Mason Phelps, Jr. is a lifelong horseman who has participated in many aspects of the equestrian world including as a rider/trainer, event manager, governance leader, charity organizer, and multi-media executive.
Phelps was a rider and trainer in his early years, competing in eventing and the hunter/jumper ranks. He earned national and international recognition as an equestrian athlete. In 1968, Phelps was named Alternate to the U.S. Three Day Team that competed in the Mexico City Olympic Games. That same year, he was named the U.S. Combined Training Association’s Rider of the Year. Phelps began his career as a trainer in 1972, working for two years as an Assistant Trainer to the legendary Jimmy Williams at Flintridge Riding Club in Pasadena, California. Phelps later developed his own training stable for hunter/jumpers, working with riders on both the east and west coast until his retirement from competition in the late 1990s.
While still in his twenties, Phelps expanded his role in the horse world to include event manager. In 1970, Phelps created and produced the “AA Rated Xmas Show” in San Antonio, which is now a popular annual event and an integral part of the Texas equestrian community. In 1976, Phelps founded, produced, and managed the first International Jumping Derby in Newport, Rhode Island, which drew top athletes and was a major show on the jumping circuit through 1988. In 1977, Phelps founded and created the New England Horsemen’s Association Hunt Seat Medal, which is still a popular event today, held in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Phelps produced a driving event for the Newport Preservation Society in Newport, Rhode Island. The event was held over three days and included as many as 16 four-in-hand carriages that drove to Newport mansions for lunches, teas, and dinners; classic Newport stables that had ceased operation were opened for the event. In the early 1990s at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, Phelps created innovative classes including the first equitation class for previous winners of the Maclay or the Medal Finals; an equitation class for riders who had represented the U.S. in an Olympic Games, Pan American Games or a Nations’ Cup; and the first hunter classic for the American Hunter Jumper Foundation, which was held in the grand prix Internationale Arena. Currently, Phelps is Chairman of the National Horse Show of America Ltd.
Phelps has also played an important role in horse sport governance, primarily in the 1980s. He was Chairman of Zone I for the former American Horse Shows Association (AHSA, now USEF), and was on the boards of both the AHSA and the USET. Phelps also served as president of the New England Horseman’s Council from 1985 through 1988.
As a philanthropist, Phelps has been instrumental in numerous charity and fundraising events in the equestrian world. In the 1980s, Phelps produced the Newport Roundup in Newport, Rhode Island, as a charity event for equestrians, with topnotch entertainment that included Sleepy LeBeef, Asleep at the Wheel, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Tammy Wynett. In 1996, Phelps was one of the founders of the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF, formerly the Equestrian AIDS Foundation), a fundraising and charitable organization for equestrians in need. In 1998, Phelps produced the first Denim and Diamonds, a benefit party for the United States Equestrian Team (USET), and presented the popular event again in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2004.
Currently, Phelps is involved in equestrian media. In 2001, he founded Phelps Media Group, Inc. International, an equestrian public relations firm, and counts as clients the USET Foundation and the National Horse Show, as well as many top-tier equestrian events, organizations, companies, athletes, and trainers. In 2006, he founded PhelpsSports.com, an equestrian news website. In addition to bringing international equestrian coverage to subscribers of the website, PhelpsSports.com has also sponsored numerous events including the PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Loxahatchee, Florida; Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan; and the Junior/Amateur Grand Prix at the Syracuse Sport Horse Invitational in Syracuse, New York. Representatives of PhelpsSports.com have been credentialed for top international events around the world including the World Cup Finals for dressage and show jumping, and all three equestrian sports at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
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