Horses Came First, Second, and Last

My Unapologetic Road to Eventing Gold

Jack Le Goff



With an astounding eighteen medals in eight international championships and team gold medals at the Olympic Games in 1976 and 1984, Jack Le Goff created the standard by which modern–day equestrian teams are measured. But Le Goff's techniques could be unforgiving–tough, brutal, and abrasive–earning him critics as well as converts. In this, his autobiography, Le Goff tells the whole story, from impoverished beginnings in Morocco, to the tragic death of his father, to his successes as a competitive equestrian. Readers will enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of high–level international equestrian sport, as well as an entire section devoted to Le Goff's much admired and extremely successful training philosophy. 

Additional Information

Author: Jack Le Goff

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 288

Illustrations: 55 black & white photos

ISBN: 9781570768279

By Jack Le Goff

Born in France in 1931, Jack Le Goff was best known as the coach of the American three-day eventing team from 1970 to 1984, where he led the US team to multiple championships winning 18 international medals, including several in the Olympics, most notably team gold and individual silver medals in Los Angeles in 1984. Jack was the son of a cavalry officer and started out as a steeplechase jockey. At the age of seventeen, after the death of his father, Le Goff joined the military and began riding at the French national riding academy, the Cadre Noir. Le Goff competed in two Olympic Games, 1960 and 1964 winning a team bronze in Rome in 1960. He went on to fight in the Algerian War and upon his return he competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Shortly after, Le Goff became the first civilian coach of the French eventing team where he led them to an individual gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics and the 1967 and 1968 European Junior Championships.

After retiring as coach in 1984, he served as a consultant to the United States Equestrian Team (USET) for new rider development, director of the USET Training Center and coached the Canadian national team. He was also an FEI judge, committee member and Olympic appeals judge.

Jack passed in 2009. He is survived by his three children with Pauline Kralicek, two children with Marie-Madeleine Giraud, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren along with his long-time companion Susan Smith.

UnTacked Magazine Says:

“Rich with anecdotes of stars before they were stars, photos of horses and riders from a bygone era, and Le Goff’s unparalleled perspective
on the sport…enlightening and valuable.”

Equine Journal Says:

“A rare treasure...Le Goff leaves nothing out and adds a splash of humor.”