Tryon says goodbye to fellow horseman, Bill Steinkraus

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

TRYON – He was part of the US Olympic Equestrian team that trained in Tryon for the 1956 games. William (Bill) Steinkraus passed away on Nov. 29, 2017 at the age of 92.  

Steinkraus was born in Cleveland, Ohio and trained with such noted horsemen as Olympic coach and US Cavalry instructor Gordon Wright and with Morton W. “Cappy” Smith. Steinkraus was among the last US Cavalry troops to train on horseback and served with the 124th Cavalry Regiment from 1943–1945 in Burma during WWII.  

After the war, he graduated from Yale in 1949 and joined the Olympic team in 1952. Steinkraus is recognized as the first US team member to win an individual gold medal in an Olympic equestrian competition.  

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Steinkraus trained in Tryon in 1956 with Frank Chapot, Charles Dennehy, Jr. and Hugh Wiley. He continued riding for the US team in a total of five Olympic games through 1972. In addition to the gold medal, he won two silver medals and a bronze medal in team jumping. 

In addition to cavalry, Steinkraus’ riding career included both hunter/jumper and saddle seat. His awards include ASPCA Maclay Cup in Hunter Seat Equitation and the Good Hands Finals in Saddle Seat Equitation at the National Horse Show. Steinkraus authored several equestrian books, served as an Olympic judge, as both president and chairman of the US Equestrian Team and as an honorary member of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Bureau. 

The Tryon equine community will mourn the loss of this great horseman.