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Show Jumping Legend Gem Twist Euthanized


Lexington, KY—It is the horse that binds all equestrians, and it is with sadness that the United States Equestrian Federation® (USEF) announces 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, November 18, due to “infirmities of old age.” Gem Twist was 27 years old.


The gray gelding was bred at Chado Farms in Neshanic Station, NJ, by Frank Chapot and his family. The American Thoroughbred’s sire was Good Twist and his dam was Coldly Noble, by Noble Jay. The stunning mount rose to worldwide fame in the 1980s through a magnificent series of now-history-making performances.


In 1987, Gem Twist was ridden by veteran show jumper Greg Best to a Silver-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.


Throughout the 1990s, Gem Twist continued to compete, and in 1997, he was retired during a touching farewell staged at the National Horse Show in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. He lived out his final years with the Chapot family at their farm in New Jersey. The mount was inducted in the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2002.


“He was like a pal that took me everywhere first class,” said Frank Chapot. “You don’t get many pals like that. He never let me down.”


The decision was made on Saturday to euthanize the 27-year-old 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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