Mourns Passing of Celebrated Horseman Billy Haggard
NJJanuary 8, 2004U.S. Equestrian (USEF) mourns the passing
of William D. Billy Haggard, one of the nations
notable horsemen, who passed away on January 5, 2004. Haggard is
survived by his wife, Janet; two sons, William D. Haggard, IV, and
Edward Haggard; and a brother, John Haggard; as well as three grandchildren
and three great-grandchildren.
the fact that he never had any formal training, Haggard continually
earned the right to compete at the highest levels of international
competition. He began his equestrian career in steeplechasing and
was the leading amateur steeplechase rider in 1957. Afterward, Haggard
shifted to show hunters and later to eventing.
was best known for his success aboard Bold Minstrel, the only horse
ever to represent the United States at the World Championship level
in two different disciplines. Early on, Haggard rode Bold Minstrel
in the hunter ring at many shows, earning the Reserve Championship
in the conformation division at the National Horse Show.
changing disciplines, Haggard rode Bold Minstrel in two consecutive
Pan American Games, earning the eventing team Silver Medal in 1959
and the team Gold in 1963. In 1964, he loaned Bold Minstrel to fellow
eventer Mike Plumb who piloted him to the team Silver Medal in the
Olympic Games in Tokyo.
on, under Haggards ownership, the wonderfully versatile Bold
Minstrel began to train in show jumping with William Steinkraus
in the saddle. Steinkraus and Bold Minstrel went on to win the team
Silver in the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. The pair competed
in the show jumping World Championships in 1970, rode on several
winning Nations Cup teams, and had numerous puissance wins
at many shows, including the National Horse Show in Madison Square
also owned and lent other talented mounts to members of the U.S.
show jumping team. Steinkraus rode Haggards Mainspring to
a team Silver Medal in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and Frank Chapot
teamed with Mainspring to win the individual Bronze Medal at the
World Championships in Hickstead in 1974. Mainspring was on several
winning Nations Cup teams with both Steinkraus and Chapot,
and he was Chapots mount when he won the King George V Gold
Cup in England in 1974.
1996, a tragic accident in the warm-up ring left Haggard paralyzed,
but his cheerful and optimistic spirit never wavered. He cherished
the memories of the horses he had loved throughout his lifetime
and the privilege he had known in sharing them with others.
in honor of Billy Haggard may be sent to the Hitchcock Foundation
in Aiken, SC, or the United States Equestrian Foundation, PO Box
355, Gladstone, NJ 07934.