Wellington, Fla. – June 13, 2019 – Robert “Rob” Gage passed away in his Fallbrook, California home on June 12, 2019. The three-time World Cup Grand Prix rider played an instrumental role in the equestrian community as a judge, trainer and course designer, leaving many equestrians around the world saddened by his death.
Gage got his start in the industry in California under the tutelage of Show Jumping Hall of Fame Trainer Jimmy Williams. Training alongside historic riders Susie Hutchinson, Hap Hansen and Robert Ridland, Gage gained the confidence and knowledge he needed to become one of the most successful American riders of all time.
The decorated rider accumulated many titles throughout his career. Competing in both the United States and Europe, Gage became known as a speed demon in the Grand Prix ring throughout show jumping across the world. Gage rode many notable horses such as Largo, Furst Z and Sage to record times as he galloped at lightning speed to even the most challenging of obstacles. In 1987 Gage piloted Magnolia to win the Grand Prix of Del Mar. In 1989 he rode Dutch Chocolate to win the Grand Prix of Reno and the San Francisco Invitational. These wins represent a small portion of the numerous top placings Gage has earned in Grand Prixs across the country.
The continued success of Gage led him to be named the American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Rider of the year in back-to-back years, also winning the West Coast Rider of the Year award a total of four times throughout his career. Gage maintained his ranking as the number 1 Grand Prix rider in the United States for 80 consecutive weeks and went on to win the Prestigious Rolex Crown of Excellence in consecutive years for being the Grand Prix rider with the most wins in the country.
As a trainer, Gage coached his students to Young Riders teams across 4 zones, win USET Final championships and over 30 wins in varying Equitation Medal Finals. Gage was proud to have many of his students go on to become professionals in the sport, carrying on their passion for horses and desire to improve to the next generation of riders.
In 1986 Gage was featured in the movie “Lightning the White Stallion,” with Mickey Rooney. Playing himself, the American drama film gave Gage fame as a coach in addition to his fame as a rider.
Furthering his reach within the community, Gage co-founded Judge My Ride (JRM), a website that allowed equestrians from across the world to submit their photos and videos and receive feedback from judges, Grand Prix riders and top trainers. As Vice President of the popular website, Gage gave his feedback to thousands of individuals ranging from beginners to Olympic Show Jumping equestrians. Judge My Ride posted to Instagram on Wednesday, announcing Gage’s death and asking that people share their memories and photos with the JRM family.
In the past few years, Gage continued his work as a judge, coach and clinician. He traveled throughout the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, and abroad to New Zealand, Costa Rica, South Korea, Mexico, and Venezuela to host clinics and inspire riders. Gage also served as the Chef d’Equipe for the Venezuelan Olympic Show Jumping Team.
Gage will be missed by many from the equestrian community and beyond. As of the printing of this release, no details about memorial arrangements are known.