Frank Chapot on Coach Stop in 1974.
Tough guys on a rainy day – American show jumping legends Frank Chapot, Bill Steinkraus and Bertalan de Neméthy!
Bertalan de Némethy (Feb. 24, 1911 – Jan. 16, 2002) was a cavalry officer in Hungary and later became the show jumping coach for the US Equestrian Team. Additionally, he was extremely influential in developing many of the riding and training methods used by show jumpers today.
De Némethy began riding as a child in Gyor, Hungary. He began competing in show jumping in his teens. Due to his uncle’s employment as a cavalry officer, de Némethy attended the Military Academy of Ludovica, in Budapest. He then entered the cavalry, riding six horses each day at the school, beginning with dressage horses, before having a lesson on the longe without stirrups, and then riding young horses cross-country. In 1937 he became an instructor. He was sent to train at the German cavalry school in Hanover, the first Hungarian officer to do so. There he was taught by the likes of Otto Lörke, Fritz Stecken, and Bubi Günther, and learned the German system of training horses.
World War II forced de Némethy to return to Hungary, but as the Russian Army approached Budapest, he and his fellow cadets decided to flee, they went to Denmark. De Némethy remained in Copenhagen for six years, employed as a riding instructor. In 1952 he emigrated to USA, where he began teaching and designed jumping courses for various horse shows. In 1955, on the advice of William Steinkraus and Arthur McCashin, de Némethy was asked by the US Equestrian Team to become the coach for the jumping team. De Némethy accepted the position, holding it until 1980. During this time he trained famous riders like George Morris, Joe Fargis, Frank Chapot, Kathy Kusner, Leslie Burr, Conrad Homfeld, Michael Matz, Melanie Smith, Neal Shapiro, and William Steinkraus.
He based his training on dressage work, jumping grids, and longeing, all of which was published in his classic book The de Némethy Method. While he was their coach, the US Show Jumping Team won the team silver at the 1960 and 1972 Olympics, the 1968 individual gold, and the 1972 individual bronze. Additionally, all four riders on the 1984 gold medal-winning team had been trained by de Némethy.
After coaching the US Team, de Némethy was much sought-after as a course designer. He was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1987.
Frank Chapot (USA) on Viscount at the Olympic Games in Montreal 1976.
Frank Chapot (USA) on Sinbad in Aachen 1959
Mary Mairs Chapot (*June 20, 1944 in Pasadena, CA, USA) married Frank Chapot in 1965. She was the first woman to win a Pan American Games Gold Medal and the first woman (with Kathy Kusner) to ride for the USA in the Olympic Games (in Tokyo 1964).
Internationally, Chapot achieved her greatest success riding the great mare Tomboy. In 1963, the pair won individual and team Gold Medals at the Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil; in 1965, they won the first U.S. Grand Prix, in Cleveland. Riding White Lightning, Chapot earned a team Silver Medal at the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. She rode on twenty-two winning Nations Cup squads. Her many individual triumphs include the Imperial Cup, John Player Cup, and Queen Elizabeth Cup in England, in addition to wins at Lucerne, Essen, Wiesbaden, and Ostend. She won consistently on the North American indoor circuit from 1962 through 1968, and she won the Grand Prix at The National Horse Show in 1966 and 1968.
Frank Chapot (* February 24, 1932 in Camden, New Jersey, USA) joined the US equestrian national team in 1956. In the next twenty years he won two Olympic team silver medals (Rome 1960 and Munich 1972), a bronze medal in the individual World Championships in Hickstead 1974 and gained prestigious victories in the King George V Gold Cup and in the Grand Prix of New York. He participated in all six Olympic Games from 1956 to 1976. After his riding career he became chef d’equipe for the US team. Under Frank Chapot’s leadership the USA won their first ever team gold medals in Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, and also their first ever World Championships team gold medals in Aachen 1986. In 1965 he married Mary Mairs, his Olympic team mate. They later took up horse breeding. The famous Gem Twist was Chapot’s breeding, a son of his Good Twist. The rider of Gem Twist, Greg Best was his pupil. Chapot also had a career as a course designer.
San Lucas was the horse that Frank Chapot rode at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo and in Mexico City 1968, where he was fourth in both the team and the individual competition. San Lucas was also one of the two horses (the other was Good Twist) that helped Chapot gain second place in the 1966 European Championships in Lucerne.