Adolph Mogavero, a respected horseman, official and member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, died Aug. 25 in Sarasota, Fla. He was 89.
Mr. Mogavero was born just outside of Boston, Mass. He lived down the road from a horse farm and would regularly stop on the way home, sit on the fence and watch the riders. When he was 9 years old, the trainer asked him if he would like to begin riding, an offer he promptly accepted.
He faked sickness to attend a horse show when he was in the eighth grade, and after winning a class his photograph was published in the local newspaper. When school officials saw the photo, Mr. Mogavero was expelled. From that point on, horses and riding were his life, though he did also fly planes in the Air Force.
Mr. Mogavero rode in races on the flat and over fences and then was a professional show rider in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, competing hunters and jumpers with great success. He won numerous jumper championships with First Chance, Sonoro, Balko’s Edge, Ping Pong, Blue Bird and Fire One, and American Horse Shows Association hunter championships with Quaker Bonnet, Lea’s Boots, Bronze Wing and Jane Tanner. He was known as a very stylish rider.
In 1991, Mr. Mogavero was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. Though he was injured in the 1970s, limiting his riding career, he served as a U.S. Equestrian Federation jumper judge and as a director of the American Grand Prix Association up until the time of his death. He passed his love of horses to his daughters Chris Deluna and Sheryl Harris and granddaughter Heather Deluna.
“I think that as a family we didn’t really appreciate his level of expertise as much as everybody else did,” Chris said. “Being around horses all of our lives gave us a different perspective. Horses bring something very special into your life that you can’t explain to anyone, and I’ll always thank him for sharing that with us. It still feels like he’s away at a horse show, but I guess he’s at the ultimate horse show now.”
In addition to his daughters and granddaughter, Mr. Mogavero is survived by his wife of 60 years, Jean, Sarasota, Fla. Memorial contributions may be made to the U.S. Equestrian Federation, 4047 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511 or Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250.