Legendary giant of the railroad industry and staunch supporter of equestrian sport Hunter Harrison died on Dec. 16th at the age of 73 in Wellington, FL, due to “unexpectedly severe complications” from an undisclosed illness.
Health troubles had forced Harrison, former Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway CEO, to take a leave from the Jacksonville, FL-based CSX Corp on Thursday, Dec. 14th, where he had been CEO since January of 2017.
An avid horseman and owner and breeder of show jumpers at his Double H Farm based in Connecticut and Florida, he had been instrumental in obtaining the sponsorship of the rich CN and CP grand prix classes at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB, and more recently the CP Million at HITS Saugerties. “CP is proud of its partnership with Spruce Meadows and the world-class events they deliver in our home city and province,” said Harrison at the 2016 Masters while he was still CEO of CP.
Double H Farm was established in 2002, originally as a show stable for Harrison’s daughter, Cayce. The facility quickly developed from a hobby to a well-respected equestrian business which included breeding, buying and selling horses, and sponsorship of international show jumpers. Quentin Judge, who is married to Cayce, runs the farm programs. Many good jumpers bear the HH prefix, including the talented World Cup Final winner HH Azur, HH Callas and HH Carlos Z (all ridden by McLain Ward), HH Rebozo, ridden by Rodrigo Pessoa at the 2012 London Olympics and 2010 WEG, and many others. Harrison also owned the great mare Sapphire when she was ridden by Ward to a gold medal at the Athens Olympics. Harrison took a brief break from railroading in 2010 to concentrate on breeding and training horses and spend more time with his wife, Jeannie. He was enticed out of retirement to take the job at Calgary-based CP in 2012. He put his 87-acre Connecticut farm up for sale in 2014, and his opulent 33.5-acre Palm Beach farm was listed for $45 million at the end of 2016.
Harrison, who was born in Memphis, Tennessee, was chairman of the National Horse Show Association of America, served as a special liaison between horse show management and the North American Riders Group, and was an advisor and/or sponsor of Spruce Meadows, National Horse Show, Global Champions Tour, American Gold Cup, and the Winter Equestrian Festival.
No details regarding a service have been released at this time.