Samstag, April 09, 2005

Honorable Mention: Freddy Wettach, Jr. in the ShowJumping Hall of Fame

Fred Wettach Jr.The Show Jumping Hall of Fame conducted its annual induction ceremonies during the intermission at the Budweiser American Invitational on Saturday, April 2, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. When Inductee 55 was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, he joined 54 previous inductees whose contributions to the sport set them apart and earned them the honor of enshrinement in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. Among them, mentioned in the article by the US Equestrian Federation, Fred "Freddy" Wettach, Jr., Inductee of 1998. For this WettachBlog an opportunity to look at: Who was Freddy Wettach (+1976)?

Fred "Freddy" Wettach Jr. was born into a family of horsemen. His father, Fred Sr., owned and operated a well-known riding academy in New York City before World War I, and Freddy was expected to follow in his father's footsteps. Freddy started young and developed into a well-rounded horseman, showing hunters and jumpers, riding a few races and playing a bit of polo. His real passion, however, was the high jump, which in that era was the stellar attraction of any horse show.

Fred Wettach Jr. jumping highIn the 1920s Fred Sr. bought some polo prospects to finish and sell. Among them was a bald-faced Irish-bred gelding that looked more like a jumper to Freddy. He quickly found that King's Own could jump anything and he began campaigning him as a high jumper with conspicuous success. Before long Wettach was being urged to make an attempt at Heatherbloom's record of 8' 2", which had stood since 1902, and he found the challenge irresistible.

Wettach gathered witnesses and a photographer, eased the bar up to a height of 8' 3-1/2" and jumped it with room to spare. Technically the record was not official, not having been made in a sanctioned competition, but the same thing was true of Heatherbloom's mark; in any case 8' 3-1/2" is still generally acknowledged to be the highest anyone has ever jumped on horseback.

By 1931 Wettach had held no fewer than five different high-jump records-indoor and outdoor, tied rails and loose rails -- all with horses he had trained and ridden. But high jump was not the only thing at which Freddy excelled. As the popularity of high jumping began to wane in the 1930s, he turned more and more to hunters, including his celebrated grey mare, Plymouth Rock, who showed, as all his horses had done, under the stable name of Trillora Farm, Shrewsbury, NJ.

After World War II some of his greatest show-ring successes were recorded with horses he rode for Liz Whitney's Llangollen Farm of Upperville, VA, among them Dase and Safety Call, winners at all the major shows including Devon (PA) and New York's National Horse Show.

Celebrated for his immaculate turn-out, whether on horse or on foot, Freddy competed well into his fifties. After his retirement he lived in Delray Beach, FL, where he died in 1976.
[ Read the article at US Equestrian Federation ] - [ Source for Fred Wettach Jr. at ]

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Anonymous Anonym said...

Fred Wettach is my great-great uncle. His family was from Long Island New York.

8:55 AM  

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