Jon Doney, one of the world’s top Jumping officials, has tragically died in hospital in Great Britain after a short illness. He was 71.
Jon Francis Doney was born on 29 January 1949 in the British market town of Stroud in Gloucestershire (GBR). He started riding at an early age and was a regular out with the Duke of Beaufort Foxhounds, but his interest in and subsequent love for the Jumping discipline came initially from his older sister.
His multiple roles included show organiser and judge at a national level before he became an FEI Official, going on to officiate at the world’s most respected events, including at iconic venues such as Barcelona (ESP), Aachen (GER), Verona and Rome (ITA), Dublin (IRL) and London Olympia (GBR).
He started designing courses in the 1960s and honed his craft with the British doyenne, Pamela Carruthers, taking over as designer at Hickstead after her retirement. His reputation on the international circuit flourished rapidly and he was thrilled to be appointed as course designer for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 1994 in The Hague (NED).
He was involved in three FEI World Equestrian Games™ during his long career, as well as three FEI European Championships - San Patrignano (ITA) 2005, Windsor (GBR) 2009 and Aachen (GER) in 2015, where he was President of the Ground Jury. He officiated at five Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona (ESP) and at the FEI World Cup™ Finals at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in 2012 and Gothenburg (SWE) in 2016. He was also Jumping Judge for the British 5* Eventing at Badminton on many occasions.
He officiated at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and filled two roles at the London 2012 Olympics, as a member of the Jumping Ground Jury and also acting as the Jumping Judge for the final medals decider for Eventing. He was due to officiate at his third Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, this time as President of the Ground Jury.
As well as his huge input to the international sport as a judge and course designer, he acted as Technical Delegate and President of multiple Appeal Committees at top events all over the globe.
It was no surprise to the equestrian community when he was recognised for his services to the sport when he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2014.
“We are devastated to hear of Jon Doney’s tragic passing”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “He was phenomenally experienced in all his roles and officiated at an incredible number of top level events. He will be remembered for all that, but also for his talent as a great raconteur that would have all around him rocking with laughter. He was such a charismatic and cherished member of the FEI Family and we will miss him enormously. An incredible soul has been stolen from us.
The FEI extends its deepest sympathy to Jon Doney’s wife Mary and their family, to his enormous circle of friends on the international circuit, to the British Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.
The British Showjumping tribute to Jon Doney is published here.
Photo caption: Top FEI Official Jon Doney, who has passed away at the age of 71. (British Showjumping)