July 2019 - Robert Ridland Honored


Long and ongoing career honored with induction into Show Jumping Hall of Fame.

The Show Jumping Hall of Fame recently held its annual induction ceremony at the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania. Among the four new inductees were Olympic veteran and current U.S. Chef d’Equipe, Robert Ridland; long-time announcer and horse show manager, Peter Doubleday; Olympic rider and coach and the first President of the USET, Colonel John W. “Gyp” Wofford; and Bold Minstrel, the only horse to win medals for the U.S. at the Pan American Games in two different disciplines.

The ceremony took place on Thursday evening May 31, just prior to the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.

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 them as the class of 2018.

Accepting the engraved Tiffany crystal bowls, gifts from the Show Jumping Hall of Fame for inductees, were, from left, Mrs. Paul A. (Dodie) Seymour and Jimmy Wofford, Col. Wofford’s son and daughter; Bill Haggard, son of Billy Haggard, an owner and rider of Bold Minstrel; and Ridland and Doubleday. Photo: Phelps Media Group

Remarkable Resume

From Olympic rider and network broadcaster to international official, award-winning course designer, and U.S. Chef d’Equipe, California’s Robert Ridland has had a career in show jumping that is virtually unparalleled.

While still an undergraduate at Yale, Ridland was selected for his first Olympic team for the 1972 Games in Munich. Four years later, he helped the U.S. to a fourth place finish at the 1976 Games in Montreal.

Ridland achieved great success in the ring throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. Among his more noteworthy accomplishments were wins in the American Invitational in Tampa Stadium, the Grand Prix of the United States at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden, and the Grand Prix of Switzerland at Lucerne.

Ridland rode on winning Nations Cup teams at Lucerne (1976), Rotterdam (1978), Toronto (1978) and Spruce Meadows (1986) and also rode in the FEI World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg in 1981. Twice he finished in the top 10 of the AGA Rider of the Year standings, including 1986 when he was third. In 1985, he set what were then AGA records by winning three straight events and placing four horses in a single Grand Prix.

Expanding his career into television, Ridland served as analyst for show jumping telecasts on ESPN and for the 1986 World Championships on CBS. He had the same role for NBC during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.


Turning to course designing, Ridland was equally successful and he was selected to design courses for major events such as the U.S. Olympic Trials (1992 & 1996), Hampton Classic, Paris CSI, and Central American Games. Twice he was honored as the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Course Designer of the Year.

As an FEI official, Ridland served as FEI Technical Delegate at four FEI World Cup™ Finals including Gothenburg (1995), Helsinki (1998), Milan (2004) and Kuala Lumpur (2006). He has served on the FEI Jumping Committee and on the Board of Directors of the AHSA, USET, USEF and Show Jumping Hall of Fame.

With the start of the new millennium, Ridland established and became President of Blenheim EquiSports, a management company that produces approximately 20 show jumping competitions a year and more FEI Championship events than any other equestrian management company in the U.S.

In that role, Ridland managed the Olympic show jumping trials in 2000 and 2004 and the World Equestrian Games Trials in 2002. He also produced the Oaks Blenheim International CSI**** in 2001-2003 and was Competition Manager for the FEI Children’s Jumper Finals in 2004-2006 and the highly-acclaimed FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas (2000, 2003, 3005, 2007, 2009). In 2008, he was named co-manager for the 50th anniversary Washington International Horse Show, a role in which he continued through 2012.

In 2013, Ridland was named the U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe/Technical Advisor, following legendary predecessors Bertalan de Némethy, Frank Chapot and George Morris. Since he assumed that role, the U.S. has won at least one medal in every Pan American Games, World Equestrian Games and Olympics, in addition to winning three FEI World Cup Finals. 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.

Press release provided by Classic Communications.