Legendary equestrian, Morton “Cappy” Smith of Newport, RI and Middleburg,
VA, passed away this morning, Wednesday, July 17, 2002.
Cappy Smith was a 2000 recipient of the Pegasus Medal of Honor awarded by
USA Equestrian, and was inducted in to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in
1991, the National Show Hunter hall of Fame in 1998 and was an inductee of
the Virginia Horse Show Association’s Hall of Fame in 1990. He was a
Director of the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, CAN, and Master of the Orange
County Hunt in Middleburg.
At Madison Square Garden in New York, Smith dominated the National Horse
Show over a period of three decades. He first won the National Horse Show
jumper title with Bartender in 1938 and again in 1938, and in 1939 was
champion and reserve with Bartender and Intrepid. Smith was the first
post-war jumper champion at the National Horse Show with Chamarro and he
captured the National title for the final time in 1954 aboard Clay Pidgeon
for his fifth championship. Among the champion hunters Smith trained were
such horses as Skylark, Ballela, Lord Britain, Guardsman and Jambol, who won
both the triple bar jumper class and the Conformation Hunter stake at the
National as a four-year-old. Additionally, Smith rode hunter champions,
Sinbad, Grey Pennant, My Bill, Sombrero and Bill Star. He won the
three-year-old-hunter championship of Virginia for five consecutive years.
William Steinkraus, the first rider to win an individual gold medal in
equestrian sports for the USA in the Olympic Games, and one of the most
influential competitors for the United States, said of Smith, “When I was a
kid, Cappy was my idol and I think in the view of many people the best
Hunter/Jumper rider in America. In my teens, I was lucky enough to have a
chance to ride with him on a regular basis and what I learned, not only
about horses but about everything, was incalculable.”
Smith, acclaimed by his peers and riders today as the greatest horseman of
the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, has been called the Horseman of the Millennium.
Arrangements are pending.