Rodrigo Pessoa Honored with Hall’s International Award at Induction Gala in Wellington

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Rodrigo Pessoa accepting his award from Hall of Fame Chairman Peter Doubleday

Show Jumping Hall of Fame Inducts Pancho Lopez and Cedric

Lexington, KY – March 8, 2024 – Francisco “Pancho” Lopez, longtime barn manager for Katie Monahan Prudent and then Elise Haas, and Cedric, Laura Kraut’s gold medal Olympic mount, were inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame during the Hall of Fame’s Induction Gala in Wellington, Florida, on March 3. The Hall of Fame also honored Olympic, World and World Cup champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil as recipient of the Hall’s International Award.   “This was the third year we have hosted our annual induction ceremony as part of a sit-down dinner in Wellington and it was our biggest and best yet,” said Show Jumping Hall of Fame chairman Peter Doubleday. “We sold out in advance and, unfortunately, had to turn away several people who wanted to be there. Our sport’s history was on display with 15 Hall of Famers and many more of our sport’s legends in attendance. Once again it was an incredible night, one that we will continue to build on each year.”   Prior to the formal induction of Lopez and Cedric, the Hall of Fame presented its International Award for just the second time, with the award going to Rodrigo Pessoa, one of the most successful riders in show jumping history. Pessoa won the individual Gold Medal at the World Equestrian Games in 1998 and at the Olympic Games in 2004. He is also the only rider ever to win the FEI World Cup Finals three consecutive years, winning the championship in 1998, 1999 and 2000. 

“While induction into the Hall of Fame is for Americans who have had a significant impact on the sport, we recognize that there are some great international riders who impact show jumping in this country,” Doubleday added. “With that in mind, we initiated our International Award last year and presented the inaugural award to Canada’s Ian Millar. When we considered candidates for the award this year, we felt that Rodrigo was an obvious choice, and listening to his moving speech at the dinner made it clear that we made the right decision.”   The induction dinner, held at the Wanderers Club in Wellington, also recognized 15 others in attendance who have previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame including Olympic veterans Mary Chapot, Margie Engle, Leslie Howard, Anne Kursinski, Beezie Madden, Michael Matz, Melanie Smith Taylor and Katie Prudent (1980 Alternate Olympics), as well as Linda Allen, Jane Forbes Clark, Anthony D’Ambrosio, David Distler, Peter Doubleday, Danny Marks and former Olympic rider and current U.S. chef d’equipe Robert Ridland. Others in attendance included Olympic veterans McLain Ward, Lauren Hough, Will Simpson, Nick Skelton, Shane Sweetnam, and Mac Cone and Grand Prix riders Georgina Bloomberg, Carly Anthony, Heather Caristo-Williams, Jimmy Torano, Kelli Cruciotti-Vanderveen, Schuyler Riley, and Coco Fath.

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Show Jumping Hall of Famers in attendance included (front, l-r): Leslie Howard, Margie Engle, Beezie Madden, Anne Kursinski, Mary Chapot, Melanie Smith Taylor, Jane Forbes Clark; (rear, l-r): David Distler, Michael Matz, Peter Doubleday, Robert Ridland, Anthony D’Ambrosio, Katie Prudent, Linda Allen, Danny Marks © KindMedia

Sponsors of the dinner included Robin Parsky, Beth Johnson, Charlie Jacobs, who sponsored the attendance of all Hall of Famers, and the Wheeler Family who sponsored the cocktail reception and open bar. Also sponsoring were the Hall of Fame’s corporate sponsors – Blenheim EquiSports, Charles Ancona, CMJ Sporthorse, Hampton Classic Horse Show, Kentucky Horse Park, LAURACEA, LEG Colorado Horse Shows, Markel Insurance, Palm Beach International Academy, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), Washington International Horse Show, and Wellington International. Table sponsors included John Madden Sales, Leslie Howard, Oliynyk Show Stables, Margaret Duprey and Laura Kraut.   The Hall of Fame also honored winners of last year’s Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series and Series Finals. Olivia Sweetnam, who won the 2023 Series’ East Conference Junior Division, and Tessa Downey, who won the Series Championship Final at the Washington International Horse Show, were able to attend.

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Hall of Fame Chairman Peter Doubleday presented Olivia Sweetnam with an engraved Tiffany crystal trophy. © KindMedia
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Tamara Makris of LAURACEA presented Tessa Downey one of LAURACEA’s best-selling backpacks. © KindMedia

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, elected Lopez and Cedric as the class of 2023.

Francisco “Pancho” Lopez

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Pancho Lopez © The Book

Born and raised in Mascota, Mexico, Francisco “Pancho” Lopez joined his father in Los Angeles, CA, when he was just a teenager. On one of his first days in the U.S., he walked several racehorses at the Del Mar racetrack where his family worked, and immediately fell in love with working with them. He took his first grooming job at age 15 at Blakiston Ranch, not far from Los Angeles. He moved on to work for Grand Prix rider Jimmy Kohn five years later, and then joined George Morris at Hunterdon where he worked for six years.   It was at Hunterdon that Lopez met Katie Monahan Prudent, the international champion with whom Lopez is most identified. He became Prudent’s barn manager and coordinated everything to keep the horses and the business in top shape. Lopez was at the forefront of the care of all Prudent’s horses, including such stars as The Jones Boy (second-place finisher in the inaugural FEI World Cup™ Final in 1979), Noren (1982 American Grandprix Association Horse of the Year), The Governor (1986 AGA Horse of the Year), Amadia (team Gold medalist in the 1986 FEI World Championships) and Special Envoy (1986 AGA Horse of the Year).

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Katie Prudent and Ricardo Padilla accepted the induction on behalf of Lopez who was unable to attend. © KindMedia

Starting in 1996, Lopez worked at Willowcreek Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. He spent many years working with Elise Haas whose family then established the “Francisco “Pancho” Lopez Scholarship” at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in his honor. The honor was most fitting as Lopez had started veterinary school when he was young but was not able to complete it due to family obligations.   Lopez had a remarkable “feel” for each horse and somehow always knew when something wasn’t right. He was always ready to share the benefits of his experience with others and passed on his knowledge to countless grooms and barn managers. He has also shared his more than 50 years’ worth of knowledge with riders and horses as a clinician, joining Prudent and other top professionals in educational settings.

Cedric

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Hall of Fame Chairman Peter Doubleday with Mary Elizabeth Kent, who helped train Cedric for her sister, Laura; Margaret Duprey, Cedric’s owner; and Laura Kraut, his rider © KindMedia

The “once in a lifetime” partner for rider Laura Kraut, Cedric was a small gray Holsteiner gelding foaled in Belgium in 1998 who became a stalwart on the U.S. Equestrian Team. He was originally owned in the U.S. by Peter Wetherill and Happy Hill Farm. After Wetherill passed away in 2010, his brother, Cortie, assumed ownership together with Kraut before Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm became Cedric’s final owner in 2012 to help keep him in Kraut’s barn.   Cedric made his FEI debut in 2006 and, despite his 15.2-hand height and many quirks, quickly became a powerhouse on the international show jumping circuit. His amazing partnership with Kraut spanned 11 years, producing 81 clear and 45 double-clear rounds in major competitions of $100,000 or more. Most notably, the pair helped the U.S. win a team gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. 

Cedric’s successful career also included riding on the U.S. team at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) and numerous Nations Cup appearances, including Aachen, Barcelona, Dublin, La Baule, Rome, Rotterdam, St. Gallen and Wellington. He and Kraut also won the Grand Prix at four LONGINES Global Champions Tour (GCT) events and they were the first horse-and-rider combination to win back-to-back events, claiming top honors in 2010 at Chantilly and then Valkenswaard just two weeks later. Cedric and Kraut also won GCT events in Lausanne (2012) and Wiesbaden (2013).   A naturally careful and competitive horse, Cedric was one of the nation’s leading money winners, amassing well over $2 million in prize money. He was honored as The Chronicle of the Horse’s Show Jumping Horse of the Year in 2010. Cedric was formally retired at age 19 in a moving ceremony in Wellington in 2017.

Press release Show Jumping Hall of Fame – media contact Marty Bauman

Photo 1 Rodrigo Pessoa accepting his award from Hall of Fame Chairman Peter Doubleday © KindMedia

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