Glorious Gem Twist Euthanized


It is the horse that binds all equestrians, and it is with sadness that the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) announced the passing of one of the country’s most admired competition horses that not only inspired countless fans of show jumping, but left a legacy for generations to come. Gem Twist, highly-regarded as one of the world’s best show jumpers, was euthanized on Saturday, Nov. 18, due to “infirmities of old age.” Gem Twist, who was bred by Frank Chapot, was 27 years old.
In 1987, Gem Twist was ridden by veteran show jumper Greg Best to a Sslver-medal team victory at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, In. That year, the pair also took the title of American Grandprix Association’s champion. In his long career, Gem Twist carried three riders in total to the title–Best in 1987, Leslie Burr Howard in 1993, and Laura Chapot in 1995.
The year following his first Pan American medal, Gem Twist shone at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, where Best again rode the gelding. The pairing would bring home two Olympic medals for their efforts–Individual and Team Silver medals. At the inaugural World Equestrian Games held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1990, Gem Twist was honored with the “Best Horse in the World” award, jumping clear rounds with all four of his riders.
“He was like a pal that took me everywhere first class,” Frank Chapot says. “You don’t get many pals like that. He never let me down.”
The decision was made to euthanize the American Thoroughbred after he had sustained a pulled muscle, rendering him unable to stand. Gem Twist was cremated, and the Chapot family and longtime owner Michael Golden shared his ashes.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


  1. Back in 1980 to 1982 I lived at Chado Farms, as my then-husband worked there. Condolences to Mary, Wendy & Laura since Frank passed, and to all the horses I knew then who I am sure have passed on.


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