Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bill Steinkraus RIP

 The legendary show jumper rider, Bill Steinkraus, left us on November 29th, joining a number of influential horsemen and horsewomen who have passed away this year. He was 92. Steinkraus was an Olympian, a stylist and influenced show jumping here in the US like no other.  He was born in Cleveland and lessoned with Gordon Wright and Cappy Smith, riding sales horses for Smith.  In 1941 he won both the ASPCA Maclay Cup in Hunter Seat Equitation and the Good Hands Finals in Saddle Seat, something that is totally unheard of today.  He attended Yale University shortly thereafter but left to join the Calvary (one of the last two classes to receive their training on horseback).  He went to Burma in World War II and returned to Yale to complete his degree in 1949. 

Steinkraus joined the Olympic team at the 1952 Helsinki Games. He also was a true amateur during this time, working as a businessman. He was the first American show jumper to win an Olympic gold medal (at Mexico City in 1968) and he competed in six Olympic Games.  He shared a team bronze in 1952, a silver team medal in 1060 and 1972.  Steinkraus retired from international competition at the end of 1972. He authored several books which I highly recommend if you have not read them:


  • The U.S. Equestrian Team Book of Riding (1976)
  • Riding and Jumping (1961)
  • The Horse in Sport (1987)
  • Reflections on Riding and Jumping (1991)

 RIP Bill Steinkraus.

Here is a link to his obituary in the New York Times.

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