“ Without the horse none of this would be possible...
...We owe them our lives. They give us so much and they ask for only basic kindness in return. I believe horses and humans have a connection that draws us to each other. I believe in their own way they know we need them and they are pleased to be our partner whether it be in work or sport. We need to remember to never take this privilege of working and living with horses for granted. To never lose our appreciation for what they have given us throughout the history of time and to be sure that their relevance in our society does not fade away. This is our greatest responsibility as equestrians."
THE EARLY YEARS
McLain Ward started riding after being encouraged to take up the sport by his parents who were professionals in the industry. In 1990, at age 14, he became the youngest rider to win the United States Equestrian Federation’s Show Jumping Derby. Ten weeks later he became the youngest rider to win the USET Medal Finals and became the first and youngest rider to win both titles in the same year. This early success led to him earning the nickname "The Kid".
McLain's father, Barney, competed in and won the Grand Prix of Devon in 1982, 20 years later, to the day, his son won the same competition in 2002. McLain cites winning the World Cup Final on HH Azur and winning the Spruce Meadows Masters on Sapphire as the most memorable moments in his career.
MCLAIN’S OLYMPIC DEBUT & CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD
At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Ward won the gold medal as part of the United States team in Team jumping, together with Peter Wylde, Beezie Madden, and Chris Kappler. In 2006, Mclain and Sapphire were part of the silver medal team at the World Championships in Aachen, Germany. He continued to compete as an Olympian, winning the team gold for show jumping at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games aboard Sapphire along with Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, and Will Simpson.
At the 2014 World Championships in Lyon, France, Mclain and Team USA earned a team Bronze. 2015 produced Mclain's first individual gold with Rothchild at the Pan American Games along with a team bronze medal. In the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Ward again rode for the U.S. Team. His mount was HH Azur, owned by Double H Farms and Francois Mathy. At the time of the Olympics Azur was 10. He earned a team silver medal, jumping double clear in the team competition.
#1 WORLD RANKING
In 2017 McLain won the Longines FEI World Cup Championship. It was his 17th appearance at the final. He won riding his 2016 Olympic mount HH Azur, an 11 year old mare. He completed the week with no penalties after five rounds of jumping, one rail ahead of the second place rider.
In April 2017, McLain Ward was ranked #1 in the Longines FEI world rankings for the first time. He was ranked #1 through June 2017, but in July 2017, Kent Farrington was ranked #1 and McLain Ward was ranked #2 in the world. This was the first time two Americans stood at the top of the Longines FEI world rankings.
McLain and Lauren Ward have been married for ten years, they have a daughter named Lilly. They currently reside and operate out of Castle Hill Farm in Brewster, NY and Wellington, FL.
McLain's career and business are very much a family oriented operation. There is perhaps no greater evidence of that than the McKeever family, who along with the Wards have been a part of Castle Hill for over 30 years. Lee and Erica McKeever live at Castle Hill along with their children Bradlee and Baylee.