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.
The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has awarded the 2020 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant to Mia Farley, a current member of the United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program.
Have you ever wanted to look through the judge’s eyes and see what they see during the conformation portion of a USEA Young or Future Event Horse competition? Now is your chance! Using only a photo and information on age and breed, legendary horseman and prior FEH/YEH Championship judge Chris Ryan is sharing his insights into young horse conformation in our Conformation Critique article series.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors voted last night to mirror the dates decided by US Equestrian (USEF) for suspending recognizing competitions and educational activities. The USEA will extend its suspension of recognizing events under its direct jurisdiction through May 3, 2020. The suspension extends also to USEA recognized educational activities, Young Event Horse, Future Event Horse, and New Event Horse competitions.
The only rider to have won the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials a record six times, Lucinda Green MBE is an eventing hero. A mainstay of the British Eventing Team for 14 years, Green is best known for her stylistic cross-country riding technique and impressive list of career highlights which includes an Olympic silver medal in addition to top placings at over 40 international three-day events.