Passing of former Equine Canada president David Esworthy

Canadian equestrian identity David Esworthy has been inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
Canadian equestrian identity David Esworthy has died at 86. © BC Sports Hall of Fame

Equine Canada’s former president and chairman David Esworthy has died at the age of 86 in Langley, British Columbia.

Esworthy, who died on December 19, left his mark on many facets of the equestrian world for nearly eight decades.

“We have lost one of our greatest champions,” said Equine Canada president Al Patterson. “Dave was instrumental in fostering participation in equestrian sport. His devotion and commitment, along with his continued passion for the animals themselves, was inspirational to many. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Esworthy’s commitment to equestrian sport was overwhelming. In 1968, he became the Chair of what was known at the time as Zone 7 under the National Equestrian Federation. It would turn out to be the first of many positions he would hold across a variety of equestrian organizations. He held that position, as well as being Vice-President of the Federation, until 1977. That was the same year he stepped aside as Director of the Canadian Horse Council, a position he had held since 1972.

Esworthy also assisted in the preparations for equestrian events at the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games, after chairing a committee comprised of members of the National Equestrian Federation and the Canadian Horse Council, which would eventually join to become the Canadian Equestrian Federation, now known as Equine Canada. In 1977, Esworthy became President of the newly-formed Canadian Equestrian Federation, holding the position for seven years, before serving an additional seven years as Chairman.

When the FEI established the Steward designation, Esworthy became an FEI Steward in all three Olympic disciplines. Concurrently, he followed his interest in show jumping and went from an Equine Canada Senior Status judge to FEI International Candidate to FEI judge. Esworthy was also one of about 15 individuals selected to go to Europe for an intensive seminar to become qualified to give courses and exams for international jumping judges and aspirants to the designation.

Through his time spent as a judge, steward and clinician, Esworthy had the chance to travel the world, taking part in events held in Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, to name a few. He was named the 2012 Jump Canada Official of the Year for his outstanding contribution and dedication to equestrian sport. That same year, he was also inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, nominated in the Builder category for his involvement with British Columbia’s equine community.

Through his lifelong involvement in equestrian sport, Esworthy had the opportunity to inspire so many. With a passion for horses that was nearly as infectious as his smile, he was always willing to serve the horse community in any way he could. He brought a whole new meaning to the word dedicated.

Esworthy is survived by his son Philip David Esworthy, and his granddaughter, Patricia. He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Patricia.

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