Horse: Horse: Priobert De Kalvarie – 1992, brown gelding, Belgium
Owner: Higher Ground Farm
Home: Westport, Connecticut
Born: October 1, 1956
A member of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) squads that won the team Gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and the team Silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, “Leapin’ Leslie” Howard entered her first show at age 6. As a junior rider, she won the 1972 ASPCA Maclay Finals, the United States’ top competition for riders up to age 18.
In 1983, riding her eventual Olympic mount, Albany, Howard was the American Grandprix Association Rider of the Year, and Albany was Horse of the Year, a feat he repeated in 1984. The pair went on to help the USET capture the team Gold medal in Los Angeles. In 1986, she won the FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, on McLain and was voted the American Horse Shows Association’s Equestrian of the Year.
One of Howard’s career highlights was being named to replace Greg Best as Gem Twist’s rider. Best and Gem Twist ended their partnership after he sustained a broken shoulder in a fall while competing. Howard successfully completed the 1992 season, helping to earn the AGA Horse of the Year honors for Gem Twist for a record third time.
In 1994 Howard represented the U.S. at the World Equestrian Games in Holland. Also that year, she rode Charisma and Gem Twist to a 1st place tie in the USET Show Jumping Championship at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions in Gladstone, NJ.
Howard was honored by the USET in January of 1997 with the Whitney Stone Cup for long and meritorious service.
Howard was one of 12 riders to contribute to the USET’s win in the 1997 inaugural Samsung Nations’ Cup Series, which culminated at Spruce Meadows in Canada, where she won the world’s richest Grand Prix event-the $523,465 Du Maurier Ltd. International Grand Prix.
In 1998, Howard’s early placings included her runner-up finish in the $100,000 Budweiser/American Invitational in Tampa, Florida, aboard S’Blieft. She also had a successful summer tour in Canada, where she won the $33,380 Classique Internationale De Blainville CSI-W and the $33,815 Capital Classic CSI-W aboard Clover Leaf.
In 1999, she was named to the USET show jumping squad for the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, where the U.S. earned the Team Silver medal.
Howard’s 2000 season saw her finish on top of the USA East Coast FEI World Cup League. For this accomplishment, Howard was named the USET Athlete of the Month for March. In addition, she won her second consecutive U.S. Equestrian Team Region 1 Show Jumping Championship when she topped the $35,000 Ox Ridge Grand Prix aboard Priobert. Howard earned the Leading Rider award at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto.
In April 2001, Howard tied for sixth place in the FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, riding Priobert de Kalvarie. At the end of the year, Howard won the Grand Prix and World Cup class at CSI-W Amsterdam and the Grand Prix at CSI-A Maastricht to beat an impressive field of international riders that included Olympic medalists.
In 2002, Howard won the Audi Grand Prix in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Holland and tied for fourth place in the FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final (her 17th) in Leipzig, Germany.