The Show Jumping Hall of Fame announced it has elected Robert Ridland, Peter Doubleday, Colonel John W. “Gyp” Wofford, and Bold Minstrel as the inductees for 2019. They will be honored at the Show Jumping Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony at the Devon Horse Show (Pennsylvania).
Induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame is bestowed annually upon select individuals whose contributions to the sport have set them apart and whose influence has had a significant impact on the sport of show jumping and the equestrian community.
Robert Ridland rode on his first Olympic team for the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany, and helped the U.S. to a fourth-placed finish at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada. Ridland rode on many winning Nations Cup teams and rode in the FEI World Cup Finals in Gothenburg in 1981. A renowned course designer, Ridland has designed at major events including the Olympics and was honored as the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Course Designer of the Year twice.
Ridland founded and became president of Blenheim EquiSports, a management company that produces show jumping competitions. In that role, Ridland managed the Olympic and World Equestrian Games trials as well as the FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas.
In 2013, Ridland was named the U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe and Technical Advisor. The success of his program was highlighted in 2018 when the U.S. won team Gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games and claimed first, second and fourth places at the FEI World Cup Finals.
Peter Doubleday has been a prominent figure on the nation’s horse show circuit since 1975. As the show announcer for 30 or more horse shows a year both nationally and internationally, his voice has been heard by millions.
He has served as manager of top horse shows including the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Devon Horse Show and the National Horse Show (Kentucky). He also coordinated production of the show jumping world championships at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
Colonel John W. “Gyp” Wofford left his mark on the sport of Show Jumping as an Olympic rider, coach, and as the first president of the United States Equestrian Team. He was selected by General Harry Chamberlin for the U.S. Army Horse Show Team in 1929. Three years later, he rode as a member of the show jumping team at the 1932 Olympic Games.
Wofford helped found the United States’ first civilian equestrian team and became the USET’s first president. He coached the show jumping and three-day event teams in the USET’s initial Olympic appearance at the 1952 Games in Helsinki, winning team bronze medals in both disciplines. The team also placed sixth in the dressage competition. In 1953, Wofford was elected to the FEI executive committee.
Bold Minstrel was bred in 1952 by Oliver DeGray Vanderbilt. William “Billy” Haggard III acquired Bold Minstrel as a 5-year-old and started the horse’s career in foxhunting, hunters and eventing.
Haggard and Bold Minstrel were chosen for the U.S. team for the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago, where they helped the U.S. win the team silver medal and also finished ninth in the individual competition. Haggard and Bold Minstrel again represented the U.S. in eventing at the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they helped the U.S. win the team gold medal while placing sixth individually.
Haggard loaned Bold Minstrel to the team for Mike Plumb to ride in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Although Plumb and Bold Minstrel had only two weeks to get to know each other, the pair put in a superb performance to help the U.S. win the team silver medal and also finish 15th individually.
Bill Steinkraus, a good friend of Haggard’s who had strongly encouraged him to buy Bold Minstrel initially, pleaded with Haggard for years to let him compete him as a jumper. Haggard eventually gave in and Steinkraus took over the ride.
From 1966 to 1970, Steinkraus and Bold Minstrel were a force to be reckoned with both nationally and internationally. At the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, the pair was part of the silver medal-winning U.S. team and finished 9th individually. They also finished 9th individually at the 1970 world championships in LaBaule, France.
Bold Minstrel was well known for his limitless scope and was a top contender in Puissance classes. He and Steinkraus topped the class at the Pennsylvania National in 1967 and broke the record at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden (New York) by clearing the wall at 7’3″. A statue commemorating this great accomplishment stands at the Carolina Horse Park.
Bold Minstrel, who among other titles, won the Working Hunter and Conformation Hunter Championships at the National Horse Show, has also been inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall Of Fame.