Award-winning rider, trainer and course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio and internationally respected official and clinician Linda Allen were inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame on March 5. The induction gala in Wellington, Florida, also honored Canadian show jumping legend Ian Millar with the Hall’s inaugural International Award.
Induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame is an honor 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. It is because of their talents, efforts, accomplishments, and what they have brought to the sport, that the Election Committee, comprising some of the nation’s top riders, trainers and officials, elected D’Ambrosio and Allen as the class of 2022.
Anthony D’Ambrosio is an award-winning rider, trainer and FEI ‘I’ four-star course designer with more than 50 years of experience.
As a rider, he had many successes, winning more than 30 grand prix classes including the Hampton Classic, USET Show Jumping Championship, International Jumping Derby and the International Cup of Mexico. He set, and currently holds, the puissance high jump record twice. He first set it in 1973 at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden where he jumped 7’4” aboard Sympatico, and then at the Washington International Horse Show in 1983 riding Sweet ‘n’ Low, clearing the wall set at 7’7 ½”, a record that still stands.
A member of the USET, D’Ambrosio began designing courses in 1995. He has created tests at some of the best venues in the sport, including the 2009 and 2015 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, and since 2009 at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida) and since 2003 at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.
Additionally, D’Ambrosio has served as technical delegate at numerous international competitions including Spruce Meadows, the 2022 World Equestrian Games (Denmark), 2019 Pan American Games (Peru,) 2010 World Cup Finals (Switzerland) and 2012 World Cup Finals (The Netherlands). In recognition of his work, D’Ambrosio was named the USHJA Course Designer of the Year in 2008 and 2010.
During his career, D’Ambrosio has sold four Olympic horses, three of which he developed from an early age, as well as many other grand Ppix winners. He also has a consulting business which provides guidance and knowledge to many of the top equine facilities in the country. He and his wife, Michael, are based out of Wild Horse Ranch in Red Hook, New York. They have a son, Cody and welcomed their granddaughter, Antonetta, in 2021.
Linda Allen has spent more than 60 years in equestrian sports. She began as a rider, representing the U.S. in international competition, and followed that with a career as an internationally respected official that saw her judge and design courses for some of the world’s premier events including the FEI World Cup Finals and Olympic Games. Early in her career, Allen developed horses for, and competed at, the grand prix level throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including being a member of multiple U.S. Nations Cup squads.
Following her riding career, Allen became a USEF ‘R’ jumper course designer and judge, FEI Level 3 judge and an FEI Level 4 course designer. This carried her to the sport’s highest level. Allen was technical delegate for the 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games (The Netherlands), 1999 Pan American Games (Canada), three FEI World Cup Finals, the 1998 America’s Cup Junior and Young Rider Championships (Brazil), and 2006 World Children’s Final (Canada). She has also served as president of the ground jury for FEI events in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including the 2007 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Allen also served on the ground jury for FEI events including the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games (Kentucky) and 2000 FEI World Cup Finals (Nevada).
It is perhaps as a course designer where Allen achieved her greatest fame. She designed courses at major events around the world including the 1996 Olympic Games, 1992 FEI World Cup Finals (California), 1999 World Breeding Championships for Young Horses (Belgium), 2003 Super League Nations Cup (Ireland), 2004 & 2005 Super League Nations Cup (The Netherlands), 2005 & 2006 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (Virginia) and 2007 World Children’s Final (Mexico).
Allen also served as a design consultant for more than 50 equestrian facilities throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada and conducted clinics worldwide for riding, course design and judging. She has served on the boards of USEF, USET, USA Equestrian Trust, Young Jumper Futurity, Young Jumper Championships, Young Horse Trainers’ School, Monterey Horse Park, International Course Designers Council and others.
As an author, her work has appeared in the Chronicle, L’Année Hippique and EquestrianCoach.com. She also authored the book “101 Jumping Exercises for Horse and Rider” and the DVD “The JumpSmart Guide to Course Building.”
Allen has received many honors and awards including the USEF Pegasus Medal of Honor, The Chronicle of the Horse’s Show Jumping Horseman of the Year, and the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Horsewoman of the Year, Special Achievement Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been honored as Course Designer of the Year four times by the USEF and three times by the PCHA.
Current Canadian show jumping team chef d’equipe Millar became the first recipient of the Hall of Fame’s new International Award.
“While induction into the Hall of Fame is for Americans who have had a significant impact on the sport, we wanted to recognize some of the great international riders who also impact show jumping in this country,” Doubleday said. “With that in mind, we initiated our new International Award and we felt that there was no more worthy candidate to be the initial recipient than ‘Captain Canada,’ Ian Millar.”
Millar is the most decorated equestrian in Canadian history. A two-time World Cup champion, he competed in 10 Olympic Games, more than any athlete in any sport. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1986, Ontario’s Athlete of the Year in 1989 and an honorary doctorate by the University of Guelph in 2005. Together with longtime partner Big Ben, he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Jump Canada Hall of Fame. Millar was also inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame was organized to promote the sport of show jumping in the U.S. and to immortalize the legends of the men, women and horses who have made great contributions to the sport. The Show Jumping Hall of Fame is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Plaques honoring those who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame can be seen at the Horse Park’s Rolex Stadium. Mementos and artifacts from the sport’s history are on display as part of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame collection at the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Wheeler Museum at the Horse Park.
For more information, visit www.ShowJumpingHallofFame.net.