Bill Steinkraus was many things, rider, thinker, poet, musician, writer, but for the equestrian world his most enduring legacy was proof that effective riding was good riding, classical, civilised riding. Jumping, he told me the first time we met, back in the early 80’s, is how you ride the track, the jumps themselves will take care of themselves, if you ride your track beautifully.
William Steinkraus participated in five Olympic Games. At the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City, he won a gold medal in Individual Jumping with the horse, Snowbound. He obtained two silver medals in Team Jumping, first in 1960 on his mount, Ksar d’Espirt, and 1972 on Main Spring. Bill also won a bronze medal in Team Jumping at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland on Hollandia. He was also slated to ride on the 1964 Olympic Team until his horse, Sinjon, was injured.
William Steinkraus retired from international competition at the end of 1972, following the show season, but continued to remain involved in the horse showing industry. This included involvement in USET, either as president or chairman, from 1972–1992, and as an Honorary Member of the FEI Bureau. He also was a television commentator from 1976–1988, and a judge at the 1992 Olympic Games. He was – luckily for us – the author of four books: Riding and Jumping (1961); The U.S. Equestrian Team Book of Riding (1976); The Horse in Sport (1987) and Reflections on Riding and Jumping (1991).
Look at the photos in this article, William Steinkraus was simply never out of shape over a jump. Farewell Mr Steinkraus you brought so much to the world of the horse, may the memory of your elegance, the quiet beauty of your riding, live forever.
I invite you to read this article and enjoy the wonderful photos that capture so well the spirit of the man… click here