MCLAIN WARD – From “The Kid”, to “Rookie”, to World no. one!

1st and 3rd in the CSI3* Grand Prix of North Salem, double clear in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup and winner of the CSIO5* Grand Prix in Rome; Mclain Ward (USA) is the man of the month! With 3099 Longines Ranking points he has taken the lead in front of Simon Delestre (FRA) and Christian Ahlmann (GER).

By Therese Alhaug. Photo Therese Alhaug

Nicknamed as “The Kid”

“We are thrilled for McLain, his owners, and his support team. He is an extremely talented rider who produces horses with care and attention to detail,” says USA Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

McLain Ward started riding after being encouraged to take up the sport by his father who was also a showjumper. In 1990, at age 14, he became the youngest rider to win the United States Equestrian Team’s Show Jumping Talent Derby. Ten weeks later he became the youngest rider to win the USET Medal Finals and the first rider to win both titles in the same year. This early success led to him earning the nickname “The Kid”.

Named the Rookie of the Year

Today he has taken the lead at the FEI Longines Ranking – at the age of 42. This man has two Olympic team gold medals from 2004 and 2008, riding  Sapphire, and one silver medal in the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Aachen. Not to forget, a team gold medal in the 2011 Pan American Games with Antares F. He has competed in 14 FEI World Cup Finals, he had 11 Grand Prix wins in 1998, 13 in 1999, and he was named the Rookie of the Year, 1991, by the American Grandprix Association.

Considers winning the Spruce Meadows Masters as the most memorable moment in his career

McLain’s father, Barney, competed in and won the Grand Prix of Devon in 1982, 20 years to the day before his son won the same competition in 2002. He cites winning the Spruce Meadows Masters as the most memorable moment in his career and Sapphire as his best horse.

McLain considers his best performances to be the Olympics in 2004 and winning Olympic Gold in 2008.

Longines FEI World Ranking Jumping List No. 185
Top 10 Rankings as at 31 May 2016

1. McClain Ward (USA) 3099 points
2. Simon Delestre (France) 3080
3. Christian Ahlmann (Germany) 2999
4. Penelope Leprevost (France) 2986
5. Scott Brash (Great Britain) 2715
6. Kent Farrington (USA) 2678
7. Kevin Staut (France) 2568
8. Gregory Wathelet (Belgium) 2540
9. Daniel Duesser (Germany) 2496
10. Bertram Allen (Ireland) 2458


2008 Olympic Team Gold medallist with Sapphire

2004 Olympic Team Gold medallist with Sapphire

Competed in the 2014 Olympic Games

2014 World Team Bronze medallist with Rothchild

2006 World Team Silver medallist with Sapphire

Competed in the 2010 World Championships

2011 Pan American Games Team Gold medallist with Nikita F

2014 LGCT Antwerp Grand Prix winner with Rothchild

2007 LGCT Palm Beach Grand Prix winner with Sapphire

McLain has competed in 14 FEI World Cup Finals

2016 LGCT Miami Beach Grand Prix Silver Medallist with HH Azur

Therese Stub Alhaug
Therese Stub Alhaug


Therese is the editor of Equilife, and is truly dedicated to equestrian sports and horses. She started riding as a little girl, and enjoys her free time with her two horses back home. Portrait interview is her favorite topic, as it has the gift to inspire others through peoples stories, knowledge, training and general life-philosophy, and certainly, their lives with horses.

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