The USEA is sad to share that the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist, McKinlaigh, was laid to rest last Saturday, January 18 in Templeton, California at the age of 26.
Thom Schultz and his wife Laura Coats purchased McKinlaigh in 1998 after seeing him in Ireland’s Young Event Horse Competition at the Punchestown Three-Day Event. Gina Miles had just taken over as manager of Schultz and Coats’ Rainbow Ranch in Paso Robles, California and when McKinlaigh (Highland King x Kilcumney Hostess) finally arrived in the U.S. it was agreed that Miles and McKinlaigh would work together to see how far they could go.
In their first two years together, the pair won nine out of the 10 events they entered, and by the age of 7 McKinlaigh had completed his first CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) and the pair had been named to the USEF Winter Training List. The 17.3 hand McKinlaigh placed 11th at his first CCI4* (now CCI5*) at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2002, earning him a place on the U.S. Team for the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, where they finished 25th. A win in the Galway Downs CIC3* and another 11th place finish at Kentucky in 2003 saw them heading to Malmo in Sweden for the World Cup Final where McKinlaigh won the bronze medal. He improved his placing at Kentucky from 11th to ninth in 2004 and in 2006 placed fourth in The Fork CIC3*, first in the Rebecca Farm CIC3*, and first in the Fair Hill International CCI3*. That year he won the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series and was the USEA Horse of the Year.
In 2007 he was 15th in the Badminton Horse Trials CCI4* and was on the gold medal team at the Pan American Games in Brazil, also winning the individual bronze medal. His crowning glory came in 2008 at the Olympic Games in Hong Kong. His brilliant performance earned an Olympic silver medal for Miles, Schultz, and Coats and ensured a place for his name in the history books of eventing.
McKinlaigh retired following the Olympics with a perfect cross-country record and spent his remaining years with Schultz and Coats in California.
“McKinlaigh was one of those horses who defined the word greatness,” said Miles. “Not only did he shape my entire life but he inspired so many others. From the pony clubbers who learned from him, the fans that followed him, and those of us that he took along the most glorious ride. You will be cherished forever.“
"Laura and I have been so very blessed to have McKinlaigh in our lives, 11 years competing to the level of Olympic individual silver medal and induction into the USEA's Eventing Hall of Fame," said Schultz. "God bless McKinlaigh, Chris Ryan, Gina Miles, Sarah Williams, Brian Sabo, and so many fans - also our friend Cheryl Miller who took such good care of McKinlaigh for 11 years of peaceful retirement."
In 2015 McKinlaigh was inducted into the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame. Watch his induction speech here:
The USEA sends our sincerest condolences to all who knew and loved McKinlaigh.
It was a historic week for U.S. Eventing as American athletes achieved their best results ever in the CCIO4*-S at CHIO Aachen. The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team of Will Coleman and Off The Record, Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan, and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum took second place in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup – the highest result by a U.S. team at the prestigious event.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to be a member of USEA is the opportunity to qualify for and participate in the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. This year there was a record 1,178 entries and a waitlist of over 150. There were 1,009 pinnies handed out and 939 horses started the competition. All combined it made for the largest horse trials in USEA history. Competitions ran in all USEA divisions and additional prizes were given for teams, incentive programs, amateur, and young rider divisions.
The 2021 Plantation Field International Three-Day Event kicked off yesterday with the CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S dressage, and culminated with the CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S dressage today.
Oliver Townend of Great Britain, World #1 on the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings, heads an All-Star list of riders currently entered to compete in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. The list also includes the world’s #2, #7 and #8 ranked riders as well as Olympians from five countries. Townend will compete with his accomplished gelding, Cooley Master Class, winner of back-to-back Kentucky Three-Day titles (2018-2019).