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“Railroader” tells the story of the success behind Double H Farm’s Hunter Harrison

Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Advertisement presented by “Railroader”

JumpMedia Hunter Harrison made a mark in the show jumping world with his mentorship of riders and support of the sport. 

Most show jumping fans know Hunter Harrison as the charismatic owner of top show jumpers from Double H Farm and the driving force behind the corporate show jumping sponsorship of railroad companies CN and CP. 

Riders like Quentin Judge, Rodrigo Pessoa, Daniel Deusser, and McLain Ward have all ridden and won on Double H Farm horses all over the world. And Harrison, who passed away in December 2017, was a frequent smiling face handing out checks in awards ceremonies for classes like the $3 Million CP International at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB. 

Now show jumping fans can find out more about what made Harrison such an influential figure not only in show jumping, but also in the world of railroads, which is where he spent his entire career. Harrison served as the CEO of four major railroad companies, forging a career in which he was known for his daring decisions, brash honesty, and rampant success. “Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter Harrison” is a biography that lets the reader in on what drove Harrison to excel in every aspect of his life.

Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar said: "I knew Hunter Harrison as an excellent horseman and a passionate sportsman. Through the CN and CP sponsorships that he led, he was a great supporter of the sport. He also supported me as a sponsor and, more importantly, became a friend. I of course knew of his success in the railroad industry, but I had no idea of the magnitude of his achievements until I read his biography. The story of his life and career as told in the book ‘Railroader’ can only be described as inspirational.”

JumpMedia Hunter (left) and Jeannie Harrison (center) celebrated the 2008 U.S. Olympic team gold medal with McLain Ward (right).

The book is filled with interesting stories about Harrison’s early years, including the time early in his career when money was so scarce that he had a second job walking dogs at a greyhound track. How Harrison developed his leadership style while moving up in the railroading world is told in a fascinating way.

“‘Railroader’ is the definitive story of the life and career of Hunter Harrison,” said two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, who has ridden for Double H Farm for years. “Not only does it give unique insight into who he was as a CEO and as a railroader, but it also gives a view of who Hunter was as a man. Many aspects of my life have been heavily influenced by this special and truly one-of-a-kind man. To know him was a privilege, to work for him a challenge, to impress him an honor, and to have him by your side a comfort. There are not many men left in the world like Hunter Harrison.”

“Railroader” paints an intimate portrait of Harrison not only as a businessman, but also as a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Harrison’s involvement in the horse world appears briefly in the book, but the story of Harrison’s rise from railyard worker to Chief Executive Officer offers lessons in how attention to detail, leadership, and bold decision-making can lead to success in any endeavor. 

Harrison was known for his brusque style, but he was also respected for his kind and generous mentorship. Riders who rode for Double H Farm spoke not only of Harrison’s support of their riding, but also of his wise counsel in professional matters. Harrison was introduced to the horse world when his daughter, Cayce, began riding, but quickly became a force to be reckoned with in show jumping through his horse ownership and event sponsorship. 

JumpMedia “Railroader” is an insightful biography into the life of show jumping sponsor and owner Hunter Harrison. 

“I think the essential point of the book is that Hunter, when he got involved in anything, did it in the best possible way he could,” said the book’s author, Howard Green. “He was really about excellence in whatever he did, whether it was railroading or golf or show jumping.”

Green believes that reading about Harrison’s life can be instructive and inspiring for anyone, not just businessmen or those in the railroad world. In fact, he points to Harrison’s own reading habits as evidence of how learning about great leaders in other parts of life can help shape your own success. 

“I’ve interviewed a lot of CEOs in my life, and a lot of them are great history buffs. They read about great leaders like Winston Churchill or Teddy Roosevelt,” Green said. “Their libraries are full of those kinds of books. If you looked at the shelves of Hunter’s office, the books were about great American sports coaches like Vince Lombardi or Bear Bryant. These were coaches who were very tough, but highly respected. Hunter drew a lot of leadership lessons from reading about those types of people. In the book, McLain Ward talks about how demanding Hunter was, that he expected great things from people. And it seemed that people who wanted to do great things gravitated towards Hunter because he was one of those people who could make you reach for the stars.”

“Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter Harrison” is available for purchase at Amazon.

 

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