One of Canada's premier international competitors, Jim Elder enjoyed more than three decades of success that has been rarely duplicated in other sports. He led Canada's Equestrian Team to numerous victories from the 1950s to the 1980s.
A graduate of Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto, Elder started his competitive career in 1950 at age 16. He was the youngest rider to win a place on Canada's national team. Two years later he captured his first major victory at The Prince of Wales Steeplechase in North America. During his 36 years in competition, Elder has competed for Canada in seven Olympic games, five Pan American Games, and three World Championships.
For his outstanding riding, Elder has won two Olympic Gold medals for team competition in Mexico City (1968) and the alternate games in Rotterdam (1980). He also won a team Olympic bronze in Stockholm, Sweden (1956) and two Pan Am team gold medals, team and individual Pan Am silvers, and two team Pan Am bronzes (Chicago, USA 1959; Cali, Columbia 1971; Caracus, Venezuela 1983; Mexico City, Mexico 1975).In 1970, he won a gold medal with the national team at the World Championships in France. Elder has also captured numerous other international classes and championships in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa, and Australia.
When not competing, Elder enjoys a successful business career running a commercial refrigeration company and his own stables. He and his late-wife Marianne hosted the first Grand Prix Jumping Competition in Canada in 1961 and numerous other premier Canadian and international competitions at their operations headquarters in Aurora, Ontario.
Elder is an Honorary Patron and Honorary board member of the Community Association of Riding for the Disabled in Ontario. He is also active in the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association, where children with physical or cognitive disabilities are given the chance to ride horses. In addition, he has worked with Big Brothers of York Region and is a founding member of the Toronto Polo Club. In 1983 he was honoured with the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian sport and humanitarian causes.
Elder's passion for riding and competing has been passed to all his children who have continued the ribbon-winning tradition.