Tune into this special episode of the USEA Podcast for an exclusive interview with Major General Jonathan R. Burton. This interview was recorded in 2011.
Major General Burton passed away on May 29, 2019 at the age of 99. During his time with the U.S. Army, Burton appeared on the 1948 U.S. Olympic show jumping team and 1956 U.S. Olympic three-day eventing team. In 1953, he helped to organize the first continuous horse trial in the U.S. He also wrote the first rulebook for combined training. After his retirement from the U.S. Army, Burton served as Executive Vice President for the U.S. Equestrian Team for 10 years and as President of the U.S. Combined Training Association (now United States Eventing Association) from 1985-1987. He was inducted into the USEA Hall of Fame and the US Dressage Federation Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the group that established the North American Young Rider Championships in the 1980s. He worked as an FEI judge, technical delegate, and steward until the age of 92.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.