John ‘JT’ Taylor of Mono, ON was named the recipient of the 2015 Jump Canada Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of his tireless dedication and commitment to furthering hunter/jumper sport in Canada.
For the past three decades, Taylor has been a fixture on Canada’s equestrian scene. However, his involvement with horses started long before that.
Growing up riding in what’s now modern-day Zimbabwe (formerly the British colony of Rhodesia), Taylor has always had a passion for horses. It was that passion that led him to move to England to obtain his British Horse Society certification. He eventually found his way to Canada, where he spent the next 15 years working for Dylex, one of Canada’s largest retailers.
In 1991, he met Barbara Mitchell, the woman who would become his wife a year later, and act as the catalyst for his return to equestrian pursuits. The pair managed Leitchcroft Farm and eventually opened their own training facility, CornerStone Farms, where they helped countless students realize their equestrian dreams.
In parallel with operating the riding school, Taylor worked to become a certified hunter and jumper judge, and even after CornerStone Farms sold in 2004, Taylor and Mitchell ran competitions under that banner, becoming two of the most respected dressage show organizers in Canada. Their immense talent at competition logistics led them to be named the management team for the dressage portion of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games, a role that carried tremendous responsibility.
Despite his busy professional life, Taylor has been volunteering his time and expertise toward the betterment of the equestrian industry in Canada for over 12 years. In 2003 he ran the Ontario Hunter Jumper Association’s (OHJA’s) Competitions Committee and became a member of the board. He also sat as Chair of the Jump Canada Competitions Committee for four years.
From 2009 to early 2015, Taylor held the position of Jump Canada Chair, before recently handing over the reins to Pamela Law. He will continue to sit on the Jump Canada Board for another year as Past Chair, ensuring a smooth transition.
“JT’s commitment and hard work have helped transform Jump Canada into a better organization,” said Law. “The entire Canadian equestrian community owes him their thanks for his many contributions and dedication. His tradition of consensus building and diplomacy is one I hope to continue.”
Remarkably, between organizing shows and volunteering his time to Jump Canada, Taylor still finds time to judge, spending up to 42 weeks a year evaluating some of North America’s top jumper talent.
For his remarkable dedication to the improvement of Jump Canada, and the equestrian community as a whole, Taylor is more than deserving of this year’s Jump Canada Volunteer of the Year award. He was presented with the award during the Jump Canada Hall of Fame Gala, held Nov. 8 at the Liberty Grand in Toronto, ON.
Taylor joins a long list of distinguished Jump Canada Volunteer of the Year Award recipients, including his wife, Mitchell and successor as Jump Canada Chair, Law. For a complete list of award recipients, click here.