Equestrian Icon Frances Blunt Steinwedell Clears Her Last Jump | USET Foundation

Equestrian Icon Frances Blunt Steinwedell Clears Her Last Jump

Frances B. Steinwedell, a beloved figure in the world of show jumping, passed away on April 8, 2024, leaving behind a remarkable legacy. Born in 1933, Fran dedicated her life to equestrian sport, impacting riders, horses, and the community in profound ways.

A Devoted Supporter and Trailblazer

Fran’s journey began in Chicago, where she schooled, hunted, and showed horses during her junior years. Her passion for the sport led her to co-produce one of the first all-junior horse shows, earning her a certificate of honor from the Chicago Sun newspaper in 1946. Throughout her riding career, she consistently won many top, year-end, Amateur Owner Hunter awards.

As an owner of several top grand prix horses, Fran played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of talented riders. U.S. Olympic medalist Anne Kursinski and Fran’s daughter, Francie Steinwedell-Carvin, both benefited from her guidance and support. Francie, who won both the Medal and the Maclay Finals, went on to represent the U.S. in Europe and establish her own successful business.

Fran’s involvement extended to the West Coast where she and Francie rode at the Flintridge Riding Club. As both an active board member and President, she helped create one of the first FEI World Cup Qualifiers in the West, The Grand Prix of Flintridge. Fran was also a founding member of the American Grand Prix Association (AGA) and served on various boards, including the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA), The United States Equestrian Team (USET), and the USET Foundation. Her tireless devotion to the sport was well recognized when she was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2017.

Horses That Made History

Fran’s impact extended beyond mentoring riders. She owned horses that went on to represent the United States, including Livius, Starman, and Eros. Livius, one of the first syndicate-owned show jumping horses, achieved individual and team gold medals in the 1983 Pan American Games. Her most distinguished and notable horse was the Westphalian stallion Starman, inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2012. Starman helped the U.S. win the silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, and carried Kursinski to a tie for fourth individually. In 1991, Starman and Kursinski triumphed in the Grand Prix of Aachen, and Starman was named Show Jumping Horse of the Year by The Chronicle of the Horse in 1990. Also of note, Starman was the only horse to not only win a silver medal in the Olympics, but the following year was Regular Working Conformation Hunter Champion at The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in 1989.

Another syndicated horse that Fran owned was Eros. Eros, an Australian Thoroughbred, was the winner of the then-richest grand prix in the world, the Pulsar Grand Prix of Mexico, competed in the FEI Jumping World Cup Finals, the FEI World Equestrian Games, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games with Anne Kursinski where they won the team silver medal.

Other notable horses that represented the U.S. and were owned by Fran and ridden by Francie in FEI Jumping World Cup Finals or Nations Cups were Atlas, Sylvia, Charles R, Ness-Go, Laddidor, Moonstar, and Taunus.  

A Lifetime of Giving

Fran’s generosity knew no bounds. As a donating member of the USET Gold Medal Club which honored her unwavering support, she was the first person ever to reach 35 consecutive years in the club and went on to amass a 45-year record. She was a trustee of the USET and USET Foundation for 50 years. Her love for horses, riders, and the sport itself will forever resonate within the show jumping community.

She will be greatly missed by her surviving family members: sister, Carlene Blunt; children Bill, Jim, and Francie and their spouses; Steve Scott (the fourth Steinwedell) and his wife; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

In memory of Frances B. Steinwedell, let us celebrate her legacy — a legacy of passion, dedication, and the enduring spirit of equestrian excellence.