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In Memoriam: Frances "Fran" Steinwedell

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Apr 16, 2024, 5:01 PM

Frances "Fran" Steinwedell

Lexington, Ky. - A revered equestrian whose impact was felt throughout the show jumping community, Frances “Fran” Blunt Steinwedell passed away on April 8, 2024.

A founding member of the American Grand Prix Association (AGA), Steinwedell served on various boards, including the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA) and the United States Equestrian Team (USET). Following her incredible career, Fran was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2017.

“Very few have had the impact on show jumping across our country that Fran did throughout her life,” stated US Equestrian Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney. “She was the true definition of a horsewoman. She cared for her horses, her people, and the sport as a whole. Her generosity knew no bounds, and we are beyond grateful that she shared her gifts with us.”

Fran started her equestrian journey in Chicago, where her passion for the sport led her to co-produce one of the first all-junior horse shows in 1946. Fran moved from the Windy City to California to help develop the sport on the West Coast, which included initiating the Grand Prix of Flintridge, one of the first FEI World Cup Qualifiers in the West.

One of Fran’s endearing qualities was her selflessness and generosity. The first person to give for 35 straight years to the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Gold Medal Club, she firmly believed in supporting opportunities to advance show jumping and the equestrian overall.

Her commitment to furthering equestrian sport for future generations can be seen clearly in her work as a mentor. Fran’s mentorship was instrumental in the careers of not only her daughter Francie Steinwedell-Carvin, but also for U.S. Olympic medalist Anne Kursinski.

“Fran was an exceptional horsewoman! Her passion and love of horses and equestrian sports was just who Fran was,” stated Kursinski. “I am extremely grateful to have had her as the greatest owner, a lifelong friend, and mentor! I could not have done all I did in my career without her support. She gave me encouragement and opportunity to leave California, come to the East coast, own world class horses for me to ride and fulfill my Olympic dreams.”

Fran’s legacy is seen not only in the human athletes she mentored, but also in her equine partners. Fran owned championship-caliber horses throughout her life, including U.S. team horses Eros, Livius, and Starman ridden by Anne Kursinksi. Among the accolades earned by this trio of horses:

  • Eros
    • Atlanta 1996 Olympics
      • Silver Medalist – Team
    • Competed at FEI World Equestrian Games, the FEI World Cup Finals, and the Pulsar Grand Prix of Mexico
  • Livius
    • Earned double gold during the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Starman
    • Seoul 1988 Olympics
      • Silver Medalist – Team
      • Fourth Individually
    • Show Jumping Horse of the Year (1990) – The Chronicle of the Horse
    • Champion – Grand Prix of Aachen (1991)
    • Inducted in Show Jumping Hall of Fame (2012)

Fran is survived by her sister Carlene Blunt, her children Bill, Jim, and Francie and their spouses, Steve Scott (the fourth Steinwedell) and his wife, six grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren.