#JumpForJordie: Celebrating a Life of Cheer and Love

Jordan Taylor and Dartmouth celebrate their finish at Galway Downs 2021. Photo by Kim Miller.

The Western eventing world mourns the loss of Jordan Taylor, an eventer based out of California, after an tragic accident occurred while competing in a triathlon. This week at The Event at Rebecca Farm, orange ribbons and sunflowers were worn in remembrance of “Jordie” by many riders and members of the community who felt the loss of her incredible presence and bright personality.

FEI competitors Emilee Libby and Katy Robinson shared their deep love for Jordie while recalling fond memories of their close-knit group of friends, including Jordie as well as fellow Area VI riders Ashlyn Dorsey and Bill Olson. The group first met in 2011 at Kingsway Farm in Temecula, California, where they all worked and rode for Canadian Team rider Hawley Awad (née Bennett).

Originally from Utah, Jordie moved to the coast with her mare Cambridge after graduating college, where the group would then live together for over five years. The five friends went on to ride, travel, compete, and party together, inseparable from the start — and when Emilee and Katy began to move up to the upper levels of the sport, the others shifted to become an incredible support group for their fellow rising stars.

Those close to Jordie offered memorial ribbons and sunflower charms to competitors at Rebecca Farm 2023.

Bill Olson, a Utah native from Park City, had known Jordan from a much younger age, first meeting the energetic horse-crazy girl at the young age of seven. “We had a summer camp program that Jordan’s parents brought her to when she was seven,” he reminisces. “I was in my 20s and I was teaching her lessons on her pony… We would go around to summer shows in Utah and then we would travel to Tucson — and back then it was to do the A rated shows in the winter circuit.

“I moved away in 2000 when she was still pretty young, and about 10 years later we reconnected on Facebook and then started talking a lot. She was riding obviously, and she switched to eventing from hunter-jumpers, so I drove down to Galway to watch her compete. She came up here to do the one-star with Theron and I flew up just to watch and kind of help her out, and then after that we were kind of inseparable. She got me back into riding again.”

Her friends say Jordie was easily the catalyst of their close bond. “Jordan kind of latched on to Emilee and was like, ‘You need to be part of our friend group’,” Bill laughs. “So then we became friends and we were the kind of the ‘HB Eventing Crew’ that just hung out and started going to shows together. I started leasing a horse and we all started competing with each other.”

Jordan Taylor on Cambridge rocked around the big cross country course at Copper Meadows 2013 adding only time penalties to move up to 6th. Photo by Bill Olson.

Katy Robinson recalls first meeting Jordan at Woodside Horse Trials, describing how Jordie would hang chains on Cambridge’s stall to allow the mare to “play her music”.

“Right away, you’re just drawn to her, because she’s super animated and her horse is making all this noise,” Katy laughs. As such a bright and cheerful person, it seems only fitting that the color orange and sunflowers were some of her favorite things. She was easily associated with the happy color, and her friends would always end up buying orange things for her as gifts on their many travels.

“She was always the outgoing, smiling, happy, loud laughing — sometimes inappropriate [person],” says Bill. “There’s things that drove me crazy sometimes — I look back now and she could just be that. But everybody loved her; she was everyone’s positive energy. She was always your biggest cheerleader, she was always your biggest fan, and she pumped you up, like ‘you got this!'”

“If you had a bad day, she would text you flowers,” Emilee says. “She was selfless.”

Katherine Robinson and Teki to the Limit at Rebecca Farm 2023. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Ashlyn Dorsey joined the group less than a year later when she imported a horse and moved to Kingsway Farm from Colorado. “Katy was a working student for Hawley, Emily and I were kind of training with her, and Bill was training with her, so that’s how we all started becoming friends. Bill would come down on the weekends from L.A. and we would do spaghetti nights over in Jordan’s apartment before she moved in with him.”

“We were always talking to each other and we were always texting each other,” Bill says. “When I wanted to bitch about something, it was Jordan that I would call — I would text Emilee, but I would call Jordan. It was just the nature of our friendship — she was always there.”

Jordan Taylor and Dartmouth. Photo by Kim Miller.

“We were friends outside the horse world,” Ashlyn says, “and we did more life things together too. Bill would run marathons and we’d go cheer him on, we’d go down together to San Diego.” The group would share hotel rooms together whenever they’d travel to Kentucky, and Bill remarks that he and Jordie climbed Mt. Whitney together just three years ago.

Jordie was remembered by all as an incredibly athletic and fit person, frequently running in multiple marathons and triathlons. “We ran a 10K together,” Bill says. “She had done a couple of triathlons before the last one, and then she she hiked 10 miles the day before the triathlon… like she was active. She liked to get out and do things and ride her bike — she was a little spitfire.”

“She was super active in cycling and hiking and a bunch of other stuff — her focus kind of turned,” Ashlyn remarks. “She always loved the horses and wanted to do it, but she was also kind of starting to live outside [the horse world].”

In the last few years, Jordan had retired Cambridge after breeding her and began working on bringing up her colt, Dartmouth. Since moving back down from the Advanced life, she, Bill, and Ashlyn would often follow Emilee around to groom at her bigger competitions, like Kentucky in 2021.

Ashlyn mentions that while their roles seemed to all have shifted in the last few years, Jordie never stopped being the enthusiastic cheerleader at every turn. Despite working full-time in the professional field, she and “baby Dartmouth” won the Modified division at Galway Downs last year, which Ashlyn was helping to manage while Emilee rode and helped coach the pair.

Emilee Libby and Toska at Rebecca Farm 2023. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

“[Jordan] is the reason we’re all best friends,” Bill notes. “And I would consider these guys my best friends — like if anything happens in my life, it’s these guys and Jordan. She’s the reason — she was the one who drags everyone together.”

“Rebecca Farm was her favorite event. She always said, ‘I wish I could run around Kentucky cross country one time’, but she ran the old three-star here. She competed here at least six or seven times since we’ve become friends.” Since taking on the task of bringing Dartmouth up the levels, Jordan hadn’t been traveling quite as much. “She was trying to get him ready to come up here,” Bill says of her plans for the horse she’d brought up from a foal.

Jordan had big dreams of a five-star one day on her young horse, but her friends have now taken over a split responsibility for Dartmouth since her passing. “We’re just trying to find like a really good home with probably a dressage rider or someone — we just want him to go to a good home, hopefully someplace where we can try to keep tabs on him… since now he’s like an adopted family member,” Katy says.

Jordan Taylor and Cambridge in the Advanced division at Twin Rivers 2013. Photo by Bill Olson.

Jordan’s memory lives on in those close to her, and I must admit that I got pretty choked up watching her closest friends wearing her ribbon while soaring over the triple sunflower oxer on this final day at Rebecca Farm. Her vibrant personality and outgoing love for everyone will be deeply missed by everyone in our community.

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