2006 – Susan Jane Anstey

Susan Jane Anstey was claimed by cancer in November of 2005 bringing to a close her 60 year love affair with horses and the equestrian sport.

Susan Jane was a member of the Sports Media Canada Board of Directors in its early years and remained an active and diligent sports journalist, proud of her pioneering work which took the equestrian sport “from the social pages to the sports pages” and, thus, into the consciousness of many more Canadians.

It was when she and her sister purchased and breathed new life into The Corinthian magazine and renamed it Horse Sport that Susan Jane Anstey, the sports journalist, was born. As a full colour, glossy monthly Horse Sport developed a readership in excess of 20,000 and significant influence in the equestrian world.

Susan Jane added two more publications to the stable (Canadian Horse Publications, Inc.). The Canadian Thoroughbred (readership 15,000) and Horse Canada (readership 40,000) became recognized well beyond Canada’s borders as setting a high standard for equestrian coverage and journalism. In fact Susan Jane served as President of the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists for 11 years, the first non-European and the first woman elected to that position.

She also chaired the FEI (Fédèration Equestre Internationale) Media Advisory Committee for eight years and in addition served on its Nations Cup Committee.

Susan Jane passed on her dedication to the equestrian sport to her daughter Jennifer who has herself competed horses since she was in Grade 1. A few years before she died, mother gave daughter a challenge and an ultimatum — to come and work with her on the magazines or they would be sold. Jennifer accepted the challenge and became a strong and able successor to her mother at Horse Publications Group.

For Susan Jane it was always a labour of love. Vocation and avocation. Jeff Chisholm, former chair of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and member of Jump Canada remembered her relevant journalism. “Her articles were always well researched and she was an excellent writer. She could crystalize issues,” he said. “Susan Jane saw what was what and what was not working well, and through the magazines she used to lay out the issues for the equestrian community.”

Not content to remain just an observer and reporter she was directly involved in the sport’s issues — chairing the task force which led to the modernization and restructuring of the Canadian Equestrian Federation into Equine Canada — the sport’s overall administrative body and from which Jump Canada was created to govern competitive jumping.