John Anderson made his debut on the Canadian Show Jumping Team in 1985 and was a member of the 4th-placed Canadian team at the 1986 World Championships, finishing 8th individually. He represented Canada at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and has enjoyed many grand prix wins in his busy career.
But it is as president of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, a major training and horse show facility on the site of his family’s Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB, where John shines as a visionary, improving the show experience and encouraging participation for riders of all ages and stages. His innovative new programs include the JC Anderson Medal, named for his late father, and the Rocky Mountain North American Championship. The latter, featuring a World Equestrian Games format, was such a success in 2019 that the Alberta Equestrian Federation and RMSJ will host the championship again in 2020 with an increased purse of $200,000.
Another new competition, the RMSJ Fall Classic in September, was a non-EC-sanctioned event with a provincial “Wild Rose” designation that offered a $275 flat rate show fee to allow more riders to attend and enjoy the world-class show facilities. “If we don’t build the sport at the bottom end it will fail at the top end,” John said in a recent Horse Sport interview. “I’m trying to develop the grass roots. I want kids to show and enjoy the sport. When you get the youngsters in they get a taste for it and hopefully they can be cultivated into our next team members.”
“Over the last number of years I’ve tried to make a difference in the sport of show jumping. And that’s my ongoing goal. I’ve been so lucky over the years to be able to compete and do this sport at such a high level. But there’s a new breed, a new era, a new group of people and riders that are going to come up and what I want to do is to keep that sport going and make it better. I’m working on a very big project right now that I hope to get rolling this year and into next year to really expand this park to make it bigger and better – more rings, more barns and more programs.”
Royal West, an ambitious indoor tournament run by John which enjoyed a five-year run in downtown Calgary, has been temporarily shelved, although John has plans to bring it back – possibly at RMSJ providing a double arena complex is constructed. That same indoor facility could also host a World Cup Final – another one of his other dreams. “I’d love to bring the World Cup Finals to Calgary. Canada has never hosted them before. That’s part of my ultimate plan on expanding the park.”