Show Jumping Legend Gem Twist Euthanatized at 27

Gem Twist, a legend of the show jumping circuit, was euthanatized Saturday, Nov. 18. According to a U.S. Equestrian Federation press release, the decision was made to euthanatize hm after he sustained a pulled muscle that rendered him unable to stand. The 27-year-old gelding died at the site of his birth, at the Chapot family farm in New Jersey.

The following biography is provided courtesy of The Show Jumping Hall of Fame, which inducted Gem Twist in 2002.

Gem Twist, owned by Michael Golden, was bred and trained by Show Jumping Hall of Famer Frank Chapot and ridden by Greg Best, Leslie Howard and Laura Chapot.

Formally retired at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 1997, Gem has an incredible list of victories as long as that of any horse. He is the only horse to win three American Grandprix Association Horse of the Year titles. In addition to nine years' worth of grand prix wins, Gem earned two Silver Medals at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and was named "World's Best Horse" at the World Equestrian Games at Stockholm, Sweden, in 1990. Twist also accumulated more than $800,000 in prize money and attracted purchase offers of $2.5 million.

Gem Twist won the American Grandprix Association's championship with three different riders: Best in 1987, Howard in 1993, and Chapot in 1995.

One of the early milestones that showed Gem Twist's unbelievable talent was his win in the 1985 USET Talent Derby in Hamilton, MA, at the age of six. This first prestigious victory, with Greg Best in the saddle, set the stage for future stardom. In 1987, Gem carried Best to wins in his first two Grand Prix events--the Grand Prix of Tampa and the Grand Prix of Florida. That year, Gem captured AGA Horse of the Year honors and Best won Rookie of the Year. That year also included a team Silver Medal at the Pan American Games.

The highpoint in the partnership between Best and Gem Twist came when the pair represented the United States at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, where they came away with team and individual Silver Medals.

Due to Best's shoulder injury in 1992, Leslie Burr Howard became Gem's rider. Howard continued as Gem's rider for two more years winning many prestigious competitions including Gem's second AGA Championship and third AGA Horse of the Year award.

Laura Chapot took over the reins in 1995. That year Laura and Gem won the World Cup class at the $100,000 Autumn Classic, helping to propel the young rider to Budweiser Rookie of the Year honors. Laura also rode Gem to his third win in the Budweiser American Grandprix Association Championships.

In the 1995-1996 season, Gem and Chapot won three World Cup qualifying classes and placed well at several other competitions. Their win in the final World Cup class at Tampa was over the largest starting field ever with 80 horses.

This clinched Laura the World Cup USA East League Championship and was a fitting win at the close of Gem's career at the site of his first Grand Prix win with Best nine years ealier.

For more information on the Show Jumping Hall of Fame see  

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