Legendary equestrian judge, rider and trainer, Rob Gage has passed away. His official website Judge My Ride confirmed his death in an Instagram post with the following statement.
“As many of you know today we lost a legend in the equestrian world. Judge My Ride is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Rob Gage. We will not be posting on Thursday; instead, we are asking you to share your memory and photos of Rob with the JMR family. He touched so many lives and we would like to hear from you.
Our hearts thoughts and prayers go out to his friends family and loved ones. – JMR Family.”
Rob Gage was one of the most successful American riders of all time. He won the World Cup Grand Prix rider three times and won the Rolex Crown of Excellence. He was also an equestrian judge and experienced trainer.
There are rumors on social media claiming that Robert Gage committed suicide as a result of US Equestrian (USEF) Safe Sports sanctions. However, these rumors have not been confirmed and Gage’s official cause of death is yet to be reported.
Robert Gage was accused of sexual misconduct and was sanctioned by USEF in a move that has been criticized by some riders including Markie Morrison, who wrote the following on Facebook in reaction to Gage’s death.
“USEF and SafeSport, I hope you take a good long look at what you’ve done. SafeSport is turning the entire equestrian community into a witch hunt. I’ve never felt so lucky to be female before and so worried for the future of the sport. Now an innocent man is gone and they are to blame. I’m expecting a statement, although nothing they can say will fix this.”
Tributes poured in following Rob Gage’s death; however, his passing has also sparked debate on social media about USEF Safe Sport policy.
— Alexis Farris (@flyingequus) June 13, 2019
Ok I am terribly saddened by the loss of Rob Gage, as are many people. But, USEF is not to be blamed here. They are attempting to make this sport safer after so many spoke out. If people harassed Rob, that’s on them, not USEF.
— Eventer_Eq (@Eventer_Eq) June 13, 2019
That’s seriously such an ignorant comment. Regardless of whether he’s innocent or not.. USEF should acknowledge that they’re tearing apart somebody’s entire life and career. They need resources. He was bullied and pressured with no help.
— Rebecca Francis (@BeccaLHE) June 13, 2019
The USEF Safe Sport policy has resulted in sanctions in the equestrian community involving sexual misconduct and minor athlete abuse as of June 1.