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Famed trio inducted to US Showjumping Hall of Fame

Dr Daniel Marks accepts his award from Chrystine Tauber and Mason Phelps.

Dr Daniel Marks accepts his award from Chrystine Tauber and Mason Phelps. © Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group

Three respected sporting figures have been inducted into the USA’s Show Jumping Hall of Fame.

The addition of course designer Steve Stephens, late US Equestrian Team farrier Seamus Brady, and US team veterinarian Daniel Marks, VMD, makeg a total of 81 horses, riders and officials inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame since it was established in 1987.

The ceremony was held during last month’s $200,000 American Invitational at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida, and was officiated by USEF president Chrystine Tauber and Mason Phelps. Steve Stephens was present, with his wife Debbie, to accept his honor, as was Dr. Marks. Participating on behalf of Seamus Brady were his daughter Linda and her husband Adam, as well as a group of farriers who participated as a special tribute to Brady, the first farrier honored with induction.

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 inductees for the 2013 election.

Steve Stephens with wife, Debbie, at the induction ceremony.

Steve Stephens with wife, Debbie, at the induction ceremony. © Emily Riden/Phelps Media Group

Steve Stephens started riding in and winning at the Grand Prix level while still in high school. After a successful career that spanned nearly two decades, he went on to achieve great success as a horse show manager, course designer and proprietor of Stephens Equestrian Designs, one of the world’s most respected companies specializing in the design and manufacture of jumps for competition.

Stephens trained with the United States Equestrian Team and competed from 1968 through 1986. During that time, he won such major events as the Cleveland Grand Prix (1970), American Gold Cup (1971), Grand Prix of Montreal (1977), and American Grandprix Association (AGA) Championships (1986).

Analyzing courses piqued his interest in building jumps and designing courses. He studied course design under Bert de Némethy and Dr Arno Gego and served as an assistant to de Némethy when he was course designer at the FEI World Cup Final in 1980 in Baltimore and in 1989 in Tampa, as well as at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Stephens was also an assistant to Gego when he was course designer at Aachen in 1996 and 1998 and also to Leopoldo Palacios at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

In the 1980s, Stephens emerged as one of the nation’s, and the world’s, most respected course designers, working at dozens of shows such as the Washington International, National Horse Show, Royal Winter Fair, Winter Equestrian Festival, Devon and the American Invitational for which he has been the only course designer for nearly 30 years. Internationally, he has designed courses in Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and Mexico and at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis and 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. He won the award as Course Designer of the Year for two consecutive years, 1981 and 1982, and in 2004 he was certified through the Aachen School of Course Design.

Stephens has served as US Chef d’Equipe five times. His teams won the Nations’ Cup four of those times, most notably, the Nations’ Cup World Final in Lanaken, Belgium in 1991. Stephens has also served as manager of some of the nation’s biggest and most significant horse shows including the Winter Equestrian Festival, National Horse Show and Hampton Classic where he served as manager since 1984 and only just announced his retirement in February of this year. He has also been Technical Delegate at four FEI World Cup Finals (1984, 1990, 1996 and 2002).

In 1992 Stephens opened Stephens Equestrian Designs, which provides jumps to dozens of the nation’s most prestigious events including the Winter Equestrian Festival, American Invitational, Devon Horse Show, Lake Placid Horse Shows and Hampton Classic. His unique ability to combine artistic design that can represent the specific characteristics of a particular horse show with the challenges that a course designer will want to present have set him apart and made his jump business one of the most successful in the world. In 2013, the USHJA honored Stephens with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

For 24 years, Dr Daniel Marks served as the team veterinarian for the USET and US Olympic Teams in Jumping and Dressage and was an integral part of their medal winning successes. Highly respected around the world, Dr Marks was a consultant to over a dozen foreign jumping and dressage teams, and was the team veterinarian for the Canadian team at the Olympics and World Championships, as well as for teams from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Japan, Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas.

Before becoming a veterinarian, Dr Marks was a professional horseman, competitive rider, and trainer. He began as a hot walker, groom, and exercise rider at the New York racetracks. He was one of the few US riders to be accepted into the Spanish Riding School of Vienna at the time, and then turned his talents to competing jumpers and hunters at major national horse shows. After graduating from veterinary school, he tried his hand at riding timber races including the Maryland Hunt Cup. He still rides regularly.

He became a founding partner of the Delaware Equine Center which grew into one of the largest private equine clinics in the world. He has had many principal equine veterinary contributions, and credits the majority of those developed with his decades-long partner and friend, Dr Matthew MacKay-Smith.

He coined the term “Pre-Purchase” Exam and established many of the presently accepted guidelines, eliminating ‘pass-fail’ and encouraging the practice of taking radiographs as part of the exam, which at the time was controversial but has now become standard. Dr Marks was the first to devise Laryngoplasty surgery for Laryngeal Hemiplegia, which continues to this day as the surgery of choice, and was the first to devise interspinous back injections for diagnosis and treatment of dorsal spinous impingement (“kissing spines”). He was also the first to recognize and describe Proximal Suspensory Desmitis (High Suspensory Disease). Dr Marks has had over 40 articles featured in professional publications, and continues his consulting equine practice.

Seamus Brady.

Seamus Brady. Photo courtesy Maureen Pethick/USET

The late US Equestrian Team farrier, Seamus Brady, was considered by many of the world’s best equestrians to be the “guru of horseshoeing.” Brady, who trained at the Irish Army Equitation School in Dublin, immigrated to the United States more than 50 years ago from his native County Cavin, Ireland.

Brady died in 2009 at the age of 77.

After relocating to the United States, Brady worked for US Equestrian Team Director and Hall of Fame inductee, Arthur McCashin, at his Four Furlongs Farm in Pluckemin, New Jersey. Brady was later drafted into the US Army where he served as chauffeur to generals and also learned intricate details of welding and metalworking – skills that would later help to jump-start his successful career in the horseshoeing world.

Following his time with the Army, Brady returned to Four Furlongs Farm, where it is said that McCashin gave him his first set of tools to start shoeing horses on his own. From there Brady went on to rise to the top of the horseshoeing world, and he worked for many of the country’s biggest and best barns. Among Brady’s clientele were Ronnie Mutch and his Nimrod Farm, the Leone family’s Ri-Arm Farm and Hunterdon Farm, owned and operated by Show Jumping Hall of Fame president and inductee George Morris. Brady was the farrier at Hunterdon Farm for an incredible 34 years.

Morris said of Brady: “He was a real old-fashioned Irish horseman. He was a horseman first. He was innovative and very imaginative. I would often listen to him after conferring with him and the veterinarians, and sometimes use his advice and opinion over those of the veterinarians. He was the guru teacher and subsequent generations owe him. He was one of the greatest that I ever worked with. I can’t say enough about him.”

In addition to working for many of the nation’s top show barns, Brady also worked for the USET as the team farrier for all three disciplines including serving as the team farrier at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Brady was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame in 2002.

Horsetalk.co.nz

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