Only a few weeks until the Washington International Horse Show. Carla Lake has your preview of the qualifying riders–plus video!
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Each fall, top showjumpers come to play at Washington International. And by “play,” I mean “compete for thousands of dollars.”
LESLIE BURR HOWARD: Howard has crossed paths with some of the horse and human legends of showjumping throughout her career, from when she began her training at age 14 with George Morris to competing Gem Twist in the early 1990s. The video above shows the development of Extreme, the horse she rode to a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics.
TODD MINIKUS: Aside from being one of the top showjumpers in the world, with over 75 Grand Prix wins and competing in multiple FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals and Nations Cup teams, Minikus spends his spare time bull-riding. No big deal.
MARGIE GOLDSTEIN-ENGLE: Goldstein-Engle came from modest means, but she was certainly born in the right place for showjumping: Wellington, Florida. Growing up she did everything from babysitting to cleaning kennels in order to pay for lessons, and it certainly paid off–today she has over 201 Grand Prix wins under her belt and is a 10-time winner of the AGA Rider of the Year award, among many other accolades. In this video she goes head-to-head with Reed Kessler.
CANDICE KING: King started out riding Western, but the jumper ring stole her heart, and by the age of 19 King had gone pro. Now she trains and competes Grand Prix horses in Wellington.
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN: The first thing you usually hear about Jessica Springsteen is her father–but she shines in her own right, competing in CSI5* showjumping events internationally and training with Laura Kraut..all while attending Duke University.
LILLIE KEENAN: If you thought Reed Kessler was the best thing since no-tie hairnets, watch out–Lillie Keenan is a force to be reckoned with. She's only 15, and just won her first Grand Prix this past June. Of course she tweeted about it.
AARON VALE: Vale's record-beating performance, from most prize money won in a single year to most Grand Prix wins in a year, has earned him a spot on the WIHS qualifying list again. He currently trains out of Thinkslikeahorse, his farm in Ocala which was named after his first AOL screen name.
MEAGAN NUSZ: Meagan Nusz is a newcomer to the Grand Prix, though she's competed as an amateur at WIHS before. She just completed two of her first major wins just this May. She says her trainer Kent Farrington has been the most influential person in her riding career.
ALISE OKEN: Oken is another new face in the big leagues, though she's long competed in the hunter/jumper circuit. Her main ride is Teirra, a KWPN mare formerly owned by her trainer Laura Kraut.
Who's your favorite?