Chris Kappler grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and started riding with his mother and sister at the age of 9. He began his show career training with Alex Jayne. Chris was then discovered by legendary trainer George Morris and continued his career at Hunterdon, Morris’s famous stable in Pittstown NJ. After earning top Equitation results including 2nd in the USEF Medal Finals, 3rd in the ASPCA Maclay Finals, and 2nd in the USET Talent Search Finals, he continued his successful career in national and international Grand Prixs and ultimately at the championship level. He was named Midwest Rider of the Year in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991. In 1989, he received the Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Trophy, awarded to the young rider who “exemplifies outstanding sportsmanship and horsemanship.” Chris is the winner of more than 100 Grand Prixs. His major Grand Prix wins include 3 American Invitational wins, 3 American Gold Cup wins, and the American Grand Prix (AGA) Championship. At the Pan American games in 2003 Kappler won the team Gold and individual Silver medal with Royal Kaliber. That same year, Kappler was named Equestrian of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation. In 2004 Chris and Royal won two medals, team gold and individual silver, at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. In addition to his Olympic partner Royal Kaliber, some of the successful horses he has ridden and trained include Seven Wonder, Concorde, Zanzibar, Primeur 58, Rafiki, Profox, VDL Maseratie and VDL Oranta.
Chris now focuses on training horses and riders at his show stable in Pittstown, NJ. He trains riders who are passionate about developing their riding and their horses according to the classical principles that he learned from George. His students have successfully represented the USA in Nations Cup competition, won medals at North American Junior/Young Rider Championships, and earned many Grand Prix victories. Chris is also proud of his success training many fiercely competitive adult riders, and enjoys working with junior riders who aspire not only to compete at a high level but also to learn the classical training principles and horsemanship that he strongly believes in. His success in finding special horses, and the success that comes from creating the perfect match between horse and rider, is another great source of pride for Chris.
Chris is a founder and board member of the North American Riders Group. He is currently a member of the USEF Board of Directors, has been a member of numerous USEF committees, including the Eligible Athletes committee, and has served as the USEF athlete representative to the United States Olympic Committee. He was a US Team Selector for the 2015 Pan American games as well as for the 2016 Olympic Games.