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 the age of 24.
Ward is a five-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 silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ward was also a team silver medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games riding Contagious.
He was a member of the gold-medal winning NetJets U.S. Jumping Team for the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 riding Clinta, 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 a part of the gold-medal team in Guadalajara in 2011 riding Antares 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 Finals in Omaha with HH Azur.
Ward collected an impressive record during the 2021 Florida winter circuit aboard Contagious, Catoki, HH Azur, and Kasper van het Hellehof, securing a third-place finish with HH Azur in the FEI $72,900 Horse Flight Grand Prix CSI5* and a third-place finish aboard Contagious in the $214,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Insurance Grand Prix CSI4*.
Ward continued with a strong showing during the 2022 season securing two wins riding Contagious in the Turkish Airlines – CHIO Aachen CSIO5* Grand Prix as well as the RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia – Aachen CHIO CSIO5* Grand Prix.
Ward was a member of the NetJets U.S. Jumping Team at the 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark, with Contagious. He closed out the year by winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva with HH Azur.
In 2023, Ward won the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters with HH Azur, remaining the contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
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