USET Foundation Honors Three
The U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation saluted the efforts of riders McLain Ward and Jennifer Gates as well as trustee Jane Forbes Clark during a January fund-raising gala in Wellington, Florida. Some 500 guests attended “Triumph in Tryon,” a benefit for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ that raised more than a half million dollars for the foundation and the USET horses and riders preparing to compete at the elite multi-discipline event that will be held in September in North Carolina. USET Foundation President and CEO Jim McNerney and his wife, Haity, co-chaired the gala, which included the presentation of three prestigious awards:
The Whitney Stone Cup was given to Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward. It is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport and exemplifying the team’s highest ideals and traditions.
Over the course of his career, Ward has earned a total of eight Olympic, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games medals—a record number—and four of them are gold. In 2017 he won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final and con- tributed to multiple podium finishes by the U.S. team at international events in Florida, Germany and Spain. Ward has been in the top three on the Longines Rankings list every month since last April when he was No. 1 in the world.
The Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy was awarded to 21-year-old Jennifer Gates. It is presented each year to a young rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship. Gates, a full-time student at Stanford University who is studying biology, had an outstanding year as a rider in 2017. She represented the U.S. and competed on her first Nations Cup team in Slovakia, won the $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in New York and claimed the Under 25 National Championship. She also finished fourth in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington CSI****-W at the National Horse Show in Kentucky.
“It is a huge honor to join the many incredibly talented riders who have received this award before me,” Gates said. “The Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy’s values of sportsmanship and horsemanship are ones that I try to embody every day with my riding.”
The R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award was presented to Jane Forbes Clark. Established in
honor of horseman, competitor and owner Bruce Duchossois, who died in 2014, the award is presented annually to a USET Foundation trustee who has shown exceptional leadership and quality of character and has contributed to the organization’s mission of supporting athletes, promoting international excellence and building for the future.
“Jane has exemplified leadership, philanthropy and generosity to this country’s high performance programs and United States equestrian teams for almost four decades,” McNerney said.
Clark has been an active supporter of multiple disciplines and has sought to help the U.S. achieve greatness in equestrian sports worldwide. She served as the president and CEO of the USET Foundation for many years before retiring in 2012.
“I am thrilled to be given this award by the USET Foundation,” Clark said. “Bruce set the highest example of what it truly means to be a trustee with his integrity, his thoughtfulness, his compassion and his sense of humor.”
From left: Betsy Juliano, Jim McNerney, McLain Ward, Brownlee O. Currey, Jr., Philip Richter and William Weeks
Jennifer Gates (second from left) accepts the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy.
Jane Forbes Clark