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The founder of PRP Rescue Services and the Organisation of Horsebox and Trailers Owners, known for his positivity and great contribution to the equestrian industry, died on 22 October, 2020 aged 74, from a chest infection after years of “playing chess” with cancer. 


Born in Fulham in 1946, Jon came from “simple beginnings” and was awarded a scholarship to Westminster School. He started out working on the railways as a quantity surveyor, before following his passion for music to become bass guitarist in The Move.


Later Jon owned a garage and in 1978, he met Penny Ryder when she took her car to him. He said he would repair her car if she met him for lunch, and the couple moved in together days later. On selling the garage he spent time as a tiler, before joining Penny in her fashion PR business, where he took over the marketing. Jon became a father to Melanie and Christopher, and he and Penny later adopted Jamie and Glenn.


He became involved in equestrianism through Penny’s love of horses, and learnt everything he could about the horse world, gaining much respect in showing circles. In 1985 he joined the British Show Pony Society’s Area 7 committee and in 1989 was appointed chairman of the area chairmen committee. He also served on the board of Ponies (UK). Jon could often be found beside the worker ring sharing jokes with course-builders. 


Jon took great pride in his and Penny’s legendary Young Dragonara, who became one of the most successful show horses of his time. Ridden by Christopher and later Jamie, the gelding’s many accolades included the 1994 BSPS pony personality of the year, three Royal Show championships, three Royal International titles and three Horse of the Year Show championships. Dragon meant the world to Jon. 


In 1985 Jon formed the Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners after realising nothing existed for recovery of horseboxes. He was known to have an incredible ability for problem solving and for spotting “niche opportunities”. He was later awarded the British Horse Society’s Sefton award for his contribution to equestrian safety, the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, won in conjunction with NFU Mutual, and he received Showing World’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2013.


He was also involved in charity work, one of his most memorable trips was being part of a 12-truck convoy organised by the racing industry to take supplies to help refugees in Bosnia in a relief mission in 1993.


In 2007 Jon was asked by the East of England Agricultural Society to sit on a newly formed committee to launch an indoor arena. In 2008 Equifest was launched, and Jon became chairman of the show committee, a position he held from 2011 until 2016. He believed his job was to look after his members and he enjoyed giving back to the horse world.


Penny described Jon as her best friend and soulmate, calling him an unbelievable father and grandfather to Archie, Lexie, Toby and Bella. 


Penny said positivity was his “motto”, and said he was known for speaking his mind and for his great sense of humour. 


“He had a diverse life, and his knowledge of different industries took him across the world. His office was where his brain was,” she said. 


Family friend and Equifest show organiser Betsy Branyan said Jon was a “positive force”, describing him as “genuine and inspiring”. 


“It’s hard to describe what Jon meant to so many people. Nothing was ever impossible. He loved innovation, and could see a gap in the market before anyone else – he brought so many new thoughts to showing.  


“He had a zest for life and should never be forgotten. He would want us to remember him with a smile.”


Showing producer and family friend Robert Walker said he had many happy memories of Jon, describing him as “kind and generous”.


“He was always the first to put his knowledge and ideas forward. He was great for the sport,” he said. 


“His positivity was amazing, he always had a smile for everyone.”

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