Hometown: Brewster, N.Y. Birthday: 10/17/1975 Sport/Disciplines: Jumping Olympic Years: 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020
McLain Ward was introduced to riding before he could walk and has a competitive prowess that only continues to increase with age. In 1990, Ward became the youngest rider ever to win both the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Medal Finals and the USET Talent Derby at age 14. After turning pro, he quickly became the youngest rider to reach the $1 million mark in earnings in 1999, at age 24.
Ward is a four-time Olympian, including as a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. teams in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 with his longtime mount, Sapphire. With HH Azur, he was part of the U.S. team that took home silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He was a member of the gold-medal winning NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 riding Clinta, a WEG Normandy 2014 team bronze medalist with Rothchild, and WEG Aachen 2006 team silver medalist with Sapphire. As a Pan American Games athlete, Ward was part of the gold-medal team in Guadalajara in 2011 riding Nikita F, and won individual gold and team bronze in Toronto in 2015 riding Rothchild.
In 2009, Ward rode Sapphire to his first-ever podium finish at the FEI World Cup Finals, finishing in second place. In 2017 he finished the job, winning the FEI World Cup Final in Omaha with HH Azur.
Ward amassed an impressive record at the start of the 2020 season, earning three straight CSI5* Grand Prix wins in just two weeks in Wellington, Fla., capturing the $213,300 Longines Grand Prix CSIO5* and the $401,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5* with Noche de Ronda, and the $401,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5* with HH Azur.
Ward continued with a strong showing during the 2021 Florida winter circuit aboard Contagious, Catoki, HH Azur, and Kasper van het Hellehof, securing a third-place finish with Contagious in the $214,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Insurance Grand Prix CSI4* and a fourth-place finish aboard Contagious in the prestigious $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*.
Ward’s home base is in upstate New York where he lives with his wife, Lauren, who is an avid competitor in the amateur divisions. They have two young daughters named Lilly and Madison.