Captain Jack Fritz died today, and what makes me the saddest is that most of the thousands of people who are involved with eventing in the USA won`t even know who he was, or what he did, or that they might not even be doing what they do if Jack hadn`t helped create this sport from its bootstraps, starting more than fifty years ago. When the US Combined Training Association (Now called the US Eventing Association) was founded in 1959, Jack was there. Over the subsequent fifty years, it was Jack, more than any other single person, who was responsible for the institutional memory of our sport. If anyone had any question, about any matter, the way to get the right answer was, “Ask Jack” And he always knew.
Jack was all things to all people. He was a judge, a technical delegate, an officer of most of the horse associations in America, and the ultimate volunteer. He wasn`t “easy”, and he was so toweringly intelligent that he suffered fools (and teenagers) only marginally, but, as the current saying goes, Jack “always had your back.”
I`ve sat through hundreds of meetings with Jack. Sometimes he was patient, sometimes irascible, but always, always, he was there. Except for General Jack Burton, he`s the end of an era. Jack could be fussy, opinionated, professorial, even pedantic, but he was usually right. He`s probably organizing St Peter`s administration of heaven as we speak. No one I know is more qualified to do so.