Category Archives: Community/Charity

Dr. Piper Klemm to Speak at College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show January 17th

Piper Klemm, publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine, will give a keynote address at The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show Welcome Reception and Educational Presentations session on Friday, January 17th at 7:00 PM at the Marriott West Palm Beach.

Dr. Klemm will speak on the challenges and opportunities that come with being in equestrian business, and advice for her audience on how they can make their way in the horse world without becoming trainers. She will also be discussing her upcoming summer online course 2020 at St. Lawrence University (click for more info).

Lindsay K. Martin, President of CPI, is thrilled that Dr. Klemm will be addressing their audience. “I love having Piper speak to our CPI riders because I feel that they can relate to her and her story and that will walk away learning something.”

The College Preparatory Invitational offers young equestrians, in grades 8-12, the opportunity to explore the college equestrian experience through comprehensive education, competition, and scholarship/community service program.

During the CPI Horse Show event, athletes experience collegiate equestrian competition format; they can explore an equestrian-focused college fair, attend educational presentations, and take advantage of the opportunity for direct conversations with college admissions.

CPI saves families the expense of transporting and stabling a competition horse by providing suitable horses, saddles, and tack, so participants need only bring their show clothes, helmets, and crops.

Copyright © 2020 The Plaid Horse Network

Georgina Bloomberg Honored as 2019 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipient

Left to right: Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President, Georgina Bloomberg, and Murray Kessler, President, US Equestrian Federation. Photo by Adam Brennan – www.picturesbyab.com.

Georgina Bloomberg received the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the Pegasus Awards Dinner on January 10, 2020 during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. The EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation established the Humanitarian Award in 2009 to honor a member of the equestrian world who has devoted considerable personal time to making the quality of life of our equine partners paramount.

Bloomberg is not only an accomplished, world class equestrian, she is also a renowned, committed, and highly influential animal welfare advocate who is an inspiration and role model to her many thousands of friends, followers and fans who follow her lead in helping all animals.

In 2006, at the age of 23, in the midst of a budding career in equestrian sport, Bloomberg established The Rider’s Closet to provide equestrian clothing to individuals in need, as she wanted to give back to the sport that had given her so much. In 2019, the Rider’s Closet became an EQUUS Foundation program.

“We learned firsthand that tens of thousands of people of all ages all across the country have been able to pursue their horsemanship dreams thanks to Georgina’s efforts,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “Equally fortunate are all of the horses whose futures might have been dramatically different without opportunities for them to partner with these tens of thousands of people who benefitted from The Rider’s Closet clothing.”

In accepting the award, Bloomberg said, “I have to say that of any award or prize that I have been lucky enough to receive while representing the USA, this has to be top of the list and most meaningful. It’s an amazing honor to have my name on this award, but this award is not a recognition of my work — my good intentions, yes — but much more than that — it is a recognition of how when people come together and work together as a team, what you can accomplish is limitless. I am incredibly lucky to have great people who have helped and continue to help make my dreams of accomplishments in the saddle and out become a reality.”

While Bloomberg’s crew of rescued pets includes a pig, a goat, numerous adopted and foster dogs, a cow and her calf, a rooster, and even a savvy pigeon named Steve, horses are Bloomberg’s first love, and they are at the center of her extensive and impactful animal protection efforts. Her rescued mother and son mini horses, Lola and Harley, Abe, the mule rescued from slaughter, a retired carriage horse named Sultan whom she adopted, and all the show horses she has retired at her farm that get to live out their days with loving care, all agree.

In 2017, Bloomberg became an EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar in addition to her already serving on the boards of prominent organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, the Hampton Classic Horse Show, the Lake Placid Horse Show, and the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.

As an EQUUStar, Bloomberg passionately advocates for horses at risk for abuse, neglect, and slaughter in both her words and actions, rallies other equestrians on behalf of horse welfare, and leverages her high-profile status, partnerships, and connections to drive home the message that all horses deserve happy lives and happy endings.

When Bloomberg wanted to pique her five-year-old son’s interest in learning to ride, it was no surprise that she made the choice to also make a difference in the life of an at-risk horse. Bloomberg adopted Teddy – a miniature horse rescued by Omega Horse Rescue from a kill buyer’s facility. Teddy and Jasper became a social media sensation, encouraging others to rescue and adopt.

“It was a thrill and a privilege to honor a member of the EQUUS Foundation family. Georgina’s passionate work and actions on behalf of the welfare of horses is extraordinary, exemplary, and powerfully inspirational,” said Coakley.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa Named Chairs of USET Foundation Take Me to Tokyo Gala

Photo courtesy of the USET Foundation.

Wellington, FL – Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa will join honorary chairmen Lou and Joan Jacobs as chairs of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Take Me to Tokyo gala, to be held on Friday, January 17, in Wellington, FL.

The gala, hosted by the Jacobs at their Deeridge Farm beginning at 6 p.m., will raise critical funds to support the U.S. Equestrian Teams headed to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.

“Helping this country’s equestrian athletes and supporting the U.S. Equestrian Teams has become a family affair for us,” said Scialfa, whose daughter, Jessica Springsteen, is successfully competing at the highest levels of equestrian sport and who has represented the U.S. on Nations Cup teams internationally.

The Springsteens were an integral part of the success of the USET Foundation’s 2016 Rockin’ Rio gala, which raised in excess of a $1 million, and the family hopes to help set new records again this year.

“Patti and I have been involved with the horse world for more than 20 years since Jess started riding when she was five years old,” said Bruce Springsteen. “Our lives have been deeply enriched by our involvement in the riding world. I’ve gotten to watch my daughter grow up into a young woman of character and excellence. I’ve gotten to watch the best in the world compete year after year, and I know what that takes.”

The gala evening will commence at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and a super silent auction, generously sponsored by NetJets, and dinner beginning at 7 p.m. followed by a live auction sure to be the most exciting one ever! The Boss will be auctioning off a signed Harley Davidson motorcycle and a signed Fender guitar to benefit the Team.

If you are interested in joining the Springsteens and the Jacobs in supporting the USET Foundation and the country’s equestrian athletes, please don’t wait as it is almost sold out. Tickets and tables may be purchased for Take Me to Tokyo here.

The event will also include the presentation of the USET Foundation’s most prestigious annual awards, including the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award; the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy, given to a young rider who exemplifies both horsemanship and sportsmanship; and the Whitney Stone Cup, awarded to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct.

For more information on the USET Foundation and Take Me to Tokyo, please visit www.uset.org.

Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, Laura Lee Brown Continue USET Foundation Gift-Matching Initiative

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one driving athlete who has seen the benefits of the Developing Athlete Program. Photo by Pics of You.

Gladstone, NJ – Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, and Laura Lee Brown initiated the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation Driving Challenge in 2017 with a goal of raising $1,200,000 for the U.S. Equestrian High Performance Driving program, and today, the loyal supporters and active drivers remain committed to closing in on that goal.

Through the Driving Challenge, multi-year gift commitments of $20,000 or more are matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000, by the Millers, Wilson, and Brown, who encourage fellow drivers, owners, and enthusiasts to help create a legacy for the High Performance Driving program by rising to the Driving Challenge.

“We created the Challenge because driving, historically, is such a small discipline, and it hasn’t been able to be very well-funded,” said Misdee Miller. “Early on, we recognized that we not only needed to raise funds for our athletes traveling abroad, but most importantly, fund programs and drivers at home.”

The Driving Challenge created a source of funding that can be drawn upon each year and has provided increased support for the Developing Athlete Program (DAP), which has been instrumental in the careers of up-and-coming drivers. A large percentage of the funds are allocated to hiring coaches running educational clinics across the country. There are also plans to develop an international working student program so that drivers can gain valuable first-hand experience competing in Europe.

“So far, the program has thrived and blossomed and has helped a lot of drivers,” continued Misdee Miller. “We’ve taken them from Preliminary all the way to becoming national champions. That’s the best way to recognize if a program has been successful or not.”

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one such athlete who has seen the benefits of the program first-hand, after coming up through ranks from the Preliminary level all the way to being named the 2019 USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Champion.

“I look back to where my horse and I were and to where we are now, and I just think, ‘Wow, we’ve come a long way!’ I have to attribute the vast majority of my success to the opportunities I’ve gotten through the DAP,” said Thompson, who works as a full-time equine veterinarian in Wisconsin. “I’m so thankful to those who have contributed to this program because it has helped me get to where I am today.”

Nifty Hamilton, who was the highest placed U.S. Combined Driver at 2018 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles, also credits the program with her success.

“The High Performance Program has been the cornerstone to my development as a driver and the training of [my horse] Makari Design up through the levels,” said Hamilton. “The quality and variety of the clinicians, in both training and lectures, that the USEF has offered, continue to move me forward toward my goals.”

“We’re really hoping we can get people excited about funding new drivers,” concluded Misdee Miller. “It’s training and developing and supporting drivers on their pathways from the grassroots all the way to ‘pre-podium.’ If we realize our goals, we would raise over a million dollars for driving. That would be quite historic.”

Learn more about being a part of history and making a donation to the Driving Challenge by contacting Bonnie B. Jenkins at bjenkins@uset.org or by phone at 908-234-1251.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Does Lunging Someone Else’s Horse Put Your Amateur Status at Risk?

By Leone Equestrian Law

Question: I work as a groom, but I also compete myself in the amateur jumpers. I occasionally lunge horses for other clients, but I was just told that this revokes my amateur status as lunging is considered training! Is it true that just lunging a horse could revoke or put my amateur status at risk?

Answer: It may not be the answer that you want to hear, but this is true. In your situation, lunging other people’s horses does violate your amateur status – but it may not violate the amateur status of, say, your friend at the barn. Here’s why:

While your friend could lunge your horse for you as a favor with no ramification, because you are likely being compensated for your work as groom, including for the lunging of horses, you would be found in violation of U.S. Equestrian rule book rule GR1306, a.k.a. the infamous “amateur rule.”

Let’s delve a little bit deeper.

The rule states:

“3. Permitted activities by Amateur. An Amateur is permitted to do the following:

h. Accept remuneration for providing service in one’s capacity as a: clinic manager or organizer (so long as they are not performing the activities of instructor or trainer), presenter or panelist at a Federation licensed officials’ clinic, competition manager, competition secretary, judge, steward, technical delegate, course designer, announcer, TV commentator, veterinarian, groom, farrier, tack shop operator, breeder, or boarder, or horse transporter.”

You’ll see that groom is included in the list of roles which an amateur can receive remuneration for without risking their amateur status, so you may think you are in the clear. However, the rule also reads:

“…a person is a professional if after his/her 18th birthday he/she does any of the following:

a. Accepts remuneration AND rides, exercises, drives, shows, trains, assists in training, schools, or conducts clinics or seminars.”

Because lunging is considered exercising, and could also be considered training in some circumstances, it does violate the rule.

You can review the amateur status rules in full here.

Anytime that you appear to be paid for exercising, riding, or training horses, you put your amateur status at risk. By being aware of the purpose and intent of the amateur rule, you can likely avoid running into problems with amateur status.

Whoever Stands with George Should Sit Down and Shut Up, While the USEF Needs to Stand Up and Speak Out

by Armand Leone

Sexual abuse of minors by an adult has no place in our sport. Failing to acknowledge the problems in our past guarantees that problems will continue. Regardless of how extraordinary George Morris was as a horse trainer, his abuse of young boys was unconscionable and deserves condemnation without reservation.

The recommendation of SafeSport to suspend Mr. Morris was followed by an independent arbitrator’s upholding the suspension after a full evidentiary hearing – that should be the end of the discussion. Unfortunately, it is not. Some in our equestrian community still “stand with George” and blame his victims. It is now time for these deniers to sit down and shut up.

Read More Here

Visit www.equestriancounsel.com to learn more or email info@equestriancounsel.com with inquiries.

Danny & Ron’s Rescue Gives Back to Wellington Community with Animeals on Wheels Donation

Danny Robertshaw, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels Pam Calzadilla, Executive Director of Danny & Ron’s Rescue Nukhet Hendricks, and Ron Danta.

Wellington, Fla. – Dec. 27, 2019 – At the conclusion of an immensely successful year for Danny & Ron’s Rescue, founders Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta are pleased to have the opportunity to give back to their local community just in time for the holiday season. This year donating $10,000 to Animeals on Wheels, an extension of Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, Inc., the rescue is excited to help animals get the nutrition and veterinary care they need.

“The seniors who are served by our Animeals program often face decisions that no one should have to make,” said Pam Calzadilla, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. “They are making the choice between affording food, medical care/prescriptions, or feeding their beloved pet. We are so grateful to Danny & Ron’s Rescue helping to make sure they don’t have to make that choice.

“We see them sharing their meals or buying pet food instead of much needed prescriptions,” she continued. “The peace of mind afforded our seniors that comes with a regular supply of food and even necessary veterinarian care for their four-legged family members is immeasurable. Thank you, Danny and Ron, for your generosity.”

A non-profit organization designed to enhance the lives of the homebound in the local community, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches provides nutritious mid-day meals to those who are unable to prepare their own or live alone. Meals on Wheels functions independently of government funding, relying on volunteers and donations from local residents, corporate partners, and foundations.

“Starting now during the holiday season, loneliness, stress, and financial worries are abounding. We hope to keep pets in the homes they love with the people who love them,” said Robertshaw.

Robertshaw and Danta are happy to donate back to those in need following the outpouring of support they have received since the release of their feature documentary, “Life in the Doghouse,” on Netflix and other platforms this year. Receiving support from viewers all around the world, Danny & Ron’s Rescue has had the opportunity to spread the word about their mission and expand the ways in which they help dogs in need like they never have before.

“Danny and I realize that far too often, a pet is the only source of love and comfort for seniors.  We want to work with Meals on Wheels to ensure that their clients do not worry about the cost of keeping their animals with them,” explained Danta.

The money donated to Animeals on Wheels will provide food and veterinary care to seniors in need with animals. Offering freshly prepared, nutritious meals five days a week to participating residents in the county, the program is vital to many in the community.

“As the newly appointed executive director and a new community member of the Palm Beaches, I am beyond thrilled that my first directive is to help seniors and their pets of my new community,” said Nukhet Hendricks.

The donation from Danny & Ron’s Rescue will also assist with the often times substantial veterinary costs associated with caring for pets young and old. The Animeals program is available for clients enrolled in Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, and has been faithfully serving the local community since 2010. For more information about Meal on Wheels of the Palm Beaches or to make a donation, please visit their website here.

For more information, please visit the Danny & Ron’s Rescue website at www.dannyronsrescue.org or email info@dannyronsrescue.org.

Magic the Sugar Plum Fairy

Therapy horse Magic celebrated the holidays with her ballet dancer friends on stage for The Magic of the Nutcracker! at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Gainesville, Florida.

The special performance by the Dance Alive National Ballet was for children from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. They experienced the all-time family favorite by sitting right on the stage, feeling vibrations through the floor and speakers, and touching the costumes and dancers to see the art through their fingertips.

Magic’s costumes, including the sugar plum fairy and Santa’s elf, were made by a Dance Alive National Ballet costume designer.  Magic was an equine professional both on and off the stage.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com

Young Show Jumping Champions Presented at The Auction by Arqana in the Heart of Paris

Paris, France – The Auction by Arqana is coming to the heart of Paris for an exceptional “Yearlings & Performers” sale on Thursday evening, December 5, at the Cirque d’Hiver.

The City of Lights will showcase the future superstars of show jumping, coinciding with opening night of the legendary Longines Masters of Paris. Today’s international show jumping players, and the community of breeders, riders, and owners, will have the opportunity to place bids – either in person or online – on an exciting line-up of proven performers as well as yearlings hailing from exceptional bloodlines.

ACT II follows the success of The Auction’s debut on February 15, 2019, when ACT I took center stage at Asia Horse Week during the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. It was the first sale of its kind in Asia and set a world record by reaching the highest average selling price for an embryo at an auction.

Now, the biggest names from the international show jumping sporting and breeding communities will be reunited at the spectacular venue, Cirque d’Hiver, in the heart of downtown Paris. The historical building’s unique circular shape, which has made it a desirable location for events such as fashion shows and circuses, offers an ideal vantage point for viewing some of the most promising young show jumping horses in the world.

A team of experts has carefully selected 20 of the most promising young talents and champions with the potential to excel at the highest level on the world stage. Former World Champion Jos Lansink and Belgian Olympian Ludo Philippaerts are joined by breeding and industry leaders Joris de Brabander, Virginie Couperie, and Carlos Pinto as members of the esteemed expert panel. Most of the horses selected are proven performers with stellar competition records, including six that have earned national young horse championship titles, or reserve championship titles, which is unique.

Featured horses include the six-year-old Belgian Champion and Runner-up: Conmitage, a fast and stylish daughter of Conthargos, and the remarkably intelligent and talented Noortje Van Het Houterhof. Also, Kespri DC, a six-year-old stallion, and 2019 Swedish Champion in his category, who impressed the experts thanks to his beautiful conformation and exceptional quality.

Three five-year-olds, champions in their own countries: Pinki Pay, whose class, strength and respect impressed the experts, and who was Italian Vice-Champion as both a four- and five-year-old in 2018 and 2019; as well as the duo Okky Blue, 2019 Belgian Champion, and the runner-up, Janieta P, a fast and respectful mare.

Other great names to mention are Ninja, a six-year-old mare, and daughter of the famous star jumper, Gazelle, winner of this year’s legendary Aachen Grand Prix. Also, Camillo Z, a seven-year-old maternal half-brother of Olympic Reserve-Champion, London, and Hyodinus PP, a seven-year-old gelding and son of the famous French stallion Mylord Carthago, partner of the 2016 Olympic team gold medalist Pénélope Leprévost.

Of the exceptional 2018 yearlings to be presented, there are Souplesse Van’t Keikelhof, Flora de Mariposa’s full sister, who was a team gold medalist in Rio, and Quirina de Coriana Z, a daughter of Quabri de l’Isle, the 2019 Pan American Games team gold medalist, and Coriana Van Klapscheut, the exceptionally fast mare of 2008 Canadian Olympic Champion, Eric Lamaze. Savanah de Muze also joins the line-up with her exceptional pedigree, being a daughter of Emerald and granddaughter of the unforgettable Butterfly Flip, a silver medalist in Athens. Also, the daughter of an Olympic Champion, Big Diamond, is by the legendary Big Star and is a granddaughter of Sapphire, McLain Ward’s legendary Olympic mare. Vivant completes the selection of progeny of great champions, with his sire and dam having both competed at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington.

All available horses can be viewed here: https://www.theauction.online/catalogue/act-ii.-yearlings—performers/2.

The auction kicks off at 9:30 p.m. CET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. Tickets can be purchased here:
https://www.weezevent.com/the-auction-cirque-bouglione?lg_billetterie=2&id_evenement=562152.

To register to bid, click here:
https://www.theauction.online/en/register.

The Auction will be livestreamed on Clip My Horse (www.clipmyhorse.tv) and on the platform www.theauction.online, and buyers unable to attend in person will have the option of bidding online.

For more information, please visit www.theauction.online or contact Anouk Blain-Mailhot at ablain-mailhot@theauction.online or +33 6 88 14 15 47.

Celebrate the Gift of Giving at Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Olympia, The London International Horse Show is renowned for hosting the world’s largest equestrian Christmas party, celebrated by top equestrian athletes and fans alike. Unbeknownst to many, the organisers also work behind the scenes closely with charities to provide a unique gift to disadvantaged children and adults through the Charity Box Scheme.

Over the course of the Show, which takes place from 16-22 December, more than 20 hospitality boxes will be dedicated to a variety of different charities, giving more than 400 individuals a chance to witness the world’s greatest equestrian stars in action and celebrate the festive period in style.

Charities who have previously been involved in this much valued initiative include The Carers Trust, which provides support for young and adult carers, The Golden Lion Children’s Trust, which aims to provide happiness to children with special needs and disadvantaged young people, as well as numerous Riding for the Disabled groups and many more.

The Charity Box Scheme allows up to 18 guests, selected by the chosen charity, to attend the Show. Guests can enjoy the breath-taking action and soak up the amazing Christmas atmosphere, whilst making the most of the fantastic hospitality, which includes a light meal and refreshments. Each guest also takes home an Olympia programme, cap, and rosettes as mementos of their special day out and may even be treated by a visit to the box from the Shetland Pony foal. This fluffy visitor, the official mascot of the Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National, tries to make an appearance in all the charity boxes, providing guests with a unique hands-on experience, something which has proved particularly popular.

The scheme, which is now in its 25th year is currently looking for new sponsors of the Olympia Charity Boxes, so it can continue to help those in need. Charity Boxes cost £595 + VAT (£714) to sponsor and can be sponsored by an individual, group of individuals, charitable trust, or company. Each sponsor can choose his or her own charity to benefit from the box or select from one of Olympia’s regular charities. Sponsors receives two Gallery badges, so they can come and enjoy Olympia for the day, as well as visit their selected charities in their boxes.

If you would like to get involved with the Olympia Charity Box Scheme, and provide the chance for disadvantaged children and adults to have a truly magical Christmas day out, then please contact Frances Cass on 01753 847900 or hospitality@hpower.co.uk.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Inside the Rolex Grand Slam: Special Youth Edition

Photo: Harry Charles.

This week, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has been catching up with the new generation in professional show jumping. Almost 40 years younger than some of their senior competitors, we took a look at how initiatives such as the Young Riders Academy and the introduction of U25 competitions at the Majors gives young riders the opportunity to break into the senior world.

Words from Harry Charles, young rising star of show jumping:

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Definitely competing in the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen; that has always been the dream of mine since I was small and to be able to do it was incredible. I still have to pinch myself that I have done it, to be honest with you. Sometimes when I am hacking with ABC Quantum Cruise at home, I look down and say to him, ‘can you believe that we jumped the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen?’

Who are your idols / which riders do you look up to?

For me it has always been Scott (Brash). As well as great rider, he’s a really nice guy too so he is definitely my idol. We talk about everything actually and he is always willing to help me out and lend a hand. Especially when I started doing the big shows, he was always the first one who would come and sit with me at breakfast in the morning at the big shows when I didn’t know anyone, which I really appreciated.

The Rolex Grand Slam Majors are promoting youth by organizing more and more U25 competitions; what is your point of view on this?

I think it is great; any chance for a young rider to jump in a top-level event like any of these shows is massively important and influential. Being among the top riders with a big crowd is just amazing, not only to inspire and motivate young riders, but also for their exposure. For example, when I was in Aachen, so many people contacted me, and I think I gained about 400 followers on my social media platforms each day I was there. Taking part in these events really does give you drive, and although you may only be able to jump two classes, it makes you even more motivated at the idea of jumping more later down the line.

Words from Jos Verlooy, European Championship Bronze Medallist:

What do you think are the three most important attributes for being a professional show jumper?

Work ethic is number one for me and I think it is the same in all sports. You have to work hard in order to achieve your goals and you have to be willing to learn. It is also very important to have good people behind you who you trust. Finally, a good relationship with your owners is so important because the role of the owners has evolved so much.

What impact has your owner had on your career?

I have a very good owner and I am very lucky that I could keep riding Igor because a lot of people wanted to buy him. Our sport is not just about riding; it’s about finding the right horses and the right partnerships and that is where the importance of the owners come in; it really is a team effort.

You are almost 40 years younger than some of top riders who are still competing – what are the tools you need to have such a long career?

It’s hard to say, but definitely the most important thing is to have the right horse. Even if you’re 50 you can always learn and keep improving and I think if you have a good horse you can perform at the highest level whatever your age. I have a lot of respect for Ludger Beerbaum who has had an incredible year and always kept the right people behind him. It’s only until you’re in the sport that you realise how difficult it is to have the right horse, the right management, and the right team; you need all pieces in the puzzle, really.

Words from Karen Polle, Japanese rider:

Do you feel a responsibility to help grow the sport of show jumping in Asia?

I am really glad to see that the sport is growing in Asia. As a Japanese and Asian rider, I definitely feel a responsibility and want to play whatever part I can in expanding the sport. I think at least in Japan there is a big interest in horse racing, but not so much show jumping. I think the reason it’s not as popular yet is because it’s not quite as well-known, but I think once people learn how great show jumping is and how great the horses are, I do think it will become very popular. It is all about building awareness around the sport and I think with the Olympic Games coming up this is starting to happen, which is great. The Japanese eventing team is very strong, both individually and as a team. Also, they are hosting an Asian Championship in Thailand in December for the first time and that involves a lot of investment and infrastructure, so there definitely is a growing interest in the sport.

When did you decide you wanted to be a show jumper?

Probably when I was a junior. I competed in the US national jumper championships, and I went into it being a real under-dog. I had an amazing week and my horse was incredible and we ended up winning which was very special. After that I understood what it felt like to win and that’s when I knew I wanted to do show jumping. I thought to myself, if I work really hard, I could maybe achieve more. After that moment I just absolutely loved show jumping and it catapulted from there.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam