2018 USEA Eventing Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced

May 15, 2018 - 12:09 PM

The U.S. Eventing Association announced the new inductees that will join the 40 other members of the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame in 2018. This year, we will honor six inductees whose accomplishments and contributions have truly made a difference in the sport of eventing. The inductees will be formally inducted during the Hall of Fame Gala at the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana this December.

The inductees are Kerry Millikin’s Olympic partner Out and About, Nina and Tim Gardner, Captain Mark Phillips, Karen O’Connor, Howard Simpson and Dr. Marty Simensen.

Out and About, a 16.2 hand dark bay Thoroughbred gelding (L’Amour Rullah—Incarnadine) was Kerry Millikin’s horse of a lifetime and one of the greatest eventing Thoroughbreds of all time.

“Outie” and Millikin traveled the world together, racking up numerous victories for the U.S., including an individual bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and team bronze and individual 15th at the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome, Italy. To add to their impressive resume, the pair also finished fifth at the Blenheim CCI*** (England), fifth at the Kentucky Three-Day Event, seventh in the open European Championship at Burghley (England), and third at the Badminton CCI**** (England).

From Badminton, Burghley, Kentucky, and Blenheim to the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games, Outie and Millikin did it all. Other than a handful of time faults, Outie’s cross-country record was nearly flawless. Never having a stop, runout, or any sort of trouble on course, Outie was the epitome of an eventing legend. Full of strength, talent, determination, and poise, this duo could accomplish anything.

After retiring from competition in 2000, Outie lived the rest of his years happy and carefree. In 2015, Outie passed away at the age of 28.

Nina and Tim Gardner have been active supporters of the sport and its future for many years as owners, breeders, and volunteers. They have a passion for developing young talent, both in horses and in riders.

The Gardners began supporting Phillip Dutton more than 25 years ago. Among his many accomplishments with the Gardners horses over the years, Dutton rode the Gardner’s homebred, House Doctor, to team gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and individual fifth place at the 2002 World Equestrian Games (Spain). The Gardners helped Dutton and his wife, Evie, purchase True Prospect Farm, which has become a well-known training center for professional eventers in the United States.

Jennie Brannigan began working with the Gardners while she was a young rider working for Dutton at True Prospect Farm. Ten years later, Brannigan and Cambalda have won numerous three-star titles, including the 2014 Fair Hill International CCI*** (Maryland) and the 2017 Great Meadow International FEI Nations Cup CICO*** (Virginia), and Cambalda was named USEA Horse of the Year twice, in 2010 and 2017.

Owner Nina Gardner (left) and rider Jennie Brannigan (right) accepted the Casar Trophy for Cambalda’s 2010 USEA Horse of the Year title.

The Gardners have been breeding Thoroughbreds for more than 40 years. While many of their Thoroughbreds go to the track to race, the Gardners’ breeding program focuses on producing an all-purpose Thoroughbred that will go on to have a long and successful life after the track. One shining example of this is Twilightslastgleam, a homebred of the Gardners whose bloodlines have been in the Gardners breeding program since the early 1980s. The Gardners have registered more than 55 horses with the USEA, demonstrating their prolific support for the sport despite not being actively competing riders themselves.

In 2015, Tim and Nina Gardner received the PRO (now ERA of NA) As You Like It Owner’s Award, which was established to honor owners who have not only supported a rider’s career but have also been a positive influence to the sport of eventing.

Karen Lende O’Connor has competed in five Olympic Games, three World Equestrian Games, and two Pan-American Games. In 1993, O’Connor was the No. 1. ranked lady rider in the world and she has been named U.S. Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year 10 times.

O’Connor began competing internationally in the late 1970s and began riding with the U.S. Equestrian Team in 1986 at the World Championships in Gawler, Australia, where she rode Lutin V. In the 1980s she won multiple CCI*** events and rode for the U.S. in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

During the 1990s, O’Connor and her USEA Eventing Hall of Fame partner Biko were mainstays of the U.S. team, riding to multiple top-ten finishes at major international events including the Badminton Horse Trials and Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. O’Connor rode Biko at the 1994 World Equestrian Games (the Netherlands) and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where they were part of the silver medal team. O’Connor went on to ride Prince Panache at the 1998 WEG, where the U.S. team won the bronze medal. Shortly after that, the pair won the 1999 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. At the 2000 Olympics, O’Connor and Prince Panache were members of the bronze medal team.

Karen O’Connor and Theodore O’Connor.

In the early 2000s, O’Connor found success with Joker’s Wild, winning the individual silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games (Dominican Republic), and with Upstage, whom she competed with at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. O’Connor also found success aboard the 14.1 hand Sport Pony Theodore O’Connor, finishing third at the 2007 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and sixth there again in 2008. At the 2007 Pan American Games (Brazil), O’Connor and “Teddy” won individual gold and team gold. O’Connor piloted Mandiba through the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, and then together represented the U.S. at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010.

She finished ninth at the 2012 Olympics in London with Mr. Medicott, where O’Connor served as the highest-ranking U.S. rider at the Games that year. O’Connor was also noted as the oldest Olympian to represent the U.S. in any sport at the London Games, paying tribute to her lifetime fitness programs and dedication to the sport.

On October 6, 2012, O’Connor fell while competing Veronica, suffering burst and compression fractures in her vertebra and later undergoing surgery that would input two permanent titanium rods to support her spine. Fighting all odds, she made a strong recovery and in 2015 was appointed the team coach to the Mexican Eventing Team. O’Connor now spends her time teaching students, commentating at international events, and inspiring others through motivational speaking.

Captain Mark Phillips began his eventing career in the Beaufort Hunt Pony Club, riding alongside Mike Tucker and under the Olympic gold medalist, Colonel Frank Weldon. He went on to win a team gold medal for Great Britain at the Munich Olympics in 1972 (Germany) and was on the gold medal winning British teams for the World Championships (Ireland) in 1970 and European Championships (England) in 1971. Phillips won Badminton Horse Trials four times, in 1971, 1972, 1974, and 1981. He also won Burghley in 1973 and represented Great Britain on two winning Nations Cup show jumping teams. Phillips retired from competing in 1988 after earning a team silver medal at the Seoul Olympic Games (South Korea).

Following his retirement from competition, Phillips focused on his cross-country course design career. He designed the Burghley CCI**** course from 1989-1996, 1998-2000, and 2005-present, and also designed the Luhmuhlen CCI**** (Germany) course for 12 years. In the U.S. he designed the USEA American Eventing Championships for several years and is currently the designer for several events including those held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and the upcoming World Equestrian Games.

Captain Mark Phillips

In 1994 Phillips took on the role of chef d’equipe for the U.S. team and held that position for nearly 20 years. Under his guidance the U.S. won individual silver at the 1994 World Equestrian Games; individual gold and team silver at the 1995 Pan American Games (Argentina); individual bronze and team silver at the 1996 Olympic Games; team bronze at the 1998 World Championships; individual silver and bronze and team gold at the 1999 Pan American Games (Canada); individual gold and team bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games; team gold at the 2002 World Equestrian Games; individual gold, silver, and bronze and team gold at the 2003 Pan American Games; individual silver and team bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games (Greece); individual bronze at the 2006 World Equestrian Games; individual gold, silver, and bronze and team gold at the 2007 Pan American Games; individual silver at the 2008 Olympic Games; and individual silver and bronze and team gold at the 2011 Pan American Games (Mexico).

Howard Simpson grew up fox hunting and served as Master of the Foxhounds for the Mill Creek Hunt in Illinois. He was a member of the U.S. Air Force from 1969 until 1972 during which he was a paramedic and member of the flight surgeons office during his tour in Vietnam.

Simpson married Martha Smith in 1984 and the next year the pair, along with Smith’s sister, Linda Buonanno, hosted the first American Continental Young Riders Championship at their Tempel Farms in Wadsworth, Illinois. In 1997, Simpson took over as the sole organizer of the NAJYRC and provided much needed financial support for the program. He would serve as the Director of the NAJYRC for more than 20 years and Tempel Farms would host the championships 13 times.

December 1996, the United States Equestrian Team asked the American Horse Show Association (now USEF) to investigate a site for the first four-star in North America. Simpson was selected along with then U.S. Chef d’ Equipe Captain Mark Phillips to investigate potential sites. The pair eventually decided upon the Kentucky Three-Day Event to become a CCI***. Simpson used that experience as chairman of the task force to select the second CCI**** in North America, which will eventually be held at Fair Hill International.

David O’Connor (right) selected Howard Simpson as the Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy recipient for his calm demeanor even in stressful situations.

In the early 2000s Simpson was a member of the USEA Board of Governors and served as vice president of communications. He was on the former USET Board of Directors and continues to serve on USEF committees including the USEF Board of Directors. He is currently a member of the Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant Selection Committee.

In 1997 Simpson was honored with the Wofford Cup, an award that is chosen each year by past recipients to recognize those that have given back to the sport of eventing. In 2002 Simpson received the Towerheads’ Distinguished Service to the Industry Award, and in 2004 he was the winner of the USEF Perpetual Sportsmanship Award, which honors the horseman or horsewoman who “exemplifies the ideal of good sportsmanship through commitment, dedication, and service to USEF throughout his or her career.” Simpson also received the Sallie Bush Wheeler Award in 2011 and 2015 and the Pegasus Medal of Honor in 2015. Most recently, Simpson was chosen to receive the USEA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

In 2004 the USEF started giving a new award annually at the NAJYRC. The Howard B. Simpson High Five Trophy is awarded to a volunteer who best exemplifies Simpson’s spirit of volunteering, dedication, and commitment to the Championships. Simpson was the inaugural recipient of the award.

Dr. A. Martin “Marty” Simensen served as the U.S. Equestrian Team veterinarian for over 22 years and was widely known and loved for his commitment to his patients and the owners behind them. Dr. Simensen’s work touched the lives of countless equestrians, veterinarians, and horses; and he has become world famous through his dedication and support of the equine athlete.

Dr. Simensen maintained a practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire until his passing and he was a leading innovator in equine practice. He introduced mobile ultrasound for horses and computerized veterinary records well before they became mainstream in the profession.

In the early 1970s when the USET moved to Hamilton, Massachusetts, Dr. Simensen volunteered his services to the team horses. The connection proved to be kismet, as he ended up serving as the official veterinarian for the USET at multiple Olympic Games, Pan American Games, and World Championships. While under his care, the U.S. Combined Training mounts earned countless medals and accolades. Dr. Simensen’s early work on heat stress in the equine athlete, especially in relation to the eventing horse, is credited as being “legendary” and “groundbreaking.”

His contributions to equestrian athletes reached far beyond the bounds of the sport of eventing. Numerous trophies and awards are named in his honor, including but not limited to: the United States Equestrian Federation Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy for humanitarian acts in the equestrian community, the Tufts University A. Martin Simensen, D.V.M. Endowed Prize, the United States Hunter Jumper Association Marty Simensen Award, the Dressage at Devon Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy, the U.S. Eventing Association’s A. Martin Simensen, DVM Memorial Trophy, and fence No. 1 of every Groton House Farm Horse Trial, which has carried his name since his passing. Dr. Simensen’s renown also stretched into horse racing, as was evidenced by more than 700 people who honored him by attending his Celebration of Life held at Suffolk Downs race track in Boston, Massachusetts prior to his passing.

Dr. Simensen was a founding member of the American Horse Council and a very early member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners which he joined in 1958. He served on the; AAEP Racing Committee from 1978-1987, AAEP Trail & Events Committee from 1977-1985, AAEP Horse Show Committee from 1984-1992, and served as the AAEP liaison to the American Horse Shows Association in the early 1990s. Dr. Simensen was known for his generosity of expertise and friendship and was always willing to give his time to those who asked for it. He mentored many young veterinarians nationally and internationally, to whom he demonstrated the value of hard work, professionalism, and compassion to all living creatures – humans and animals alike.

Dr. Simensen passed away on December 7, 1995 at the age of 65.

 

 

 

 

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