"Would I have been a rider without the influence of my parents? I honestly don't know," says top show jumper Jonathon Millar.
Cheryl Meisner can partly thank her first horse and a bit of 'blind' luck for her choice of career.
Paralympian Ashley Gowanlock and team coach Andrea Taylor
A glance at the results of the low adult jumper division at the Winter Equestrian Festival and amateur jumper classes at major Ontario tournaments shows Canadian rider Nancy Benson peppered among the top placings. This busy Ottawa native manages a hectic career as a real estate agent buying and selling 'unique urban properties' interspersed with traveling a daunting number of miles every week to train and show her horses.
When Hawley Bennett-Awad stood on the podium in Kentucky last October, enjoying the glory of a World Championship silver medal with her teammates, there were two other people who shared the moment along with her.
Hickstead, an Olympic champion with lifetime earnings of over $3 million who is ranked the number-one show jumper in the world by the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses, had a rather pedestrian beginning.
Behind every top competitor is a mentor, sponsor or supporter who was instrumental in helping that rider along the path to success. Our Horse Tales series The Difference Makers profiles Canada's 2010 WEG team members and the people who inspired them to reach the top of their sport.
The Canadian show jumper took a chance on a job in a distant land and found love, adventure - and awesome weather.