Spanning seven international disciplines, the United States Equestrian Team has always been a proud representation of our nation’s greatest riders. From the Olympics to the venerable stadiums and arenas of Europe, team USA trains and competes year-round to uphold the team’s legacy of excellent equestrian sport.
The show jumping squad sprouted from a military background and eventually formed into the successful team it is today. Although the USET was officially formed in 1950, before then Olympic equestrian sports were overseen by the US army, and successfully competed for years before the Army mechanized in 1949, thus disbanding cavalry operations. The next year the USET formed, and its first president was Capt. John Wofford, a former Olympian who also became the coach for both the eventing and show jumping teams. During the early years of the team, riders trained at Wofford’s own Rimrock Farm before eventually moving to the palatial Hamilton Farm.
The sprawling Hamilton Farm, located in Gladstone, New Jersey, was originally purchased by James Cox Brady. The landmark stable is a masterpiece in workmanship, from its ornate tile walls to its grandly appointed trophy room, situated right above the main entry. After having no permanent training base, the USET moved to Hamilton Farm in 1961, and remains there to this day, where it still hosts numerous events, from Pony Club rallies to Dressage clinics.
After Wofford’s tenure as coach, former Hungarian cavalry officer Bertalan de Nemethy stepped up to lead the show jumping team in 1955. He began a major overhaul in the training of the riders, stressing the fundamentals of riding and shaping the team into a formidable international force. The team improved greatly under de Nemethy’s guidance, and when he retired in 1980, former Team rider Chrystine Jones Tauber took over the show jumping team.
As the USET galloped into the twenty-first century, several changes were made to move the Team forward and ensure a successful future. In late 2003, the USET became the USET Foundation, which is still located at Hamilton Farm. At that time, USA Equestrian joined with the USET Foundation to form today’s USEF, which governs equestrian sport in the United States. The two major organizations wanted to form “a single unified family woven together from the many parts of equestrian governance and leadership.”This partnership allows a uniform governance over all aspects of equestrian sport, thus making competing easier and more effective.
The USEF’s High Performance Division is the equivalent of the USET before it became a foundation. It provides training for major equestrian events, including the Olympics and the PanAm Games. The High Performance Division features seven international disciplines, including the three military sports of Dressage, Eventing, and Show Jumping, as well as Vaulting, Reining, Endurance, and Driving. The Division is also headquartered at Hamilton Farm.
The Foundation’s mission is to help fund High Performance competition and to educate and train future international riders. It is a not-for-profit organization that collaborates with the USEF to carry out its mission and promote international equestrian sport.
With the generous contributions of riders from all disciplines, the USET Foundation can continue to send our athletes to international competitions around the world. Meanwhile, the High Performance teams train year-round to ensure that they continue to place high in such competitions and thus proudly represent the red, white, and blue.