Alan Harvey Chesler, 82, passed away on January 2, 2024 in Wellington, Florida. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Chesler was a hard-working, gregarious businessman who owned an investment fund in the 1960s and was the co-owner of Bob’s Barricades for over 45 years, the largest privately-owned traffic barrier company in the US. Following his own career in the show ring he bought and developed Sher-Al Farm in Orangeville, Ontario in 1996. The family’s horse training and selling business took them to many of the top horse shows in the world, from Sweden to Germany to Malaysia, to Spruce Meadows and the Winter Equestrian Festival. (Alan wrote an article about showing in Europe vs. North America in Horse Sport magazine in 2002.)

Daughters Frankie and Mikala rode on NAJYRC teams and Frankie was on the Canadian Nations’ Cup Team in New York City at 17. She campaigned some talented horses including Ranville and Ravenna Z, topping the Jump Canada Series with the latter in 2000. Sher-Al Farm’s show jumper Picolien Zeldenrust, purchased for Frankie in 2004, was the subject of a high-profile sale to Athina Onassis de Miranda and her then Brazilian husband Doda for a rumoured $2.5 million in 2007 ‒ a premium price in those days. Alan described the sale in a Toronto Star article: “There were tears. It was like having your dog die and winning the lottery on the same day.”

Alan was awarded the 2001 Jump Canada Volunteer of the Year Award and in 2003 was once again named the recipient based on his dedication to the success of the FEI Children’s Final held in Calgary, AB.

Alan’s daughter Frankie Chesler wrote in part on her Facebook page:

“The loss of my dad Alan Chesler has shattered my heart into a million pieces… He was always such a great influence and example in all our lives. He lived life to the fullest. He loved his family. He loved playing golf with his friends …

“He was always so generous to everyone. He had such a ‘helping’ heart. He could fix anything, he always saw the glass half full and not half empty. He had such an impact on so many lives, I hear from people daily how he changed their lives, helped them succeed, learn, grow, have confidence and more.

“He loved the horses so deeply, it was his true passion. He was such a great equestrian, he taught me everything and I loved every minute of it. I can’t believe I’m going to be riding again and not have him in the ring with me.”

Mark Samuel, the Vice President of the FEI and founder of Jump Canada, enjoyed working with Chesler when he was the Owner Representative on Jump Canada’s board.

“Alan was a tremendous sports enthusiast and organizer,” said Samuel. “His optimism was infectious, his love for his family and extended family was evident, his stories were always entertaining and his friendships were life-long. We have lost one of the builders and great characters of our community.”

Former Canadian Jumping Team member, chef d’équipe and coach Torchy Millar recalled, “He revitalized the Owners Committee by being more engaged. Alan loved to pick up the phone and talk to owners about the sport and the possibilities and what we could do better. He brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the owners committee.

“He was a profoundly kind man that was so nice to the entire horse community. His enthusiasm was infectious. There was never a time you weren’t happy to see Alan and spend some time with him.”

“Alan was instrumental in building the Young Horse Development Series by spearheading changes that made it more vital and appealing,” said top Canadian jumping athlete Beth Underhill. “The series encouraged owners by giving them a place to compete their horses according to age groups. It started with the 4/5 year-old division and then went to the 6/7 year-old division. Prior to that, young horses would just be jumping heights against older horses. It was a nice pathway to help horses develop and was well-supported and received.”

She added, “He was interested in Young Riders and the team events when Frankie was involved, and even when she wasn’t. He was so motivated to improve the sport. He would make the phone calls and find the sponsors. He wasn’t just there for the days when you were handing out the ribbons, he was there on a day-to-day basis helping make the sport better. He was enthusiastic and a kind and generous soul. Everyone saw his vision and wanted to be involved.

“He enjoyed people and horse people. He was a good friend to the sport, and to a lot of people.”

Jennifer Ward of Starting Gate Communications remarked, “He loved the sport almost more than any other person I have ever met. Even as an older competitor competing in the “Masters” division, his balance and sense of feel was still incredible. Outside of the ring, he was a fierce poker player and loved to golf, in addition to being devoted to his family and rescue dogs. A kind and generous man. Truly one of a kind.”

Alan is survived by his spouse Sherry Chesler; their daughters Robin Chesler, Frankie Chesler and Mikala (Marshall) Van Arnhem; and their son Andrew (Ellen) Chesler and four grandchildren. The family asks that contributions in Alan’s memory be made to a charity of your choice; a Celebration of Life will be held January 22nd at Wellington National Golf Club in Wellington, FL.