‘Two great ladies’: Olympic rider and top mare inducted into US Showjumping Hall of Fame

  • US Olympic rider Margie Engle – and McLain Ward’s top former ride Sapphire – have been inducted into the US Showjumping Hall of Fame.

    Induction into the hall of fame takes place annually based on individuals whose contributions to the sport have “set them apart and whose influence has had a significant impact” on the sport 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 – selected Engle and Sapphire as the class of 2020,” said a spokesman for the hall of fame.

    Margie’s many achievements including competing in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and being on the silver medal-winning team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Aachen. She is also a three-time Pan American Games medallist, has ridden in 17 World Cup finals and has won more than 200 grands prixs. Margie was awarded the American Grandprix Association’s (AGA) rider of the year award 10 times and is the only rider to have won it more than four times.

    “In 2004, Engle had 11 grand prix wins despite a broken hip bone that sidelined her for two months. She added another 11 wins in 2005 and seven more in 2006 when she won the AGA award for the 10th time,” added the spokesman.

    Also inducted for 2020 is McLain Ward’s Olympic medal-winning mare Sapphire. The pair were on the gold medal-winning teams at the 20004 Athens and 2008 Hong Kong Games. They were also part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2006 WEG and took seventh individually at the 2010 WEG in Lexington.

    Margie Engle McLain Ward Sapphire showjumping hall of fame

    Credit Trevor Meeks

    Sapphire retired to McLain’s farm in spring 2012 and died in 2014 aged 19.

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    McLain said he was “very proud” to have been in Sapphire’s life.

    “Her greatness never fades,” he said. “My congratulations to Margie as well, the strongest competitor I know. Two great ladies”.

    Margie and Sapphire join a stellar list of the sport’s legends including top horses, former Olympic medallists, farriers, officials and owners. The hall of fame is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, where plaques are on display in honour of the inductees.

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