‘What am I doing in this kind of company?’

Langley's David Esworthy was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 20.
— image credit: BC Sports Hall of Fame

David Esworthy was a teenager when he got his start working with horses.

Living in Vancouver, he would spend his summers wrangling horses at the Rainbow Lodge — which is now Whistler Village — for his aunt, who owned the lodge.

He also spent two years working on a ranch in the Cariboo, but it became quite clear to Esworthy that there was little money to be made, so he went back to Vancouver to study agriculture at UBC.

He got back into horses as a way to spend time with his family, wife Patricia, and their son, Phil.

“As a family, we started looking for recreation,” Esworthy explained.

“We asked ‘what do we all enjoy the most, and that was horses, so we joined a riding club.”

This was the early 1960s and the family joined the Northridge Riding Club in North Vancouver.

“And before I knew it, I opened my mouth at the wrong time, and I was president of the riding club, a horse buyer and trader, and whatever else (for the club).

“It just grew from there.

Last week (Sept. 20), Esworthy’s contributions were recognized when he was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

The 83-year-old was inducted in the builder category for his involvement in the sport, provincially, nationally and internationally. He has served as a rider, judge, steward, horse show organizer, horse show chair and industry advisor.

“It is a wonderful honour, there is no question about that,” he marveled.

“The more I digest it and the more I think about it, the greater an honour it is because I think of some of the famous people that are in there (Hall) and I think ‘what am I doing in this kind of company?’”

“I have had a number of special awards in this industry and in business, but never in my life had I even considered I would be in a Hall of Fame,” Esworthy added.

Esworthy was nominated by Carla Robin, with Sigga Mekkinosson and Dalene Pain writing letters of support. This was back in September 2010. The Hall announced in January of this year that Esworthy would be inducted.

“Dave is one of those humble people who works quietly behind the scenes,” Robin told The Times back in January.

“People don’t really realize the extent to which he has influenced the equestrian sport locally and nationally and internationally.

“He is an incredible man and I thought he should be recognized for it.”

Esworthy worked for 40 years at Hastings Brass Foundry, including the last four as president and CEO before retiring in 1994. But despite his busy professional life, he still found time to volunteer countless hours in the several capacities for the sport.

He stands as one of only two Canadian Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) stewards who held tickets in all three Olympic disciplines. He has also served as an FEI judge in some of the world’s most prestigious events, and has taught judging clinics and exams around the world. He also assisted in the preparations for equestrian events at both the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games.

Esworthy has also been heavily involved in the sport closer to home, including helping form the Canadian Equestrian Federation — now known as Equine Canada — and helping write the new organization’s constitution and bylaws. He also helped create the Horse Council of BC.

The Hall of Fame induction is one of two awards for Esworthy in the past year.

In June, Esworthy was also named one of Langley’s Seniors of the Year, alongside Toots Tucker, for their volunteer work.

In addition to his help in making Langley the Horse Capital of B.C., Esworthy’s volunteer exploits include working with, or having worked with, the Vancouver Board of Trade, World Trade Committee, B.C. Fire Chiefs Association, B.C. Transplant Society, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, and the Justice Institute of B.C. Foundation.

His vast volunteering brings him an enormous sense of satisfaction, and this: “I like to get things done and if they don’t get done, I tend to stick my nose into it.”

— with files from Natasha Jones/Langley Times

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