USA showjumper McLain Ward has not been immune to controversy over the years, but there’s no denying the resilient 38-year-old’s immense talent. He took some time out in Florida to talk to us about everything from what his favourite show is, to his ideal last supper and desert island boxset.
1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To try to take a moment and enjoy the successes. That’s hard for me. I wake up every day and think about what I haven’t done so it’s a healthy influence on my life.
2. What is your favourite show?
Aachen. Even though I have a love-hate relationship with it. I’ve had the last jump down in the jump-off with the fastest time three times now. My wife refuses to go to the show because I’m so tense. But one day I will win that grand prix. I would take that over a gold medal at the Olympic Games.
3. What did you buy with your first big winner’s cheque?
A luxury briefcase.
4. What would you eat for your final supper?
Steak and brocolli.
5. What would be your desert island boxset?
National Geographic documentaries. I’m not a big sit com guy.
6. What’s your karaoke song?
You don’t want to hear me sing!
7. When do you feel at your happiest?
My treat after winning a big grand prix is to sit in the bath with three Heinekens lined up on the side.
8. What are you most proud of?
My biggest achievement, and I say it jokingly but in all truth, is that I ended up with my wife. I’m not an easy guy and there must be something decent about me that she likes. She’s an amazing girl.
9. What is your earliest memory?
Going to grands prix with my father aged five or six and being shockingly nervous for him to do well. The stress began early.
10. What has been your biggest extravagance?
Oh I’m a shopper, I’ll spend money! I’ve never been a car guy, but I did trade a horse for a luxury car this year. I had a bad day early in the season and I put the top down on the car and drove as fast as I could, back and forth 10 times and I called my wife and said OK, I get it, this is fun.
Read the full interview with McLain Ward in this week’s showjumping special of Horse & Hound magazine (3 April 2014), guest-edited by Nick Skelton