Endurance Canada takes great pride in recognizing Joan Harris for all she has done for the sport of endurance in Canada. For her dedication, Harris has been named as recipient of the Endurance Canada Hall Of Fame Award.
The list of Harris’ endurance related accomplishments could wrap around a trail loop, but she is not content to retire and reflect on her past accomplishments. She remains an active member of the local saddle club near her home in Jarvie, Alberta. She has quite literally lost track of the number rides she has organized and managed, some of them FEI, in the past 30 years. Harris has also held every board of director’s position in her provincial organization, the Endurance Riders of Alberta.
At present she is a member and a committee member of Endurance Canada, and she is an FEI Endurance Steward. Her resume of her international involvement in the capacity as rider, official and crew is extensive.
Harris has held three FEI rides in a row, and she has a three year plan for more rides including FEI rides and fundraising rides for them. No small task on a tight budget, a retirement income, and quite often a task force of one—herself. When her trail system needs to be cleared and marked on horseback which she has often done on her own, she has been known to pack a chainsaw on her horse and spend a whole day clearing trail.
Yet Harris still makes time to ride. Her lifetime mileage is close to 6800 competitive miles and Harris is looking forward to participating in 100 mile rides this coming summer and next year, so she will have her 7000 mile award buckle in time for her 70th birthday.
“It is a great honor to be recognized this way for my 30th anniversary of being involved with endurance riding,” said Harris. “I love every aspect of this sport from grassroots to podium. It has been my life.”
Harris’ mixture of modern foresight, blended with experience and her enthusiasm to assist anyone from first time rider to first time FEI rider has been an encouragement to many endurance members.
“Joan Harris has been hugely valuable to the sport of Endurance in Canada; one might almost say pivotal,” said Endurance Canada Committee chair, Terre O’Brennan. “In addition to her many years of service at the domestic level—managing events for her local Alberta riders—she has been at the very forefront of promoting international level competition. Her commitment to managing FEI-sanctioned events where both athletes and officials can qualify and get experience has been crucial to our efforts to compete on the World stage.”
And while she has no plans to retire just yet the Hall of Fame would not be complete without Harris’ name in it.