In 2013, the Zone 2 Hunter Committee developed the Jim Rice Memorial Award in honor of renowned horseman and show manager James A. Rice of Huntington, N.Y. On May 19 of this year we lost our dear friend Jim to cancer.
Jim began riding at age three, by age seven he had earned his Hunt colors and in 1967 became the first person to receive the U.S. Equestrian Team Gold Medal for accumulating 20 wins in USET Medal Program classes- now known as the U.S. Equestrian Federation Show Jumping Talent Search. As his career progressed, Jim worked with Jack Le Goff and the USET at the Gladstone, N.J., headquarters.
From Rice Farms in Old Brookville, NY, Jim was a professional rider, trainer and show manager. Over the years he has coached numerous students to top honors in zone and national equitation finals. However, Jim offered more than competitive training; Rice Farms began a therapeutic riding school through the Red Barn Riding Partners program. His wife Sharon shared that Jim ‘touched a lot of people’s lives during his career. He was a father figure to many of the girls during their teenage years…when they won’t listen to a parent.’ Caring and discipline helped many find their way.
The Long Island area’s equestrian presence grew in part thanks to Jim producing and managing 23 USEF-licensed horse shows. He also served as president of the Long Island Professional Horseman's Association and the Long Island High Score Awards Association. His commitment to our sport reached beyond local aide, Jim was instrumental on USHJA committees including the Show Managers Committee, the Show Standards Committee, the Zone 2 Committee and the National Hunter Committee, as well as the Hunter Zone Council and the National Mileage Task Force. In 2008 Jim received the USHJA President’s Distinguished Service Award and in 2011 was named the Hampton Classic Horseman of the Year.
The Jim Rice Award has been established to recognize the accomplishments and selection of a Zone 2 member for the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session.