Tough guys on a rainy day – American show jumping legends Frank Chapot, Bill Steinkraus and Bertalan de Neméthy!
The courses at the Olympics in Mexico City 1968 were among the biggest ever built. Especially the second round of the Individual competition were terrifying. Check out this enormous oxer measuring 1.80 x 2.20 m, here reconstructed by US rider and coach Bernie Traurig. Only two horses cleared this fence.
And here you can watch gold medal winner Bill Steinkraus jumping the course:
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.
Happy Birthday wishes to Bill Steinkraus, 86 years today!
William Steinkraus (USA) participated in 5 Olympic Games. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, he won a gold medal in Individual Jumping with Snowbound. He won two silver medals in Team Jumping, first in 1960 on Ksar d’Esprit, and 1972 on Main Spring. Steinkraus also won a bronze medal in Team Jumping at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki on Hollandia. He was also chosen to ride on the Tokyo 1964 Olympics until his horse, Sinjon, was injured. Steinkraus retired from international competition at the end of 1972.
Raimondo d’Inzeo talks about the Rome 1960 Olympics. Includes beautiful footage of Raimondo d’Inzeo on Posillipo, Piero d’Inzeo on The Rock, David Broome, William Steinkraus a.o. from the Rome Olympics. Raimondo won the gold medal, Piero won silver and David Broome bronze.
This weekend it’s time for the traditional meeting in the beautiful Schlosspark in Wiesbaden. The highlight is the Grand Prix, Grosser Preis von Wiesbaden, which was held for the first time in 1958 with Hans Günter Winkler on Halla as the winners. Many legendary winners have followed since, among them Fritz Thiedemann on Finale in 1959, William Steinkraus on Riviera Wonder in 1960 (photo below), Alwin Schockemöhle on Bacchus in 1960 and on Donald Rex in 1969 and 1970, Hartwig Steenken on Fairness in 1965, Frank Chapot on San Lucas in 1966, Anton Ebben on Kairouan in 1967, Hugo Simon on Fair Lady in 1971, Kathy Kusner on Triple Crown in 1972, Gerd Wiltfang on Askan in 1973 and Eddie Macken on Boomerang in 1975.
The splash in the water by Bill Steinkraus on Main Spring was his only fault and it cost the US team the Olympic team gold in Munich 1972. Instead Germany won by a quarter of a time fault.
This is the incredibly exciting battle for Olympic team gold between Germany and USA in Munich 1972. In this video clip we see Gerd Wiltfang on Askan, Piero d’Inzeo on Easter Light, Hans Günter Winkler on Torphy and William Steinkraus on Main Spring in the second round of the team competition. The final result:
1. West Germany with 32 penalties (Fritz Ligges – Robin 4+4, Hartwig Steenken – Simona 4+8, Gerd Wiltfang – Askan 8+4, Hans Günter Winkler – Torphy 8+8)
2. USA with 32,25 penalties (William Steinkraus – Main Spring 0+4, Neal Shapiro – Sloopy 8,25+0, Frank Chapot – White Lightning 8+28, Kathy Kusner – Fleet Apple 20+12)
3. Italy with 48 penalties (Vittorio Orlandi – Fulmer Feather Duster 4+4, Raimondo d’Inzeo – Fiorello 8+4, Graziano Mancinelli – Ambassador 20+8, Piero d’Inzeo – Easter Light 87,25+48)