Anne Kursinski, Fran Steinwedell, Walter Devereux, and The Natural Honored in Special Ceremony at Devon Horse Show
CLICK HERE to hear Five-time Olympian Anne Kursinski speak about mental strength with Mental Skills Coach, Tonya Johnston on The Plaidcast!
Lexington, KY – June 5, 2017 – Olympic medalist Anne Kursinski; Fran Steinwedell, a devoted owner and supporter of U.S. show jumping; Walter B. Devereux III, a major contributor to the sport; and World Cup winner, “The Natural,” were officially inducted in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame during the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony at the Devon Horse Show on Thursday, June 1.
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, voted Kursinski, Steinwedell, Devereux, and The Natural, as the Hall of Fame’s newest inductees.
Peter Doubleday, Chairman of the Board of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., formally inducted the four new members into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. Each Hall of Famer was presented with a beautiful, specially inscribed Tiffany crystal bowl to commemorate the occasion. Kursinski and Steinwedell were on-hand to accept their awards surrounded by close friends and family members. Accepting the award on behalf of Walter Devereux was Kiley Prime, a close friend of the Devereux family. Attending the ceremony on behalf of “The Natural” were the husband (Paul Heller) and son (Kyle Heller) of Katharine Burdsall, who rode The Natural to much of his success; the horse’s long-time groom, Joy McCormick, and her son, James; and Paula Inman, whose family imported The Natural and who then gave the horse his new name.
Anne Kursinski has been an influential competitor for over 30 years and is one of the all-time leading riders in U.S. show jumping history. She rode in three Olympic Games, winning two Team Silver medals, including the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta with ‘Eros’ and the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, where she also tied for fourth individually, aboard her famed mount, ‘Starman,’ a 2012 Show Jumping Hall of Fame inductee. Kursinski also served as traveling Alternate on two other U.S. Olympic teams.
Kursinski began her international riding career while still in high school. She won Individual and Team Gold medals at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela riding ‘Livius.’ She has represented the U.S. at two FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG), in 47 U.S. Nations Cup teams and in 10 FEI World Cup™ Finals. At the 1997 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, she was the highest-placed U.S. rider, finishing tied for fifth place.
Kursinski has won almost every major equestrian competition across the nation and around the world. Some of her major national wins include the American Invitational, American Gold Cup and Hampton Classic. Internationally, she was the first American to win the Grand Prix of Rome, the second woman and third American to win the Grand Prix of Aachen and the first American and first woman to win the Gran Premio Pulsar in Monterrey, Mexico.
In 1988 and 1992 Kursinski was voted American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) Horsewoman of the Year. In 1991 she won the Leading Lady Rider Award at the FEI World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg and the USOC named her Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year. That year L’Annee Hippique ranked her as the number one American and number one female rider in the world. In 1995 she was AHSA Equestrian of the Year and in 2011 she was voted America’s Favorite Show Jumping Equestrian.
Kursinski’s is a USHJA clinician, member of the USHJA and USET Executive Committees and of the USEF Board of Directors. In 2012 she served as the USEF Chef d’Equipe at the CSIOYJ in Belgium and she was a team selector for the 2014 U.S. WEG Bronze medal team and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Silver medal team.
Kursinski continues to train and help riders achieve their goals at her Market Street facility in Frenchtown, NJ and all over the country. She has worked with many top riders such as Hunter Holloway, Victoria Birdsall, Katie Cox and Eventer, Matt Brown. In 2012 Kursinski released the second edition of her successful book, Anne Kursinski’s Riding and Jumping Clinic and in 2015 she launched an online instructional website called ‘Riding & Jumping Mentor’ where members benefit from her vast knowledge of riding and show jumping via instructional videos and articles. She also serves as an analyst on show jumping telecasts.
Inducted with Kursinski was her long-time patron, Frances B. (Fran) Steinwedell, a devoted supporter of show jumping in the US for decades. In addition to her ownership of several top Grand Prix horses, she has helped pave the road to success for talented riders such as her daughter Francie Steinwedell-Carvin and Kursinski.
Throughout her junior years, Steinwedell schooled, hunted, and showed horses in the Midwest. In 1946, she received a certificate of honor from the Chicago Sun newspaper after she co-produced one of the first all junior horse shows. In the 1970s she showed Amateur-Owners in California receiving some year-end awards. Her daughter won both the Medal and Maclay Finals and went on to represent the US in Europe before opening her own business.
Over the years, Steinwedell loaned several horses to the United States Equestrian Team (USET). Her most noteworthy included ‘Livius’, double Gold medalist at the 1983 Pan American Games; and ‘Starman’ who was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2012. ‘Starman’ helped the US win the Silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and won the Grand Prix of Aachen in 1991. ‘Starman’ was named Show Jumping Horse of the Year by The Chronicle of the Horse in 1990. Steinwedell was also part of the ‘Eros Group’. ‘Eros’ carried Kursinski to many Grand Prix wins globally as well as to team Silver in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Steinwedell was president of the Flintridge Riding Club where she worked with Jimmy Williams to develop the sport on the west coast. She initiated the Grand Prix of Flintridge, the second Grand Prix ever held on the west coast and one of the first FEI World Cup Qualifiers in the west. She was also a founding member of the American Grandprix Association (AGA), and she has served on many boards including the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA) for 20 years, West Coast Equestrian (WCE), USET, where she is an Honorary Life Trustee, and the Show Jumping Hall of Fame with whom she was a founding member and on whose board she continues to serve. Steinwedell was PCHA Horsewoman of the year in 1992.
Steinwedell was the first person ever to reach 35 years as a member of the USET Gold Medal Club which has honored her for her many years of outstanding support.
Walter B. Devereux had a lifelong interest in horses beginning at the age of 6. He was originally passionate about the sport of polo along with his grandfather and father who helped found the Intercollegiate Polo Association in 1903. The Devereux family was the first in the country to create a family polo team.
Devereux became secretary of the National Horse Show in 1948 and went on to serve as Vice President in 1950 and had three separate terms as President (1954-1956; 1961; 1963-1969).
Under his leadership the National became less of a gentleman’s club and more of a “business.” It was under his leadership in 1968 that the National was moved from the old to the new Madison Square Garden in New York City. It proved a successful, yet difficult, move as the new venue offered less space for horses and Devereux was forced to streamline the schedule. Despite those hardships, along with two nights of snow, the 1968 National attracted record crowds and turned a profit, which helped save the existence of America’s most famous horse show.
Devereux owned several hunters and jumpers with his wife “Bunny” and their daughters, Lindly and Anne, also rode and competed. Always ready to do what he could to help support the sport, Devereux purchased and then permanently loaned the legendary jumping horse, Sinjon, to the USET, where he became a hugely successful mount for Olympic riders George Morris, Kathy Kusner, and Bill Steinkraus. Sinjon won many international competitions around the world with those riders, participated on 19 winning Nations’ Cup teams, and helped the U.S. win a team Silver Medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics with Morris in the saddle. Sinjon was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1999.
Devereux also served for many years as an officer and director of the American Horse Shows Association (AHSA), now the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), as well as the USET. He also served on the Bureau of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). He was a respected judge and headed judging panels for the Pan American Games.
Devereux passed away in 1970. His contributions to the sport are honored to this day with the USEF’s annual presentation of the Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award to the horseman or horsewoman who personifies the ideals of sportsmanship through commitment, dedication and service to the sport.
The first show horse to have a million dollar price tag, The Natural achieved great success both in the U.S. and internationally. The bay, Hanoverian gelding, foaled in 1977, was ridden in the 1980s by Rodney Jenkins and Katharine Burdsall, and later by Alice Debany. His outstanding record included winning the FEI World Cup Finals and a team Gold Medal at the World Championships.
Known originally as Donald 158, he was imported from Germany by Paula Inmanwho changed his name to The Natural after watching the 1984 Robert Redford baseball movie of the same name.
Under the ownership of Sheldon Gordon (together first with Sale Johnson and then Rodney Jenkins), The Natural had a standout 1985 season. With Jenkins in the saddle, The Natural won five grand prix events, including the American Gold Cup. The Natural was then sold for the then-record sum to Paul Greenwood and on Christmas Eve of that year he moved to Greenwood’s Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. Greenwood gave his ride to Katharine Burdsall, a Grand Prix rider who had won the ASPCA Maclay Final in 1975.
The Natural and Burdsall won their first Grand Prix together, the $30,000 Gold Coast Grand Prix, at the Palm Beach Polo Club in 1986. They were selected for the U.S. team for the 1986 World Championships in Aachen, Germany, and helped the U.S. win the team Gold Medal.
After returning to the United States, they put together an amazing run, winning three of the biggest Grand Prix events in the country – the Hampton Classic, the American Gold Cup and the President’s Cup at the Washington International Horse Show. These three wins, all World Cup qualifiers, earned the pair a trip to the 1987 World Cup Finals in Paris where they emerged as champions. For good measure, they stayed in Europe following the World Cup and won the Lucerne Grand Prix in Switzerland and the International Jumping Masters of Germany.
The following year, The Natural and Burdsall were selected for the U.S. team for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. However, days before leaving, The Natural popped a splint, forcing him to miss the Games, undergo surgery and take a year off.
While The Natural was recovering, Burdsall retired from competition and Alice Debany took over his rehabilitation. The two would spend three years together, continuing the horse’s incredible career. In 1990, Debany and The Natural won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows as well as the Grand Prix of Detroit and the Grand Prix at the National Horse Show. The Natural was officially retired in the spring of 1994 at the age of 17. He lived another 14 comfortable years at Old Salem Farm before being laid to rest on April 12, 2008.
Since 1987, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame has inducted William C. Steinkraus, Bertalan de Nemethy, Idle Dice (1987); Patrick Butler, August A. Busch, Jr. (1988); David Kelley, Jimmy Williams, Ben O’Meara, Frances Rowe (1989); Arthur McCashin, Kathy Kusner, Brigadier General Harry D. Chamberlin, San Lucas (1990); Adolph Mogavero, Whitney Stone, Morton “Cappy” Smith, Pat Dixon (1991); Eleonora “Eleo” Sears, Mary Mairs Chapot, Barbara Worth Oakford, Snowman (1992); Dr. Robert C. Rost, Joe Green (1993); Frank Chapot, Gordon Wright (1994); Mickey Walsh, Trail Guide (1995); Pamela Carruthers, Jet Run, Richard “Dick” Donnelly and Heatherbloom (1996); Edward “Ned” King, Bobby Egan and Sun Beau (1997); Fred “Freddy” Wettach, Jr., Melanie Smith Taylor, Johnny Bell (1998); Rodney Jenkins, Sinjon, Franklin F. “Fuddy” Wing, Jr. and Democrat (1999); George Morris, Carol Durand, Touch of Class (2000); Eugene R. Mische, Lt. Colonel John W. Russell, Bobby Burke, Untouchable (2001); Harry R. Gill, Clarence L. “Honey” Craven, Calypso, Gem Twist (2002); J. Russell Stewart, Sr., Main Spring (2003); Snowbound (2004); Michael Matz, For The Moment (2005); Conrad Homfeld (2006); Joe Fargis, Karen Golding, Marcia “Mousie” Williams (2007); Dr. John Steele, Abdullah, Miss Budweiser, Riviera Wonder (2008); Neal Shapiro, Balbuco (2009); John D. Ammerman, Leonard A. King, Jr., Good Twist (2010); Jane Forbes Clark, Gabor Nicholas Foltenyi, Hap Hansen, Larry Langer (2011); Starman, Nautical, D. Gerald Baker, Charles “Sonny” Brooks (2012); Daniel Marks, VMD, Seamus Brady, Steve Stephens (2013); and F. Eugene Fitz Dixon, Jr., Major General Guy Henry and I Love You (2014); Elizabeth Busch Burke, Katie Monahan Prudent and Susan Hutchison (2015).
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Plaques honoring those who have been honored with induction 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’s Wheeler Museum at the Horse Park.
Further information about the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, including the plaques of all previous inductees, is available online at www.ShowJumpingHallofFame.net
CLICK HERE to hear Five-time Olympian Anne Kursinski speak about mental strength with Mental Skills Coach, Tonya Johnston on The Plaidcast!