Richard Spooner participated in every FEI World Cup Final between 2002 and 2012, an impressive record for the California-based rider who has long been known as “The Master of Faster.” A regular member of US Nations Cup Teams and a three-time AGA Grand Prix Rider of the Year, Spooner belongs to an elite group of riders who have garnered lifetime prize money earnings in excess of $5 million dollars.

Yes, he’s one of the United States’ most decorated riders. But he’s also one of the friendliest, and one of the most down-to-earth faces in the sport. In 2013, Spooner moved back to his native California after spending two years based in France. From his home in Agua Dulce, California, he enjoys doing the hands-on work of running an active horse farm, spending time with his family, and caring for his extraordinary mounts that include the now-retired Robinson, and the magnificent, actively competing stallion Cristallo.

1. He likes scuba driving, (as well as boating and waterskiing,) because you can’t be thinking about other issues in your life while you’re 100-feet underwater.

2. His favorite movie is Lawrence of Arabia.

3. He likes to garden and do work around his farm.

4. As he gets older, he tries to increase time spent with his family.

5. The main reason he rides is simply to be around horses. The competitive side of it is just a by-product of that.

6. He shoes his own horses.

7. Among his many hobbies, he enjoys making things out of metal.

8. He really likes doing electrical work, running lines, circuit breakers and electrical boxes and wiring things.

9. He has a 100-horsepower backhoe and just loves spending time on his tractor.

10. When he asked his wife, “What was the craziest thing I have ever done?” she smiled and said, “Moved to France.”

This article was originally published in Horse & Style Magazine April/May 2015. To read the entire issue online, visit this link.