Passionate, grateful and humble are attributes that many people do not possess. However, these words are personified by one man whose dreams and aspirations have taken him all over the world, to which he chalks up to simply being “lucky.” He is a hero to some and a simple man to himself. Who is this man, you may ask? None other than Canadian equestrian athlete, Allan Ehrlick.
Ehrlick’s career has been one for the books, but he did not stop there. He has been heavily involved within the equestrian world. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman for Region 18. Prior to this, he served on the executive board for more than 25 years and as the director of Region 18 for 16 years. Furthermore, Ehrlick has been the Vice Chairman for the Canadian National Show Commission for 25 years, alongside his role on the United States Show Commission.
However, he is not only an equestrian athlete, but also a man of many talents. Ehrlick was a professional ice hockey player, participated in competitive swimming, dabbled in polo and had a 12-year career in 3-day eventing. He has also been inducted into five Hall of Fames. So, if you are thinking “wow what a man,” then “wow what a man” is right.
At the young age of 22, Ehrlick was selected to be a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team where he participated in three Olympic games, two of which were on a registered Anglo-Arabian named The Nomad.
“I knew he was a registered Anglo-Arabian, but it did not mean anything to me,” Ehrlick said. “Years later I realized what made him great, strong, have great endurance and tough. It was because he was half-Arabian.”
With great power comes great responsibility - or in this case - with a great man comes a great horse. Ehrlick has ridden some of the best equine known to man, all of which have led him to a championship or two or three or four or...you get where this is going. Nonetheless, there are a few horses in particular who led him to national titles. Dal Apollo, now retired, won 17 National Championships and RJ Bakaro won 15 National Championships. His current partner-in-crime, EVG Ellie Mae, is an 11-time National trophy winner.
“You have to ride great horses to win that many,” Ehrlick said.
Such success and career longevity cannot go unrecognized. Recently, Ehrlick and his wife of 28 years, Cheryl, were presented with the President’s National Volunteer Award at the Arabian Horse Association Convention, an award he has received three times and Cheryl has gotten twice. They were also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Region 18 for their constant involvement in the equine industry. Furthermore, Ehrlick was given a citation from the Olympic Association Committee. The award, which is not often presented to equestrian riders, congratulated him on his Olympic anniversary of 50 years.
“It is special for me because it is an athlete’s award, when riders will never be considered true athletes,” Ehrlick said.
When it comes to having a career that compares to Ehrlick’s, the magic combination is simple. He says you have to have great health, good luck and talent. Those three combined with taking advantage of your opportunities and good decisions will make all the difference between a good rider and a champion.
“The stars need to be aligned, and I’m a huge believer that if it is mean to be, it is going to be,” Ehrlick said. “Do not get in the way. If it does not work today, change it and make it work tomorrow.”
With 111 National Champion and Reserve Champion titles under his belt, Ehrlick is doing it right, and it shows.
His wife Cheryl has been right by his side through it all. Even with his trials, tribulations and darkest moments, Cheryl, the AHA, and most importantly, his horses were there every step of the way.
“I am very grateful to my wife,” Ehrlick said. “She is my living fairy tale and best friend. I am very fortunate.”
Allan, we couldn’t agree more. Congrats on your many accomplishments. AHA loves and cherishes you very much.