Christilot Boylen, Six-Time Olympian for Canada, Retires from International Team Competition

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Christilot Boylen on Armagnac at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. © Cealy Tetley

July 9, 2020

Christilot Boylen, who competed in six Olympics that is more than any other Canadian dressage rider, has officially retired from international team competition, Equestrian Canada announced Thursday.

Christilot, 73 years old who is based in Schomberg, Ontario, was the youngest ever Olympic dressage rider when she competed in her first Games, at Tokyo in 1964.

She went on to compete at five more Olympics–Mexico 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Los Angeles 1984 and Barcelona 1992.

Christilot was born in Indonesia, the daughter of a Javanese-born Canadian dancer and an Australian soldier. The family moved to Toronto in 1951.

She bought her first horse six years later with the money she made as a child actress on the pioneering children’s television show, “Howdy Doody,” an American network program that ran for 13 years.

In addition to the Olympics, Christilot earned individual gold medals at the 1971, 1975 and 1985 Pan American Games, and two team golds.

In 2019, she was awarded Equestrian Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is a breast cancer survivor, but continued to compete throughout her treatment.

Her most recent international competition was on Rockylane in the CDI3* Grand Prix at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, the last CDI before a 3 1/2-month shutdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic.