Yanmar Tractors: Supporting the Horse Community

You may have noticed a new name circulating around the Carolina Horse Park at the Setters’ Run Farm Carolina International earlier this month.

Everywhere you looked, bright red tractors appeared. By the dressage ring, carrying the EMTs, hiding behind record-setting winner Will Coleman. You may have even heard the name Yanmar associated with the feature division of the show, the 4*-S.

And yes, you may have also seen an eyebrow-raising Instagram reel dropped on the EN feed in the late hours of last Saturday evening…


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A post shared by Eventing Nation (@goeventing)

We took some time to get to know the story behind the tractors and side-by-sides that swarmed the Carolina Horse Park, and why the company wants to support the horse community.

Meet Jon Richardson. Jon is the Director of the Rural Lifestyle division for Yanmar, the tractor company that sponsored the 4*-S division and is making a big entrance into the world of eventing. While this was his first time watching eventing, Jon is no stranger to what it takes to be a horseman.

As a child growing up in southern Ohio, Jon was entrenched in the world of Western riding. “I grew up in southern Ohio on the family farm, where my parents still live. It wasn’t anything big, just five, six acres. My brother and sister and I, we grew up riding and had horses for as long as I can remember, probably since I was two or three years old. I started showing Western in 4-H when I was seven or eight years old, and continued all the way through high school and then on to college, as well.”

Some kids have a dog for a best friend. Jon had a palomino quarter horse named Majestic Prince, Major for short. Although, perhaps a better name would have been Escape Artist. Jon fondly remembers his father and Major as being locked in a near daily battle, as the clever little horse would escape from his stall constantly. “He was beautiful, white mane and tail, and the full palomino color. He was ornery at times, always found a way to get out of the barn, get out of the stall, but he was fun.”

SRF Carolina International Yanmar 4*-S Winner Will Coleman stands with Jon Richardson, Yanmar’s Director of Rural Lifestyle

Jon wasn’t a weekend warrior or fair-weather rider. He and Major had quite the successful competition career. “We found him as a great deal and next thing you know, I had this little Quarter Horse palomino. I showed for 10-11 years, qualified for state a few times with him, and came close to placing at state. Never grand champion, but we certainly tried.”

Like most farm kids, Jon is no stranger to the hard work required to have a horse. “My brother had the morning duty and I had the evening duty, so we cleaned a lot of stalls, used tractors and equipment, manure spreaders and so on around the property.”

From farm maintenance to shoveling manure, Jon was involved in every little bit of horse care. That hard-working mentality and familiarity with what it takes to be a true horseman has followed him to his career with Yanmar. As the executive spearheading the company’s push into the eventing market, Jon is well aware that equestrians aren’t buying tractors for the love of machinery. They’re buying tractors so they can get back to what they really love doing that much faster – riding.

“Equestrians’ main priority is not to spend the entire day doing farm work, right? It has to be done; what they really want is to go ride. We want to make it simpler — make it easier for them to get the work done, get the stalls cleaned, get the hay moved around the property, whatever it might be, so they can get back to riding and spending more time on the back of the horse.”

Yanmar’s got some of the most useful bits of kit on the market for horsey folks.

Yanmar isn’t just here to sell tractors. This company is all about supporting the horse community as well, which is why Jon was so excited to sponsor the 4*-S at Carolina International. “One of the reasons we sponsored Carolina Horse Park and the Carolina International CCI 4*-S is that we enjoy sponsoring sports. We focus on supporting local communities and are grateful to be able to support the equine world with good, high quality equipment that they know is dependable.”

As for Jon, he has four kids and his daughters are hoping for their own version of Major someday. As we watched the nation’s best riders tackle a complicated show jumping round, I asked him if he could see himself with a horse of his own again. “I don’t think I could compete at this level, watching some of these equestrians here today and yesterday. But yes, I would love to get back in the saddle. My daughters want to ride. We’d love to get back into horses as a family. Like Winston Churchill said, the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.”

When it comes to compact tractor companies, few seem to have their finger on the pulse of the horse world like Yanmar. Learn more about their tractors here.

This article is brought to you with support from SRF Carolina International and Yanmar America.

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