Three new inductees for US showjumping’s Hall of Fame

Showjumping Hall of fame inductee Fitz Dixon congratulates Michael Matz after his win on Jet Run in the 1978 American Gold Cup.
Showjumping Hall of fame inductee Fitz Dixon congratulates Michael Matz after his win on Jet Run in the 1978 American Gold Cup.

A horse and two equestrian pioneers were inducted into the USA’s Show Jumping Hall of Fame over Easter Weekend, during the $200,000 American Invitational during the The Longines Global Champions Tour in Miami, Florida.

The three newest inductees were Major General Guy V. Henry, Jr., Fitz Eugene Dixon, Jr., and the horse, I Love You, making a total of 84 horses, riders and officials who have been inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame since it was established in 1987.

The ceremony took place prior to the start of the American Invitational, with Chrystine Tauber and Mason Phelps presenting on behalf of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Board of Directors. Fitz Dixon’s daughter, Ellin, along with her husband Bruce and Karen Golding, who took care of Dixon’s horses for many years and is a Hall of Fame inductee herself, were present to take part in the ceremony on behalf of Dixon. Philip Richter, who along with his mother Judy was closely associated with I Love You and Norman Dello Joio, took part on their behalf.

Major General Guy V. Henry, Jr
Major General Guy V. Henry, Jr

Major General Guy V. Henry, Jr was a leader of equestrian sport for decades. An 1898 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and a career Cavalry officer in the US Army, Henry was director of equitation at the US Military Academy, chief of the US Cavalry, and commandant of the US Cavalry School. He was the first US Army officer to attend the French Cavalry School at Saumur, and he developed the equitation curriculum at the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Henry organized the US Team for the 1912 Olympic Games, the first Olympics to include modern equestrian competition. He also competed in all three disciplines in those Games, winning a team Bronze Medal in the three-day event and helping the US team to a fourth-place finish in show jumping.

Henry was Director of Equestrian Activities at the 1932 Olympics and was chef d’equipe for the 1936 and 1948 US Olympic equestrian team. He also served as a judge at the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games as well as at other international competitions. He was a director of both the AHSA and the USET in their formative years and also of the National Horse Show. He served as both vice-president and president of the FEI and remains the only American to have served as FEI president.

Fitz Eugene Dixon, Jr was an avid horseman and philanthropist who left an indelible mark in equestrian sports. A major supporter of the Devon Horse Show and United States Equestrian Team, Dixon was the owner of some of show jumping’s greatest horses.

Dixon was most identified with rider Michael Matz and the legendary show jumper, Jet Run. Dixon bought the bay Thoroughbred from Mexico and frequently loaned him to the USET for international competition. Jet Run carried Matz to team and individual Bronze Medals at the 1978 World Championships and to team and individual Gold Medals at the 1979 Pan American Games. They also paired to win the 1981 World Cup Final in Birmingham, England and were part of several winning Nations’ Cup teams.

At home, Jet Run carried Matz to many wins and was the American Grandprix Association Horse of the Year in 1981. Jet Run was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1996.

Dixon was also the owner of Rhum IV, a Selle Francais ridden by Matz to several Grand Prix wins and as part of the USA’s Silver Medal team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Dixon was on the Board of the Devon Horse Show and was closely associated with the American Gold Cup when it was held at Devon’s show grounds. He helped raise funds to assure the future of Devon and its famed show grounds and in 1990 Devon’s main ring was  renamed “The Dixon Oval” in his honor.

Throughout his life Dixon, a member of the Jockey Club, was involved with the breeding of Thoroughbreds. Many of his horses went on to great success on the track. Well known as owner or part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Flyers and Phillies, Dixon served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, National Steeplechase and Hunt Association, and Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association as well as organizations such as the Fairmount Park Commission, Philadelphia Art Commission and Delaware River Port Authority.

He also taught at Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia for 17 years, served on numerous school and university Boards and was the first Chairman of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education.

Dixon’s daughter Ellin made her mark in dressage where she won the USDF Grand Prix National Championship in 1981, and was a member of the USA’s 1982 World Championship team and 1987 Silver Medal Pan American Games team.  She also served as USDF President.

Prince Phillip congratulates Norman Dello Joio and I Love You after they won the FEI World Cup Final in 1983.
Prince Phillip congratulates Norman Dello Joio and I Love You after they won the FEI World Cup Final in 1983.

I Love You, the striking bay Selle Français stallion, represented the United States in international competition throughout the 1980s, achieving outstanding success with rider Norman Dello Joio.

I Love You carried Dello Joio to impressive wins both in the US and internationally. The highlight of his career came in 1983 when he carried Dello Joio to the championship in the FEI World Cup Final in Vienna, Austria. The following year, the duo narrowly missed becoming the first World Cup champions to successfully defend their title when they finished second by just one fault at the 1984 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I Love You’s successful career included winning several other major events including the du Maurier International at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, the President’s Cup at the Washington International Horse Show, the Grand Prix De Penn National at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, and the Dunhill World Cup Grand Prix at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto where he also carried Dello Joio to the horse show’s Leading Rider Award.

I Love You and Dello Joio were part of winning Nations’ Cup teams at Washington, New York, Toronto and Spruce Meadows. In 1984, I Love You and Dello Joio turned in consistently strong performances in the USET Olympic trials and were named as alternates to the talented team that went on to win the Gold Medal.

Following his retirement as an active competitor, I Love You became a distinguished breeding stallion in France where he lived out the remainder of his days.

The Show Jumping Hall of Fame and Museum is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

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