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June 5, 2012

Gladstone Founded

Whitney Stone (right), shown with Thoroughbred breeder Humphrey Finney, was instrumental in guiding the U.S. Equestrian Team in the 1960s.

The Chronicle reports on the founding of the U.S. Equestrian Team training center in Gladstone, N.J., where it remains today.

Jan. 27, 1961

U.S. Equestrian Team Center

Whitney Stone, President of the U.S. Equestrian Team Inc. which sponsors this country’s Olympic horse activities, announced at the annual meeting of the organization at Houston, Texas, Jan. 14th: - “For the first time in our ten years of operations, I am happy to be able to say that we have acquired a permanent home and Training Center for future equestrian development. Located at Gladstone, N.J., on the extensive acreage of the Brady Estate, the new Training Center for Olympic equestrian events will open its office 1 February 1961.

"Under the general management of retired Brig. Gen. F.F. Wing, Jr., a past Olympic rider, and Coach Bertalan de Nemethy, we enter the second decade of our endeavor,” Mr. Stone stated. “Following the disbanding of our 1960 Olympic team which performed with distinction abroad, we start now the process of finding and developing amateur riders and outstanding horses to compete for the several teams, which, in 1963 and 1964, will represent this country at the Pan American and Olympic Games. At the New Jersey Center, it is our aim to develop riders and horses qualified to compete with the best of the world in international competition. Under current international rules, women riders may compete in the Jumping and Grand Dressage events, so we may look for some ladies again to be represented on some of our U.S. teams.”

The New Jersey home will provide superior stabling, living quarters for riders, a large training ring and several thousand acres for cross-country riding. The centralization of all activities, to include an office, at this location will simplify operations.

In addition to being the home of the Equestrian Team, the Center will provide the much needed means for the progressive and coordinated training of riders and horses that will represent the United States in the Prize of Nations, Three Day and Dressage competitions of the Olympic Games, as well as in international shows.

It is planned to establish a screening program, national in scope, whereby potential team material (horses and riders) will be selected and then assembled at the N.J. Center for further training. In addition, courses of instruction at the Center for advanced riders and/or instructors eventually will be conducted to include jumping, three day training, course designing and other aspects of FEI competition. Students receiving instruction will normally have to defray their own expenses.

Since its inception, the U.S. Equestrian Team has relied for support solely upon contributions; no federal agency or outside organization has furnished financial assistance. The cost of maintaining the Center and the support of the Teams is sizeable, since to achieve success, a year-in and year-out training program is required. Prospective horses and riders must continuously be searched-out and those demonstrating a potential, provided with further training. Unfortunately, and unlike most other sports, there is no built-in system in this country to carry horses and amateur riders to the point of perfection required for the Olympic competition. To fill this void is the basic objective of the U.S. Equestrian Team Inc., but it takes money from patriotic contributors.

This article was first published on Jan. 17, 1961, in The Chronicle. It's part of a series celebrating 75 years of Chronicle history.