Skip to main content

In Memory of Major General Jonathan R. Burton


Everyone who has a story about Major General Jonathan R. Burton has experienced the kernels of wisdom that were uniquely his. Each story has the vigor of his encouragement for the riders he engaged with, that bit by bit, helped build our equestrian sports to what they are today.

The film, “A Life of Equestrian Substance,” was produced in 2007 by Mary Phelps and Melvin Cox for SportsQuest International. Funding support for the production was provided by The Dressage Foundation, TDF Board Member Karin Reid Offield for Offield Farms, and other contributors.

The Dressage Foundation will always treasure General Burton's influence first as a rider and then as a leader. His venerable presence will endure.

By John F. Boomer
Past President and CEO
The Dressage Foundation

SERVICE with a capital “S” certainly describes the General Burton I knew -- rising to the rank of General in our country’s military, and then leading the equestrian world with his wisdom and wit.  My father, Lowell Boomer, was the founding organizer of the United States Dressage Federation in 1973, and the founder of The Dressage Foundation in 1989.   The Boomer family and General Burton were in close touch through all of our equestrian lives and activities during those many years.

In his remarkable filmed interview, he discusses the “transition of the horse to armor in the military,” as the cavalry moved away from horses to mechanized instruments of war. He discusses the powerful impact of the loss of government funding for all things equestrian, and the major effect that it had on the equestrian world, in which money was already in short supply.

General Burton and his good friend, Jack Fritz, joined the Board of Directors of The Dressage Foundation and served on our Board all the way until the end of their lives.  With the help of their work with the Foundation, we were able to help close the gap that was created by the loss of government funding and assist many equestrians who needed financial aid.  The knowledge and wisdom they brought to us was remarkable, unique, and invaluable.  Again, Service, with a capital “S.”