Edinburg placed fifth at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. One year later, they finished fourth in the European Championships in Lipica. And in 1994 she was third in the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Kyra Kyrklund is also a highly respected dressage trainer and her students include many succesful dressage riders aswell as the Finish Young Riders Team for a couple of years. In November 1991, Kyra Kyrklund accepted the position of head trainer of the Flyinge National Breeding Centre in Sweden where she trains with Richard White. In that capacity, she helped the duos of Ulla Hakkanson and Flyinge Bobby, and Annette Solmell and Flyinge Strauss earn spots on the Swedish dressage team. With Flyinge Amiral, a Swedish Warmblood Stallion (by Napoleon 625 out of Flamkella by Flamingo 481) she entered the international dressage circuit again. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, a last minute injury to Amiral's eye made for a tense moment at the horse inspection, which he passed. It was a disappointing performance in Atlanta, but he went on to place 10th at this year's World Equestrian Games, in Rome, Italy, with an average of 70%.

Known in the United States as "the great communicator" Kyra Kyrkland gives clinics and training sessions, including the incredibly successful USDF Dressage Symposiums, which are always sold out. Usually limited to a precious few American riders, who earn the privilege of being invited, she fills the stands to capacity with auditors.

Kyra Kyrklund is also on the board for The International Dressage Riders Club, and in 1994 launched her own wardrobe line of quality functional riding wear & equestrian clothing. Kyra Kyrklund now lives in Surrey, England where she will start her own dressage stable.