Each week on #HallOfFameThursday, Horse Network recognizes members of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame with an inductee’s plaque, historical photos and, on the first Thursday of every month, an article written by a Show Jumping Hall of Famer. This week, we recognize Jane Forbes Clark, Show Jumping Hall of Fame Class of 2011—and her extraordinary efforts to champion horse sport.
Few people have done as much to help equestrian sports as Jane Forbes Clark.
Jane has generously given time and energy, plus financial support, to the United States Equestrian Team (USET), USET Foundation, American Horse Shows Association (AHSA), United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), Show Jumping Hall of FamE and Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), providing leadership lo help these organizations, and equestrian sports in general, in a variety or ways.
Jane was the first woman and youngest person ever elected first vice-president (1982–1991) and then president (1991–l997) of the AHSA. She was the driving force in the creation of the Show Jumping Hame of Fame and served as its first Chairman. She has served on the FEI Executive Board, as Senior Vice President and Trustee of the USE’T, as President and CEO of the USET Foundation, on the Board and Executive Committee of the USEF and on the Boards of the U.S. Olympic Committee, American Horse Council (AHC), National Horse Show Association of America and Lake Placid Horse Show Association.
Jane has generously provided horses for U.S. teams not only in show jumping, but also in dressage and combined driving. At the 1996 Olympic Games, she became the first owner with medal-winning horses in two disciplines. At the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), she became the first owner with horses competing in three disciplines.
lt is clearly show jumping, however, that has been Jane’s primary focus. Her decades-long partnership with rider Leslie Burr Howard produced incredible success, including dozens of Grand Prix wins and team Silver Medals at the 1996 Olympics with Extreme and the 1999 Pan American Games with Clover Leaf in addition to a team Gold at the 1983 Pan Am Games with Boing. Leslie also rode Jane’s Charisma as part of the U.S. team aT the 1994 WEG.
Jane has also provided horses for U.S. riders Molly Ashe, Nicole Shahinian Simpson, Mario Deslauriers, and George Morris who rode Jane’s horse Rio to win what was then the richest purse in show jumping history at Spruce Meadows in 1988.
With all the horses that she has bought and owned, Jane has rarely sold a horse. Instead, she prefers to give her horses comfortable and secure retirements. It’s been said that, “When Jane buys a horse, it has a home for life!”
Outside the horse world, Jane serves as Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. She has also been a Director of the Baseball Assistance Team and the Jackie Robinson Empire State Freedom Medal Commission in addition to serving as President of several charitable and cultural organizations. Her commitment to helping in these areas is as strong as it is in the horse world where her record for helping is truly unique.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit charity that relies solely on contributions to operate. If you liked this story, please consider supporting its efforts to preserve our sport’s history. Donations can be made online at www.ShowJumpingHallofFame.net.