Frank Chapot is one of the most famous riders in American history. He first joined the United States Equestrian Team in 1956 while still on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and was its youngest member. Over the next 20 years Chapot compiled an enviable record with the USET—two Olympic silver medals, an individual bronze in the 1974 World Championships, and was a member of a record 46 winning Nations' Cup teams. Chapot won two WIHS President’s Cup Grand Prix events—one riding the famous San Lucas in 1965. He is married to the former Mary Mairs, twice his Olympic teammate and the first American rider to win a show jumping Pan American Games individual gold medal.
Following his career as a rider, Chapot became the USET's show jumping chef d'equipe, helping it attain two historic and previously elusive goals: the first team gold medals in an Olympic Games (1984) and in a world championship (1986). At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Chapot's contribution went beyond his role as chef d'equipe. His pupil, Greg Best, won the individual silver medal riding Gem Twist, a horse bred by Chapot and the son of another top Chapot mount, Good Twist.What was special about the WIHS when you rode there?
In those days, all the shows picked up the tab for international teams to come over; there was Harrisburg, Washington, the National Horse Show, and The Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Washington was very highly regarded as a competition. It was very important for official teams to come over and make an international competition in the U.S. In later years, it was probably not at the same level. It was very difficult to get the star riders to make the trip over until we got the World Cup classes here.