Jason Canton is a Dressage trainer who knows how to help his students reach their goals. He has assisted many of his students on their path to earning their USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals. He has coached Junior riders who have won their Individual Bronze medal at the North American Young Rider Championship as well as the Festival of Champions. Jason has trained and competed his own horses through Grand Prix, having competed in more than 100 USDF recognized shows on 27 different horses. He enjoys helping riders of all levels build a successful partnership with their horse.
In The Beginning:
Jason Canton was born and raised in California and rode his ﬁrst horse in 1979. Jason had an initial interest in riding Hunter/Jumpers, but as luck would have it, at the age of 14, Jason was riding across a ﬁeld where a lady was giving lessons to her students. The lady happened to be the renowned Dressage rider and judge Hilda Gurney and she asked Jason if he wanted some help with his riding. His response was a resounding, “Yes.” And this began his formal introduction to Dressage.
In addition to Hilda Gurney, an Olympic team rider named Gwen Stockebrand was another Dressage trainer Jason learned from during his teen years. While riding with Gwen, Jason was given the opportunity to ride her Grand Prix horse, Bao, whom she had competed with in the 1980 Olympics and 1978 World Championships. Being able to ride and train on a horse as talented as Bao was a life changing experience for Jason, who rode his ﬁrst Piaffe and Passage, Tempi changes, and Pirouettes on this horse. Jason contunued to train with Gwen and moved up the levels with his own horse, Brighton.
In 1984, Jason became a working student for the US Dressage Team Coach , Melle Van Bruggen, who was a Swiss Dressage Champion. During his time as a working student with Melle, Jason competed as a Young Rider with his horse, Ferros. In 1988 Jason was given the opportunity to train in Germany with Conrad Schumacher on the retired Grand Prix horse, Duero. In addition, Jason also rode daily with the Dutch Olympic rider, Ellen Bontje and then in the evenings, he had private lessons with Mr. Schumacher.
Jason’s professional career began to take off with a horse named Bendigo, owned by Sue Koffel of San Francisco. This was the horse Jason rode his ﬁrst Grand Prix with, earning his USDF Gold medal in 1988. He then trained his own Holstein stallion, St. Tropez, who earned the CDS Horse of the Year Award in 1993. One of Jason’s most memorable moments was at the CDS Annual Convention in 1994 when he was teamed with Hilda Gurney and her mare, Lavina, to perform a Grand Prix Level Pas de Deux. Together the pair earned a 78% under Judge Eric Lette. This particular ride is very dear to Jason’s heart, since Hilda was the one who introduced him as a young boy to the art of Dressage.
In 1995, St. Tropez unexpectedly died of a heart attack just after the pair finished competing at the California Dressage Society Championships. Jason was heartbroken by the loss of his stallion and decided to take a break from horses at the time. Ultimately, Jason couldn’t deny his love for riding Dressage and he became a popular trainer, teaching clinics at Southern Hills Farm in Birmingham, Alabama while attending and graduating from Auburn University Horseshoeing School. Jason became a full time Dressage trainer at Southern Hills Farm, and, over the next seven years, continued to further his training in Europe with Henk Van Bergen as he competed internationally. He would also travel to Wellington, Florida each season where he was recognized as a top competitor, achieving many High Score awards.
In 2006 Jason became the head trainer at Collecting Gaits Farm, in Alpharetta, Georgia, which is owned by Jeff and Shereen Fuqua. Collecting Gaits Farm was the USEF National Title Sponsor for 4 years and Jason successfully managed the show schedule of seven international FEI horses while competing two Grand Prix horses for the Fuquas.
The Fuquas sent Jason to Warendorf, Germany for the summer of 2007, where he competed his own horse, Grandioso. During this time in Warendorf, Jason had daily instruction from Susanne Miesner and weekly training with German Team Coach Holger Schmetzer at the D.O.K.R . Jason competed Grandioso very successfully in the Bundes Championship Qualifying shows, were he was placing in classes against Germany’s best.
He has since gone on to become an internationally known and accomplished equestrian with USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medals under his belt. He has recently spent time in Texas, where he coached four Adult Amateur riders to earn their USDF Silver medals with another one of his students earning her Gold medal. Jason also qualiﬁed and was selected with his own stallion Supremat OLD for the National USEF 4 year old championship where they placed a respectful 5th place in the Final.
- 2008 – Champion – Region 3 Open Prix St Georges Championship
- 2004 – USDF Gold Medal