joe fargis

The horse has come to us by chance, not by choice. Of all the animals that have naturally come from the wild, there are very few that have shown any disposition to tolerate man and live with him on the terms we impose. In the mental make-up of the horse there is a quality of submission that has benefited man to no end. The horse will carry out duties without reward. He is a giving creature who asks for nothing. Horses have served as man’s partner throughout the history of civilization, through the centuries without complaint they have served in war, commerce, agriculture and entertainment. They have born men and munitions into battle, pulled wagons and carriages, plowed fields, provided endless sport; polo, racing, dressage, fox hunting, three-day eventing, show jumping, reining… just to name but a few. Horses are embedded in our culture and our memories. The horse has an athleticism, grace and power. Beyond the horses physical attributes and his contributions to human well-being I am astounded, above all else, by his inner self, his spirit and his sweet and generous nature. The horse’s adaptability and willingness to serve us has earned them a special place in our hearts. He is not a conquest of man. It is his nature to accept ‘what is’ with nobility. I think horses have helped give all of us in this room a wonderful life. Thanks to them I have received great personal satisfaction and felt closer to nature. Countless people experience the fulfillment of spending their days around horses. This is one of the best way to use one’s time on earth. We are together tonight because of our bond with horses, let us protect and guard these wonderful creatures to the best of our ability.
—  Joe Fargis
5

Touch of Class (registered name Stillaspill)

1973, 16hh, Mare

Yankee Lad x Kluwall

6 Starts

She was bred to be fast, but did not place once in her 6 races. She was then trained as a show jumper, 1981 was her first year as a Grand Prix horse and she won several classes. In 1982 she and her rider Joe Fargis qualified for the USET and then the World Championships in Dublin. That same year her rider injured his leg, and she was ridden by Conrad Homfeld until Joe recovered, she and her new rider helped the USET win the Grand Prix at Southampton, and 4th at the 1983 World Cup. She was on the 1983 Nations Cup team that won in Calgary and Rome. She also helped the Nations Cup teams win in Aachen, Washington, and New York, and she won the Grand Prix of Tampa in 1984.   The 1984 Olympic Show Jumping team had the nickname the “Dream Team” she had performed very consistently at the Olympic trials. At the Olympics she was the first horse in Olympic history to have a double clear round, she had more then one. She cleared 90 out of the 91 jumps she was asked to jump, the highest jump was 5 ft 6", and the widest 7 ft 2". She was the first horse since 1956 to take home two show jumping gold medals, and only the forth horse at the time to do so, only one horse since has done that. She was the first non-human to be named USOC Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year. She continued to Successfully compete after the 1984 Olympics, she won the Washington Presidents Cup, the New York Grand Prix (National Horse Show) and the Pennsylvania National Grand Prix (Harrisburg), these shows make up the Triple Crown of the Indoor Shows. She was on six winning international nation cup teams, and she and her rider were first on the World Cup U.S. East Coast League standings list in 1984, and 1985. After she retired from competition she want on to be successful broodmare.

she died on July 1, 2001.

This is a Video of her in the jump off for gold at the 1984 Olympics

[Forward riding is] the first step in making the jumper a complete horse. You keep the horse straight, ride him forward, stay off his back, get him to the point that he’s nicely stabilized, and then he’s a good student and can go on to collected work.”
”[stabilization is] an early step in the training of a horse to let him be on his own for awhile and find his own balance and rhythm. Once he is stabilized, then you begin to collect him and give him more experience in the show ring. I don’t like to collect a horse until he’s a little older, perhaps six or seven.
—  Joe Fargis