The United States Eventing Association's (USEA) Eventing Hall of Fame was established in 1999 to honor the accomplishments, contributions, and dedication of members of the eventing community who have truly made a difference to the sport. Induction into the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame is U.S. eventing's highest honor and recipients include past Association presidents, volunteers, riders, founding fathers, course designers, officials, organizers, horses, horse owners, breeders, and coaches.
In preparation for the 20th anniversary of the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame, we’re taking a walk down memory lane to revisit the inductees who have joined the Hall of Fame over the years. Read on to meet the Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Click here to meet the Class of 1999, click here to meet the Class of 2003, click here to meet the Class of 2006, and click here to meet the Class of 2009.
Roger Haller (1946-2016)
The son of Elliot Haller and Jean Haller Reid, Roger Haller grew up with a love for horses. He was riding and competing in equitation classes by the age of 9 and became involved in the Junior Essex Troop, a riding group for schoolboys in the area. By the age of 17, Haller was riding at the United States Equestrian Team’s (USET) Headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. Haller was a member of the Somerset Hills Pony Club and achieved his ‘A’ rating at the age of 18.
In his early 20s, Haller served as Area II Chairman, was on the Board of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA, now USEA), the Board of the United States Pony Club (USPC), and the American Horse Show Association’s (now USEF) Events Committee. Later in life he served as the Vice President of the USCTA and was a member of the Rules Committee and Editor of USCTA News. He also served on the USEF Eventing High Performance Committee, USEF Technical Committee, FEI and was Executive Director of the Pan American Equestrian Confederation’s General Assembly.
Haller’s family farm, Hoopstick Farm, in Bedminster, N.J., became the original site of the Essex Horse Trials thanks to many efforts of Haller and his parents. The Essex Horse Trials hosted their first event in 1968, and Haller was the first organizer, course designer and course builder for the event.
Haller’s contributions to the sport of eventing are nearly impossible to list. He was a course designer, FEI Technical Delegate, judge, organizer, and volunteer. Haller designed the cross-country courses for such notable events including the 1978 World Championships in Lexington and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He officiated in 46 different states and 14 countries and judged at major events across North and South America including the Kentucky Three-Day Event.
As a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, Haller, along with Hugh Thomas, implemented major changes to the Rules for Eventing in 1990, bringing the sport into the “modern era” and introducing the star system, which is now a central part of the sport on an international stage.
Amy Tryon (1970-2012)
Amy Tryon had a competitive record that few can match. With her beloved Poggio II, Amy represented the United States Eventing Team no less than five times, contributing to team gold medals at the 1999 Pan American Games and the 2002 World Equestrian Games and the team bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. She and Poggio also took the individual bronze in Aachen at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and were again called up for the team at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Under Tryon’s care, Poggio was named the Best Conditioned Horse at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2002. In 2006, Tryon was named The Chronicle of the Horse Eventing Horseman of the Year and Poggio was named Eventing Horse of the Year. Tryon also volunteered on a number of USEA and USEF committees and was very active on the USEA Safety Committee. Her contributions to the growth of the sport in her own Area VII were immense.
Lana DuPont Wright
Lana DuPont Wright broke the glass ceiling for women in eventing all over the world when she became the first woman to compete on a team at the Olympic Games and receive an Olympic medal as a part of the United States Team that won team silver in Tokyo in 1964.
Until that time, the prevailing belief was that the sport was simply too demanding for female riders. DuPont Wright proved everyone wrong when she and Mr. Wister completed a grueling competition in rain and mud, falling off twice on course but refusing to give up, to stand beside her male teammates on the podium on the final day.
Not only was DuPont Wright a woman of talent, steely determination, and grit, she was also a visionary. She was one of the founding members of the United States Combined Training Association (now USEA) and gave back to the grassroots of the sport by hosting the Middletown Pony Club Horse Trials at her Unicorn Farm in Delaware. She continues to support the local Pony Club to this day.
Throughout his eight years competing for the United States, Giltedge appeared on the international team five times and earned five medals. Owned by Mrs. Jacqueline Mars, Giltedge was sired by the Irish Sport Horse Glenbar and out of Kitty by Awkward Brief (XX).
Over the course of his career, Giltedge collected 21 first-place finished at the three- and four-star level, 28 top-three finishes, and rarely finished out of the top five. Giltedge earned1,114 lifetime points over the course of his career, and in 2018, 16 years after his retirement, sits sixth on the list of all-time highest scoring eventing horses.
Of particular note is the fact that all of Giltedge’s major achievements were before the switch to the short format, a testament to his endurance, his stamina, his brilliance, and most of all his immense strength of heart.
Giltedge lived out his retirement alongside his teammates – Biko (who passed away in 2011), Prince Panache, and Custom Made – at Stonehall Farm in The Plains, Virginia. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 29.
The Gray Goose
As a youngster, this seven-eighths bred Irish horse was not everyone’s cup of tea, at least not until Kim Walnes found him in a yard in Ireland and saw something very special in him. Despite many bucks and spooks and just plain naughtiness, Kim persevered and succeeded in producing the superstar event horse of the eighties.
In 1982, The Gray Goose carried Walnes to individual and team bronze medals at the World Championships. In 1984, the pair placed third at the Olympic Selection Trials held at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and were the reserves for the U.S. Team at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In 1985, The Gray Goose and Walnes placed second at Boekelo, helping the U.S. Team to a first-place finish. These successes and his performances at the national level created a huge following of fans for The Gray Goose.
Gray was also a movie star. Next time you watch the movie Sylvester, look closely at the horse and rider on the cross-country course. That is The Gray Goose being ridden the woman who had the faith, the love, and the ability to see his innate talent, develop it, and take him to the very top of the sport, making a legend out of him along the way.
Watch the induction ceremonies for the Class of 2012 at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention.
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.