Those wishing to honor the memory of Hunter Harrison, a major figure in show jumping who died earlier last month, are invited to a celebration of life Jan. 7 from 4-8 p.m. at his Double H Farm, 15050 Golden Point Road, Wellington, Fla. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the number of people in your party.
Known for his long partnership with show jumper McLain Ward in such horses as HH Carlos Z and HH Azur, the CEO of the CSX railway company had health issues for several years.
He took a medical leave of absence only days before he died of complications at age 73 in Wellington, Fla. The company’s stock dropped nearly 10 percent on Dec. 15, the day after his leave was announced.
Known as a turnaround artist in the railroad industry, where he started at age 19 as a $1.50-an-hour rail car oiler for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway while attending Memphis State University, Hunter served as CEO of four major railroads including CP, a key show jumping sponsor and a backer of the National Horse Show. CP’s name is also on the world’s richest grand prix, the CP International at Spruce Meadows in Canada, with a purse of $3 million (Canadian).
Sharp and incisive, Hunter once said, “I’ve just always thought that if you can be frank, honest, candid, and also develop a reputation for that, people listen to you,”
Hunter’s involvement in the equestrian world went far beyond the horses with whom he was involved, many of which carried the HH prefix to their names. He was a member of Wellington Equestrian Partners, the group behind the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
While he loved show jumping, he also remained keenly aware of its problems and was never reluctant to speak his mind about it.
“Wherever you go with show jumping, people don’t get along. There’s wars and fights.” When that happens, he pointed out, “I don’t know who wins there; the horse damn sure doesn’t.”
McLain Ward had a close relationship with Hunter for decades.
“My family and I are very sad that we have lost a huge presence in our lives,” he said.
“Hunter was not only a wonderful supporter of my career, but also a guiding force in everything we did. I will miss him dearly, and my thoughts are with his family in this difficult time.”
He is survived by his wife, Jeannie and daughters Elizabeth Julo and Cayce Judge, who is married to show jumper Quentin Judge.