WELLINGTON, Fla. — The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has awarded show jumping veteran McLain Ward, of Brewsyer, N.Y., the 2018 Whitney Stone Cup.

“It’s a great honor,” said Ward on receiving the 2018 Whitney Stone Cup on Jan. 19. “For us in particular, we had a difficult end to the season with losing Mr. (Hunter) Harrison. He was a great supporter of myself and my team. To be able to win an award such as this that recognizes our performance with his horses and others over the past season, including HH Azur winning the World Cup Final, makes it a little extra special. Also for myself personally — we lost Bill Steinkraus this year, who for me growing up was a great mentor particularly in regards to representing the team, so it’s a special year to be able to win this award not only for my team but in honor of those men.”

The award 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.

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Over the years, Ward has amassed a remarkable record of eight total Olympic, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games medals, half of which are gold medals. In 2017, Ward added to this impressive record by winning the coveted Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska, aboard HH Azur after jumping the only five consecutive clear rounds throughout the entire event. In addition to his individual title, Ward helped the U.S. team to a podium finish at CSIO4* Ocala with Rothchild and later in the season anchored Team USA at CHIO Aachen to produce a double-clear finish on HH Azur and secure a hard-fought second place finish.

Ward yet again proved he can handle the pressure of the anchor position by delivering two crucial and fast clear rounds that were essential to putting the U.S. team on the podium for a silver medal finish at the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final at CSIO5* Barcelona.

Ward’s consistent record in 2017 landed him among the top three in the world on the Longines Rankings list every month since April when he held the No. 1 spot.

Ward continues to be an incredible asset to the U.S. team both on and off the field of play. He is an active member of the US Equestrian (USEF) Jumping Sport Committee and continually pushes to improve and grow the sport. A dedicated and avid student of sport still to this day, Ward is also committed to passing along his knowledge and passion for detail and excellence to the next generation. He judged the 2017 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East fresh off his stellar Nations Cup Final performance and gave back to the sport by sharing with up-and-coming talent about what it takes to make it to the top of the sport during a learning session held at the USET Foundation headquarters.

Ward was presented with the Whitney Stone Cup during the USET Foundation’s “Triumph in Tryon” gala, a benefit to support U.S. equestrian teams at the upcoming 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, on Jan. 19 in Wellington, Florida.

Ward was also recently named USEF Equestrian of the Year and HH Azur is Horse of the Year.

Whitney Stone Cup Winners:

The Whitney Stone Cup is awarded in honor of the late Whitney Stone, who served as president and chairman of the board of the USET from 1953 to 1973. Mr. Stone was instrumental in the creation of a civilian equestrian team when the Army retired from competitive horse sports after 1948. Previous Whitney Stone Cup winners are:

1980 – Michael Matz

1981 – James C. Wofford

1982 – Norman Dello Joio

1983 – Melanie Smith (Taylor)

1984 – Carole Grant

1985 – Joe Fargis

1986 – Conrad Homfeld

1987 – Katie Monahan Prudent

1988 – Bruce O. Davidson

1989 – Gregory A. Best

1990 – William Long

1991 – Hap Hansen

1992 – Lana DuPont Wright

1993 – Carol Lavell

1994 – J. Michael Plumb

1995 – Robert Dover

1996 – Anne Kursinski

1997 – Leslie Burr Howard

1998 – David O’Connor

1999 – Valerie Kanavy

2000 – Karen O’Connor

2001 – Tucker Johnson

2002 – Guenter Seidel

2003 – Peter Wylde

2004 – Debbie McDonald

2005 – Chris Kappler

2006 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden

2007 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden

2008 – Miranda (Randy) Caldwell

2009 – Steffen Peters

2010 – McLain Ward

2011 – Tucker S. Johnson

2012 – Christine McCrea

2013 – Rich Fellers

2014 – Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden

2015 – Chester Weber

2016 – Phillip Dutton

2017 – Laura Graves

2018 – McLain Ward

The USET Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international and high performance horses and athletes in partnership with US Equestrian.

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