McLain Ward

McLain Ward
Medal record

McLain Ward with Sapphire, 2008 Olympic Games equestrian in Sha Tin, Hongkong
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 2008 Beijing Team jumping
Gold 2004 Athens Team jumping

McLain Ward (born October 17, 1975 in Brewster, New York) is an American show jumping competitor and Olympic champion.

Official website:

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Ward won the gold medal as part of the United States team in Team jumping, together with Peter Wylde, Beezie Madden and Chris Kappler.[1] He also continued to compete as an Olympian, winning the team gold for show jumping at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics with Laura Kraut (Cedric), Beezie Madden (Authentic), and Will Simpson (Carlson vom Dach) and Mclain's horse, Sapphire.

McLain has been recognized as a dominant competitor on the jumper circuit since his junior days. When he was just 14, he won the United States Equestrian Federation (ESEF) Show Jumping Derby as well as the equitation medal finals, becoming the youngest rider in history to win both in one year. As mentioned in the book Unbridled Passion: Show Jumping's Greatest Horses and Riders, McLain proved to be a fierce competitor, even riding with a broken collarbone in the 2005 Samsung Super League. McLain fought through the pain to help the United States team capture the Championship.[2]

Ward found himself at the center of controversy at the 2010 World Cup Final in Geneva, Switzerland. His mount, Sapphire, was eliminated after the second round of jumping due to hypersensitivity in her left forelimb. She had placed second in both rounds prior to elimination, and was at the top of the overall standings at the time of the disqualification. Mclain challenged the ruling, stating that FEI had sent technicians to flex Sapphire repeatedly throughout the night until she turned up lame. This may be in part to Sapphire dominating competition throughout many FEI events, and FEI no longer wished for the pair to compete in the World Cup. The FEI appointed veterinarian stressed that there was no indication or evidence of any malpractice by McLain Ward or any member of the team.[3] In July 2010 the FEI and McLain Ward agreed to avoid extensive litigations, that Sapphire was incorrectly eliminated. However, Sapphire’s disqualification from the final round of the World Cup remains in place. The FEI has also decided to develop mandatory guidelines for hypersensitivity tests.[4][5]

In 2010 Ward was featured in the television series A Rider's Story[6] along with fellow Olympian Laura Kraut. Mclain is married to Lauren Ward.


  1. ^ "2004 Summer Olympics – Athens, Greece – Equestrian" (Retrieved on April 27, 2008)
  2. ^ Papows, Jeff (2011). [ Unbridled Passion: Show Jumpings Greatest Horses and Riders]. Acanthus Publishing. 
  3. ^ McLain Ward’s World Cup™ horse disqualified from Final, announcement of the International Federation of Equestrian Sports(FEI)
  4. ^ FEI resolves legal dispute over World Cup disqualification, July 2, 2010
  5. ^ Der Fall McLain Ward und Sapphire: Die FEI knickt ein (german; "The case of McLain Ward and Sapphire: The FEI cave in"), July 3, 2010
  6. ^

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