Little Known Facts About America’s Best Known Show Jumpers

Like Jeopardy, love show jumping? Carley Sparks channels her inner Alex Trebec.

From Carley:

Jayne Huddleston is a compendium of show jumping information. A former researcher for the CBC and unofficial historian of equestrian sport, she knows more about the top riders than most people alive. Maybe more than ALL people alive. Ever.

Here she shares a bit of that expertise with us.

These are little known facts about America’s best known show jumpers. In the style of Jeopardy*. As all trivia posts should be. (Bonus points if you read the questions in the authoritative voice of Alex Trebec.)

I’ll take FAMOUS FATHERS for $600, Alex.

Q: This American Olympian’s father also competed at the Olympics, but in a different equestrian sport.

Answer: Who is Lauren Hough.

“Charles ‘Champ’ Hough, Lauren’s father, won the Team Bronze in the 1952 Olympics in Three Day Eventing, which was 25 years before she was born,” says Huddleston.

(Incidentally, Hough’s boyfriend, Captain Mark Phillips, is chef d’equipe of the US Eventing Team. He also won a medal at the Olympics. In 1972—five years before she was born.)

Q: This Olympian’s father was considered one of America’s foremost composers in the ‘40s.

Answer: Who is Norman Dello Joio, Jr.

“Norman Dello Joio, Sr. won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1957 and he won an Emmy award for a musical score for an NBC special in 1965,” says Huddleston.

Q: If his original ambitions had worked out, George Morris would have become this.

Answer: What is an actor.

“Coaching and teaching riding was not his first career choice. Acting was. He wanted to be a stage actor and spent quite a bit of time at acting school,” says Huddleston. (It’s where he learned to enunciate so well.)

Q: Before he was chef d’equipe, this rider dabbled in television and was one of the sport’s most eligible bachelors.

Answer: Who is Robert Ridland!

“Robert has been a color commentator for NBC, CBS, Sports Channel America, and Turner Broadcasting. He was very good at it too!” says Huddleston. “He remained a bachelor for a long time. He didn’t get married until he was 48.”

Q: He’s the best educated chef d’equipe in North America.

Answer: Who is Robert Ridland again.

Robert Ridland graduated from Yale University, then started law school at Columbia University, intending to be a lawyer. But he quit to go to the 1976 Olympics and never went back,” she continues.

Q: This former World Cup Champion made his career in Canada.

Answer: Who is Rich Fellers.

“Rich Fellers made a career out of riding at Spruce Meadows. For the longest time that was the only big league place he’d ever be seen. To this day, he’s probably been to more Spruce Meadows tournaments than any other rider, including Canadians.”

Q: This rider made it to the Grand Prix level without ever owning a horse.

Answer: Who is Margie Engle.

“She was the first rider in the United States to enter five horses in a Grand Prix and take the top five placings,” says Huddleston. “At one time she was almost as well known for the number of bones she had broken as she was for her number of wins. She has broken a lot of bones. She is a tough girl.”

Q: This famous American Grand Prix rider once worked for Ian Millar.

Answer: Who is Richard Spooner.

“Richard Spooner wanted to work somewhere that he could also learn to ride from a good rider. George Morris must have thought he had potential because he introduced him to Ian and Richard came to Canada. That was before anybody knew anything about him as a rider,” says Huddleston.

Give yourself 200 points per correct answer. Tally your fake results. And times it by three if you mimed cue cards for your final total. (Minus 1,000 if you made real ones.)

Free publicity? Anytime, Alex.

*Jeopardy did not approve these questions. But they’re free to use them anytime.

Carley Sparks covers show jumping and related ridiculousness at


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