Private Pilot Comes in for Perfect Landing
Dr. Fred McCashin and Private Pilot made a perfect three-point landing at Pinehurst Dressage, capturing first place in a First Level Test 1 class. By an interesting confluence of events, the judge who awarded McCashin first place, Major General Jonathan R. Burton, was a contemporary of the late Arthur McCashin, Fred's father.
Arthur McCashin and Major General Burton both rode on United States Equestrian Teams in different years and in different disciplines. The late Arthur McCashin was a member of the Bronze medal jumping team at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games held in Helsinki, Finland. Bill Steinkraus (who rode Hollandia) and Col. John Russell (who rode Democrat, a horse owned by Steinkraus) were the two other members of the team. Arthur McCashin, who passed away in 1988, was the first riding Captain of the United States Equestrian Team, which was formed in 1950. After his show-jumping career, McCashin went on to become a well-known course designer. He designed courses at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden and the Washington International Show in Washington, DC.
Major General Burton was a member of the United States Equestrian Military 3-Day Team at the 1956 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Burton was the United States 3-Day Eventing champion in 1947 and the Individual Military Champion in show jumping at the National Horse Show the same year. After 33 years in the U.S. Army he retired as a Major General. While in the army, Burton was responsible for the care of captured German horses during World War II.
"When I arrived by ship in New Jersey with the horses, guess who was there to meet me?," Burton asked Dr. Fred McCashin the day of the Pinehurst Horse Show. "Your father met the ship. He wanted to know what kind of horses I had brought back."
Like Father, Like Son
Fred McCashin was 11 years old when his father was on the Olympic Team. Fred remembers that the stands in Helsinki weren't very full when his father rode Miss Budweiser, a horse loaned to the team by Anheuser Bush. The team went to Germany first to give the horses some experience with fences of more scope and size. Miss Budweiser was not a seasoned jumper. "Only one of the horses (Democrat) had some experience. They (the team) all had wrecks in Germany. Miss Budweiser suffered some serious trauma coming down to big fences," says McCashin.
Fred grew up riding at the McCashin farm, a former polo club, in Burnt Mills, N.J. "Dad taught me about competitive riding and Mom (Helen) taught me about foxhunting," says McCashin. "Dad taught me how to break young two-year-olds. He used to buy and sell horses and I was the jockey who got to ride them. Some went to shows and some went on to race. My mother was a Master of Foxhounds in Fairfield County, Conn., before she married and then she rode with the Essex Hunt (N.J.)."
Fred's mother was also District Commissioner of Pony Club in Somerset County, NJ so Fred was active in Pony Club.
Fred's father was a pilot for Colonial Airlines during World War II. The elder McCashin flew military supplies for the armed forces. After the war, he operated a sea-plane business teaching people to fly. He taught Fred to fly and Fred got his pilot's license in 1968.
When Fred graduated from college, he had a choice to make. "I had a super horse. My father told me that winning a gold medal in Tokyo and a dime would buy me a cup of coffee. Things were different then. Sports were not as commercialized. So I decided to go to Veterinary School."
McCashin opened his equine practice on Youngs Road in Southern Pines in 1977. Because of his association with the United States Equestrian Team, he has been a team veterinarian at numerous Pan Am Games. McCashin is also an FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) veterinarian. He covers six to seven FEI competitions a year. Dr. McCashin also organized and managed the North Carolina Veterinary Equine Research Center (now the N.C. State Equine Health Center) in Vass from 1971-1977.
Not on Autopilot
Dr. McCashin's experience with horses has come to bear with the training of Private Pilot. McCashin purchased the 11-year-old grey gelding nine years ago from a woman who had bought the horse at the New Holland, Pa., sale.
"I think he (Private Pilot) had a mental problem (and that is why he was at a killer sale) which is why we're at First level at the age of 11."
Private Pilot and McCashin were third out of 50 competitors in the American Eventing Championships in 2006 but now they are concentrating on Dressage.
"My coach, Nanci Lindroth, has us working on leg yielding and lengthening. The horse needs more impulsion," says McCashin.
Another term for a perfect three-point landing in flyer's lingo is "grease it on." According to McCashin, when you grease it on, you barely feel the plane touch the ground. It is similar to that split second of an extended trot when all four hooves are off the ground. Look for Private Pilot to "grease it on" in the future.
For full results, sportingservices.net/shows
Patrica Smith can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
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