Horse world farewells Greg Greenough: “A gentleman, a role model and an inspiration”

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James Gregory “Greg” Greenough (1930-2022).
James Gregory “Greg” Greenough (1930-2022). © Jump Canada Hall of Fame

Renowned Canadian equestrian figure James Gregory “Greg” Greenough has died at the age of 91.

A member of the Jump Canada Hall of Fame, and the Alberta and Edmonton Sports Halls of Fame, Greenough  died on February 22.

While many will remember him for his career in business, the equestrian community fondly remembers Greenough as a supportive father to his daughter, Gail Greenough, and as a staunch supporter of Canadian show jumping. Greg fully supported Gail’s riding career and owned Mr. T, the horse she made history with by becoming the first woman and only North American to win the World Championships in Aachen, Germany, in 1986.

Born on July 29, 1930, Greenough grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan. He was passionate about hockey and played for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the Regina Pats, forgoing a professional hockey career with the Montreal Canadiens for a career in business. Greenough moved to Edmonton, Alberta, and joined Winspear Hamilton to become a chartered accountant, ultimately being honoured with the FCA designation for his contributions to his profession. He joined Sandy Mactaggart and Jean de LaBruyère to form Maclab Enterprises in 1958, becoming the President and CEO for more than 35 years and then Chairman in 1997. Together, they were instrumental in building a legacy of real estate properties in western Canada and the United States.

His generous support of the equestrian community extended far beyond that of his own family. He organized syndicates to keep top horses for Canadian athletes including Damuraz, the horse Mark Laskin rode to a team gold medal at the 1980 Alternate Olympics in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He also supported other Canadian Show Jumping Team veterans including Dayton Gorsline and Olympian Jonathan Asselin as they began their professional careers.

Greenough’s foray into sports administration began in 1980 when he became Chairman of the Edmonton Northlands Horse Show. He is credited with modernizing the event to such a standard that it hosted major games selection trials for the Canadian Team shortly thereafter. In 1981, he was elected President of the Alberta Equestrian Federation. That role led him to the national federation, where he served as President from 1984 to 1992. During his time at the Canadian Equestrian Federation (now known as Equestrian Canada), Greenough instituted discipline committees, recognizing that success would come if each equestrian discipline focused on its own needs. This paved the way for the formation of the Jump Canada Board to manage the hunter/jumper discipline from grassroots to the podium.

Greenough’s accomplishments and shrewd business mind soon caught the attention of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and, in 1990, he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee, a position he held until 1998. He was also the Canadian representative to the FEI from 1984 through 1995.

Gail Greenough and Mr T at the 1986 World Championships in Aachen, Germany.
Gail Greenough and Mr T at the 1986 World Championships in Aachen, Germany. © Equestrian Canada

In addition to the numerous roles he played in equestrian, Greenough had a long history with the Canadian Olympic Committee. From 1991 through 2005, he held various positions including Vice-President (1993-1995) and Chairman (1998-2001). He was also actively involved in several Olympic Games in varying capacities, including as a Director of the successful Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. He was also instrumental in securing the 1999 Pan American Games for Canada, acting as a member of both the Bid Committee and the Organizing Committee for the Winnipeg, Manitoba, edition.

Greg’s vast contributions to sport were recognized when he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 followed by the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Given all that he had done to lead, improve, and enhance equestrian sport, the Jump Canada Hall of Fame warmly welcomed him in its Induction class of 2019.

“Greg Greenough was a gentleman, a role model and an inspiration,” said Mark Samuel, FEI Vice-President and Chair of the Jump Canada Hall of Fame. “He represented the sport and the country with dignity, class, and determination. It was an honour to recognize his character and accomplishments through the Jump Canada Hall of Fame. He will be missed.”

Greg is predeceased by his wife Audrey (1930-2002). He leaves behind sister Beth, children Jim, John, and Gail; grandchildren Chris, Geoff, Amanda, Adam, and Erin; and great-grandchildren Felix, Lucy, Charlie, Kaia, and Jasper.

A  family service will be held with a celebration of life taking place later this spring. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation to the University Hospital Foundation is considered.

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