This diversified horseman was truly one of the founding fathers of U.S. dressage. Jack is perhaps best known for his seminal contributions to the young rider program. He was a member of the founding group of the North American Young Riders' Championships in the early 1980s. The foresight of this small group, that also included Hall of Fame members Jack Fritz, Andrew De Szinay, and Donald Thackeray, in promoting and prodding to establish the NAYRC, was unparalleled in its effect on the future of U.S. dressage. The roster of competitors from NAYRCs includes many former young riders who are competing or coaching successfully at the high performance level, such as Scott Hassler, Chris Hickey, Courtney King, and Kathleen Raine. Read more
General Burton was the first chairman of the USDF Advanced Young Rider Council, served in this position from 1988 to 1998, and was made Chairman Emeritus. He helped to develop the first dressage selection criteria for the NAYRC and ran the council meetings at the annual convention efficiently and in a business-like manner.
Jack has had a profound influence on dressage judging in the U.S. over many decades as an FEI "I" Judge, as well as serving as a technical delegate and an FEI Chief Steward. Jack Fritz said that General Burton was known for being the chief of international judges for many years. In the early 1980s, up and coming judges looked to him for guidance and mentorship. Some of today's judges who credit him as a guiding light for dressage judging include Lois Yukins, Sarah Geikie, Cindy Sydnor, and Kristi Wysocki. His reputation as an international judge earned him the position as moderator of the AHSA judges' forums with Wolfgang Niggli. Jack Burton also served as the FEI chief steward at the NAYRC at Tempel Farms for many years, and was the overall FEI Chief Steward at this year's NAYRC.
In a lot of ways, he was a behind-the-scenes promoter of dressage in the U.S. He was always encouraging competitors and competitions alike, frequently officiating in some form. Calm and reason were just some of his strengths.
General Burton's interest in judging and riding led him to publish his book, How to Ride a Winning Dressage Test in 1985 and The Judge's Guide to Step by Step Improvement in 1990. These books became very popular among competitors and judges.
Jack's dressage career includes many other outstanding accomplishments. He chaired USDF's founding meeting in 1973. He served as USET'S Executive Vice President from 1976 to 1985, as manager of the U.S. Olympic Team in 1976, and as chef d'equipe of the U.S. Dressage Team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He has been the Chairman of the Board of The Dressage Foundation since its inception in the early 1990s. In addition to all of this, he was licensed to judge dressage, dressage sport horse breeding, eventing, driving, hunters, and jumpers. With all of these achievements, I have not even mentioned what he has done for eventing in the U.S., for which he is legendary - or that he competed in the Olympic Games in both show jumping and eventing.
Jack has been a shining star in the sport of dressage in the U.S. for a very long time. I am honored to induct Major General Jonathon Burton into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame.
Samuel J. Barish