Horses have taught Boeing Chief Executive Officer W. James McNerney something about business: how to “be patient.”
He and his wife, Haity, took in the 54th annual Washington International Horse Show on Saturday night for the $100,000 president’s cup grand prix.
Sponsored by Boeing for three years, the six-day show featuring junior and seasoned riders is one of the most prestigious equestrian events in the world. U.S. Olympian Reed Kessler, 18, and her mare Cylana took the top prize.
Bruce Springsteen’s daughter, Jessica, riding her gelding, Vindicat W., placed 10th. Actor Robert Duvall, an avid horseman, watched from the stands.
In the Fidelity Investments Club, McNerney dined on beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes with Gerry Parsky, a former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and chairman of Aurora Capital, where he oversees $2 billion in assets.
His wife, Robin Parsky, a trustee of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation, presented Kessler with her award. They were joined by Duberstein Group CEO Kenneth Duberstein and his wife, Jacqueline.
McNerney’s horse Zafira competed in the speed classes; Parsky’s Blue Angel is currently competing in Europe.
In the Acela Club, Belgian Ambassador Jan Matthysen and his wife, Agnes, were following Belgian twin riders Olivier and Nicola Philippaerts.
Other expats in the house included British Olympian Nick Skelton and Australian horse whisperer Guy McLean.
Backstage in the stables, McLean reflected on equine virtues. Horses “don’t care about your bank balance,” he said. “Anyone can be a king on top of a horse. You have to earn their respect.”
Boeing assisted with the distribution of as many as 5,000 tickets to the show made available through the military tickets program.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining and Jeremy Gerard on theater.