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Friday, September 29, 2023

The Medal and Maclay Championships, stepping stones to the future

LEXINGTON, Ky.--The Medal and Maclay Finals can be stepping stones to a future on international teams or championships as demonstrated by Brian Moggre recently at The National Horse Show where he won the Maclay Championship in 2018 and just one year later won the $225,000 World Cup over such international stars as Beezie Madden and Beat Mandli.

But an in-depth study of the results reveals some interesting facts about year to year results and the changes in the sport.

Frank ChapotFrank ChapotFor the first five decades of the Maclay and three decades of the Medal, over two-thirds of the winners of the Finals went on to outstanding careers, with 21 winning medals in Olympics, World Championships, Pan American Games or World Cup Finals.

Then the next 20 to 25 years brought a drought, with only one Medal winner winning an Olympic medal.

But the final 15 years, including 2019, saw a resurgence, with half of the Maclay winners and six of the Medal winners, despite their young age, having already ridden on Nations Cup teams and others having gone on as trainers and amateur riders.


THE FIRST 50 years also saw winners going on to very varied careers while in the next 40 years the winners only continued their careers in show jumping, either as riders or trainers.

"We had a bigger life with horses then," said George Morris, a show jumping team silver medalist, top trainer and prior chef d'equipe. "We went fox hunting. We went racing. Our parents and our families were horse people. It's a totally different atmosphere now."

"The sport has become more specialized," said show jumping chef d'equipe Robert Ridland.

Bill SteinkrausBill SteinkrausDuring the first 50 years, many foxhunted during the winter, showed during the summer and often competed in more than one discipline as well as serving on committees and as CEOs.

The 1934 Maclay winner, Elizabeth (Lib) Hyland, married Hall of Fame trainer Jim Maloney, and one of her children, Sheila, rode the Junior Hunter Horse of the Year Champion three tim and her son, Woody, still officiates at steeplechase meets.

The 1937 Maclay winner, Walton Perry Davis continued hunting and founded the Walton P Davis horse vanning company, which was later bought by Tom Struzzieri before he sold it to found HITS,

Davis also won the Good Handsl in 1934, a saddle seat competition.

The 1940 Maclay winner, James Thomas Jr. went on to be President of the National Horse Show.

George Morris as a chef dequipeGeorge Morris as a chef dequipeThe 1941, 1947 and 1952 Maclay winners, Bill Steinkraus, who also won the Good Hands Saddle Seat Championship, Frank Chapot and Morris, who also won the Medal, went on to win multiple team and individual medals in Olympic and World Championships show jumping.

Steinkraus went on to serve as Chairman of the USET, and Chapot helped to write many of the show jumping rules for the AHSA and designed show jumping courses all over the country.

Chapot also rode successfully in steeplechase timber races and finished the world's toughest timber race, the Maryland Hunt Cup.

Morris served  as chef d'equipe for medal winning Olympic teams and is one of the greatest trainers of all  time,

The 1956 Medal winner, Michael Page, won team and individual medals in Three-day Eventing and went on to serve as chef d'equipe of numerous eventing Olympic teams.

Mike PlumbMike PlumbThe 1957 Maclay winner, Mike Plumb, won numerous team and individual three-day eventing Olympic medals and his son Charlie also competed in eventing.

Mary Mairs, winner of both the Medal and Maclay in 1960, married Frank Chapot, rode on an Olympic team, was the first woman to win a Pan Am gold medal and her daughters Wendy, as an amateur, and Laura, as a Pan Am medalist and Grand Prix winner, continue in her footsteps.

Bernie Traurig, who won both the Medal and Maclay in 1961, rode on a World Championships show jumping team and won championships in both dressage and evening and continues as a trainer today with his Equestrian Coach.

Chrys Jones Tauber winner of both the Medal and Maclay in in 1965, rode on two Olympic and two World Championships teams and served as President of the U.S. Equestrian Foundation.

Conrad Homfeld, winner of both in 1967, won a team gold and an individual Olympic medal and went on to an illustrious career as a course designer.

Joy Slater on CancottageJoy Slater on CancottageJoy Slater, the 1971 Medal winner, was the first woman to win the Maryland Hunt Cup and still rides as a amateur show jumper.

The 1972 Maclay winner, Leslie Burr Howard, won a Olympic team gold medal and still continues to compete, and the 1972 Medal winner ,Katie Monahan, won a World Championship team gold medal.

During the next 10 years, Maclay winners Katherine Burdsall and Peter Wylde and Medal winners Buddy Brown, Francie Steinwedell and Joan Scharffenberger all won in international competition.

The first 40 years of Medal and Maclay competition also produced such outstanding trainers and judges as Ronnie Mutch, Victor Hugo-Vidal, Wilson Dennehy, Carol Alltman and Fred Bauer.


IN THE 20 years from 1983 to 2004, only Kent Farrington, the 1998 Medal winner, won an Olympic medal, although Nicki Shahinian-Simpson and Erynn Ballard for Canada rode on teams and won internationally, and a few, most notably Stacia Klein Madden, are trainers.

Farrington, who led the World Show Jumping Rankings in 2017, now stands 11th.

While the Medal and Maclay are excellent pathways to the U.S. team, they're not a necessity.

This country's other top three riders never won either the Medal or the Maclay.

Beezie Madden, who stand seventh, and McLain Ward, who stands 10th, are double team Olympic gold medalist, and neither won either class, nor did Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut, who stand 42 in the world rankings.

Brian Moggre on EfendiBrian Moggre on Efendi winning the Maclay championship in 2018However, in the 15 years from 2005  through 2019, the Maclay and Medal produced a slew to winners that went on to ride successfully internationally.

"The winners in the past 15 years are a very strong group," said Ridland, who has already used eight of them on Nations Cup teams. "The Medal and Maclay serve as great stepping stones. They teach mental toughness as well as revealing great ability. Getting up at 4 a.m. to prepare for a Final and then competing through three or four ride-offs against the best of their age  teaches mental toughness."

"Some of these winners well may be on the team at the Tokyo Olympics and on future Olympic and Wold Championships teams."

Brianne Goutal, who won both the Medal and Maclay in 2005, has ridden on Nations Cup teams and in the World Cup Finals,and Maggie McAlary, also a double winner in 2006, rode on a Nations Cup team at Spruce Meadows.

Jessie Springsteen,2008 Maclay winner and 2009 Medal winner, has ridden on multiple Nations Cup teams and won at a number of international shows.

Brian Moggre on MTM Vivre Le ReveBrian Moggre on MTM Vivre Le Reve a year later winning the World Cup at The NationalZazou Hoffman, 2009 Maclay winners, rode on a Spruce Meadows Nations Cup team, and 2010 double winner Hayley Barnhill is a trainer in Waukesha, Wisc.

Jacob Pope, 2012 Maclay winner, shows hunters, and 2013 double winner Lillie Keenan has competed for the U.S. on many Nations Cup teams.

Victoria Colvin, 2014 Maclay winner, wins grand prix classes and is a super hunter rider, while Spenser Smith, 2014 Medal winner, has ridden on teams.

McKayla Langmeier, 2015 Maclay winner, competes in amateur jumpers, and Kelli Cruciotti, 2015 Medal winner, went to the World Cup Finals.

2016 Maclay winner Hunter Holloway, is a trainer, and Madison Goetzmann continues to compete successfully.

Sam Walker of Ontario, the 2018 Maclay winner, is already winning grand prix and looks destined to make a Canadian team, while Moggre has already won two World Cup classes and will be competing in the Finals next year.




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