Lexington, KY – The Show Jumping Hall of Fame held its annual induction ceremony at the Gene Mische American Invitational, presented by G&C Farm, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, on Saturday, April 7, 2012. Honored with induction were Jane Clark, Gabor Foltenyi, Hap Hansen and Larry Langer.
Induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame is a great 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 world of show jumping. The four new inductees join the 70 previously enshrined in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
All four inductees have had a significant impact on the equestrian community, and their talents and efforts have now been formally recognized by their peers. It is because of their 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 inductees for the 2011 election.
Few people have done as much to help equestrian sports as Jane Forbes Clark. For decades Jane has generously given time and energy, in addition to financial support, to the United States Equestrian Team, USET Foundation, American Horse Shows Association, United States Equestrian Federation, Show Jumping Hall of Fame and Fédération Equestre Internationale, providing leadership to help these organizations, and equestrian sports in general, in a variety of ways.
Jane was the first woman and youngest person ever elected president of the AHSA, a position she held from 1991-1997. Prior to that, she was the first woman and youngest person ever elected as the AHSA’s first vice-president, a position she held from 1982-1991.
Jane was also the driving force in the creation of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame and served as its first Chairman. She also served on the FEI Executive Board and was a Bureau Member and Chairman of Group IV. She was Senior Vice President and a Trustee of the USET when that organization held responsibility for fielding and funding this country’s international teams, and is currently president and CEO of the USET Foundation. She presently serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the USEF and has also served on the Boards of the U.S. Olympic Committee, American Horse Council, National Horse Show Association of America and Lake Placid Horse Show.
Jane has spent much of her life showing in the amateur-owner hunter division and continues to ride regularly. She has generously provided horses for U.S. teams not only in show jumping, but also in dressage and combined driving. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, she became the first owner with medal-winning horses in two disciplines. At the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, she became the first owner with horses competing in three disciplines.
It is clearly show jumping, however, that has been Jane’s primary focus. Her decades-long partnership with rider Leslie Burr Howard produced incredible success including dozens of Grand Prix wins and team Silver Medals at the 1996 Olympics with Extreme and the 1999 Pan American Games with Clover Leaf in addition to a team Gold at the 1983 Pan Am Games with Boing. Leslie also rode Jane’s Charisma as part of the U.S. team at the 1994 WEG.
Jane has also provided horses for U.S. riders Molly Ashe, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, Mario Deslauriers who rode her Urico in the 2010 WEG, and George Morris who rode Jane’s horse Rio to win what was then the richest purse in show jumping history at Spruce Meadows in 1988.
With all the horses she has owned, it is noteworthy that Jane has rarely sold a horse. She prefers to give her horses comfortable and secure retirements. It’s been said that, “When Jane buys a horse, it has a home for life!”
Outside the horse world, Jane serves as Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. She has also been a Director of the Baseball Assistance Team and the Jackie Robinson Empire State Freedom Medal Commission in addition to serving as President of several charitable and cultural organizations. Her commitment to helping in these areas is as strong as it is in the horse world where her record for helping is truly unique.
Gabor Nicholas Foltenyi, born November 26, 1922 in Zalazentlaszlo, Hungary, received his first horse at the age of 10. It was there that he began with Dressage when a company commander was sent to the Count Karolyi estate to train young remounts for the Second Hussar Regiment. After attending Military High School in Pecs, he graduated as an officer in 1943 from the famed Ludovica Military Academy. He served in Szentes in the II/I Cavalry and later as aid to the Commander of Szabadka’s Cavalry. Gabor was awarded the Signum Laudis for his bravery and also the title of the Order of Vitez (Valor) from the Regent.
In 1948 Gabor, who was a candidate for the Hungarian National Equestrian Team, left Hungary due to political reasons. After two years in Munich, Germany he made his way to the United States where he began on the racetrack working with Rex Elsworth. From there he rode with Mrs. E. Bailey’s “Pabst Blue Ribbon” Stables in Purchase NY, landing his first victory in the U.S. on Master Pabst at Devon.
Gabor spent the next two years at the Merkel’s WHY Stables of Brookville, NY. It was there that he was proving that “Sugar Beats Vinegar.” His Hungarian training methods began to arouse attention in the U.S. Always beginning with dressage, he would allow a horse to build his muscles and control before jumping. Gabor always believed that, “You will get more from a horse by winning his confidence and allowing him to enjoy the sport and then keeping him, at all times, under gentle but complete control.”
In 1953, Gabor reunited with his dear friend Bertalan de Nemethy. Together they rode and trained horses for Eleonora Sears. In 1955, after much success, Gabor made a move to Michigan where he started Oakland Hills Farm. He won numerous classes and championships at many horse shows including the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. Reno, Sidonia, Lola, Diamant, Marola, Desiree, Kieves Confederate, and Ksar d’Esprit, are just some of the horses Gabor trained and rode. Many of the horses he trained went on to compete for the USET. In 1976, he coached the Japanese Team at the Montreal Olympic Games.
George Morris remembers Gabor this way, “He was very much respected and admired by the most notable riders in America’s equestrian world. He was a true athlete and at the same time the most outstanding horseman I have ever seen. He was the one who rode very successfully in a style unseen before his time. It was my life’s very good fortune that I was able to learn from him.”
In 2010, Gabor was the recipient of the Count Istvan Szecheny Commemorative Medal, a distinguished Hungarian Honor given by the Hungarian Horseman’s Sport Association. The award is given to an individual who has worked “to strengthen the professional culture of riding in the life of international sports, in social organizations, and in universal sport organizations.”
With 100 Grand Prix wins to his credit, Hap Hansen stands among the elite riders in the history of his sport. In addition to his long list of Grand Prix victories that place him among the top five winners all-time, Hansen is also a veteran of twelve FEI World Cup Finals and two dozen Nations’ Cups. He also won the FEI World Cup USA West Coast League seven times and earned a dozen leading rider titles at top shows from Spruce Meadows to Harrisburg.
Hap placed in the top ten at the FEI World Cup Final twice. He was the top placing U.S. rider at the 1988 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, when he finished sixth, the same position in which he had finished in the 1985 Final in Berlin. He was honored as the American Grandprix Association (AGA) Rider of the Year in 1990 and he won the 1982 Rolex Crown of Excellence. His victories span three decades and nearly every continent, making him one of America’s most accomplished show jumping riders.
Hap was named the National Grand Prix League Western Conference Rider of the Year in both 1991 and 1992. The AHSA honored him with its Equestrian of the Year Award in 1994. He was awarded the California Professional Horsemen’s Association (CPHA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and has been named the Pacific Coast Rider of the Year seven times.
In addition to being a dominant force on the West Coast Grand Prix circuit, Hap has represented the U.S. internationally many times including at shows such as Hickstead, Arnhem, Aachen and Spruce Meadows. He has been the North American Champion at Spruce Meadows three times, and is a member of the Million Dollar Club, an honor limited to the few riders who have won over $1 Million in prize money at Spruce Meadows.
Hap’s success in the show jumping arena also extends beyond his personal wins. He has served as chef d’equipe for over 10 Gold Medal teams at the North American Young Riders Championships and Harrisburg Prix de States. Twice, in 1991 and 1998, Hansen placed second in the USET National Show Jumping Championship.
Larry Langer is best known as the President and CEO of Langer Equestrian Group, one of the country’s top horse show management companies. Among the many shows produced by LEG is the Los Angeles National, a show created by Langer that culminates the West Coast’s “A” circuit with championships, medal finals, and the LA National Grand Prix (CSI-W). Langer’s success in horse show management is predicated on a lifetime spent riding, training, and teaching.
Milestones and achievements include being voted as the most influential person on the West Coast horse show industry in the past 25 years by a Horses Magazine readers poll (1988), and receiving the California Professional Horsemen’s Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). Langer served as the Show Jumping Competition Manager of the 1996 Olympics (Atlanta) and of the 1992 FEI World Cup Finals (Del Mar, CA).
For more than 25 years he has served on the USEF Jumper Committee, most recently as Co-Chairman. He was influential in a complete evaluation and re-write of the jumper rules, and he was part of a small group who redesigned the jumper judges’ clinics. Larry has held jumper judge and steward licenses with both the USEF and the FEI.
Larry has served on many boards and committees including the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Board of Directors since its inception, the USEF Board of Directors, and as president of the National Hunter Jumper Council, the precursor to the USHJA on whose board he currently serves. In addition to the USEF Jumper Committee, Larry serves on the USEF Competition Management, Planning, and Legislative Committees. He has also served as either president or chairman of every major organization in California.
Larry has developed a number of significant horse shows and horse show venues, including the Colorado Summer Circuit at the Colorado Horse Park. Additionally, he and his management team have served as the Competition Management for the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships three times, most recently in 2008, at Colorado.
In the early part of his career as a trainer, Larry owned and operated the Pacific Horse Center (Elk Grove, CA), and in addition to a stable full of top show horses, he operated the Horsemastership program, three college accredited courses where a number of today’s successful professionals got their start. He also earned two college degrees, one in Mechanical Engineering and one in Business Administration.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1987 and formally opened in 1989. It was organized to promote the sport of show jumping and to immortalize the legends of the men, women and horses who have made great contributions to the sport.
Since 1987, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame has inducted William C. Steinkraus, Bertalan de Nemethy, Idle Dice (1987); Patrick Butler, August A. Busch, Jr. (1988); David Kelley, Jimmy Williams, Ben O'Meara, Frances Rowe (1989); Arthur McCashin, Kathy Kusner, Brigadier General Harry D. Chamberlin, San Lucas (1990); Adolph Mogavero, Whitney Stone, Morton "Cappy" Smith, Pat Dixon (1991); Eleonora "Eleo" Sears, Mary Mairs Chapot, Barbara Worth Oakford, Snowman (1992); Dr. Robert C. Rost, Joe Green (1993); Frank Chapot, Gordon Wright (1994); Mickey Walsh, Trail Guide (1995); Pamela Carruthers, Jet Run, Richard "Dick" Donnelly/Heatherbloom (1996); Edward "Ned" King, Bobby Egan/Sun Beau (1997); Fred "Freddy" Wettach, Jr., Melanie Smith Taylor, Johnny Bell (1998); Rodney Jenkins, Sinjon, Franklin F. "Fuddy" Wing, Jr./Democrat (1999); George Morris, Carol Durand, Touch of Class (2000); Eugene R. Mische, Lt. Colonel John W. Russell, Bobby Burke, Untouchable (2001); Harry R. Gill, Clarence L. "Honey" Craven, Calypso, Gem Twist (2002); J. Russell Stewart, Sr., Main Spring (2003); Snowbound (2004); Michael Matz, For The Moment (2005); Conrad Homfeld (2006); Joe Fargis, Karen Golding, Marcia "Mousie" Williams (2007); Dr. John Steele, Abdullah, Miss Budweiser, Riviera Wonder (2008); Neal Shapiro, Balbuco (2009); Leonard King, John Ammerman, Good Twist (2010).
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame also conducts the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series, held under Grand Prix rules and specifications, which features separate championships for juniors and amateur-owners. The Series holds classes at approximately one hundred horse shows across the country. It is designed to give amateur-owner and junior riders an opportunity to compete at higher levels and serves as a proving ground for many riders who aspire to someday represent the United States in international competition.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Plaques honoring those who have been honored with induction into the Hall of Fame can be seen at the Horse Park's Rolex Stadium. Mementos and artifacts from the sport's history are on display as part of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame collection at the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Wheeler Museum at the Horse Park.
For more information about the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, please visit the Show Jumping Hall of Fame website at www.showjumpinghalloffame.net.
Photo: Jane Forbes Clark, Hap Hansen, Larry Langer receive their Show Jumping Hall of Fame induction awards from Show Jumping Hall of Fame Board members George Morris (far left) and Fran Steinwedell (far right). ©Vicci Valenti