Although John French has called Northern California home for quite some time, he spent his childhood growing up on a farm outside Baltimore, Maryland where his mother was a riding instructor. Over the past 20 years, John has guided both horses and students alike to mutiple successes in the hunter, jumper and equitation rings.
Famous for his style in the saddle, winning attitude and dedication to the sport, John has taken home top honors from coast to coast on a number of different horses. His method to achieving a winning round is confidence. "Pick up the pace right away – don’t doubt yourself. To have a winning ride, you can’t think ‘am I going to find the distance’ you have to let that go. When you are tentative it interrupts the flow. Let the doubts go out of your mind – that’s when you ride the best. Take risks – believe in the ride," he said.
This relaxed mentality and conscious attitude has led John to laying down successful trips time and time again. "I remind myself that it doesn’t help to be nervous about something I can’t control - a ride happening in the future - so I let go and focus on what I can control which is being in the present during the ride," he noted. "I don’t go out thinking that I am going to win – or that I need to beat somebody else. Just do the best I can – ride better than the last time."
In August 2009, these characteristics along with a special mount, Rumba, owned by Mountain Home Stable, helped John clench a win at the inaugural $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park.
While success in the hunter ring is evident, a handful of years ago John also proved he had what it took to win at the international Grand Prix level. Over a five-year period, John went from Rookie Grand Prix Rider of the Year to qualifying for the World Cup Finals, placing in Britain’s Hickstead Grand Prix and representing the US on Nations Cup Teams in Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and Sweden.
• 2010: Winner of the Lorraine N. Lorimer Award, PCHA Hunter Rider of the Year
• 2009: Winner of the USEF Emerson Burr Horsemanship Award
• 2010: Harrisburg - Green Conformation Champion - Cruise
Capital Challenge - Champion 2nd Year Green Working Hunter - Small Affair
Capital Challenge - Grand Green Champion - Small Affair
Capital Challenge - Winner Hunter Challenge - Small Affair
Capital Challenge - 1st & 2nd Future Hunter Challenge
WCHR Professional - Reserve Champion
• 2009:Winner of the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby
• 2006: Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider
• 2000: Chronicle of the Horse Professional World Championship Hunter Rider
• Multiple Championships won at Capital Challenge, Harrisburg, Washington & New York
• Trained National & Zone Champions in both the Junior & Amateur Hunter divisions
• PCHA Leading Hunter Rider multiple times
• Champion Southwest Region World Championship Hunter Rider multiple years
• 2004: Tied for 2nd in the US Cargill $175,000 Grand Prix during Olympic trials
• 2004 Olympic trials: 2nd alternate and highest placing West Coast rider
• 2004: England - Hickstead Grand Prix– 4th place
• 2003 & 2004: Qualified for World Cup Finals
• 2003: Represented the USET on Nations Cup Team in Sweden, France, Belgium & Spain
• 2003: World Cup Finals - 6th in Grand Prix
• 1999: PCHA Rookie Grand Prix Rider of the Year
• Champion, Maryland Junior Equitation Finals
• Reserve Champion, Viginia Junior Equitation Finals
• Won numerous championships & high point awards in both hunter & equitation divisions