Individual sport is an inherently selfish way of life - it has to be. Of course, the team behind a top sportsman or woman is essential to their success, but once you’re out there on the field of play, be it an athletics track, a swimming pool, or a cross-country course, it is down to you, and you alone.
As an athlete, trainer, and coach, five-star rider Allison Springer is revered throughout the eventing world and beyond for her commitment to the sport and to her horses. Short-listed for the U.S. Eventing Team for the 2012 Olympics in London, Springer has been named to multiple USEF High Performance Training Lists and led the charge for the FEI rule change put into effect this year which mandates helmets be worn while mounted for all disciplines. Her training program consistently produces horses and riders who achieve success across all levels of the sport.
James Alliston made out like a king earlier this summer at The Event at Rebecca Farm with wins in the CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L aboard Paper Jam and Nemesis respectively. We caught up with Alliston to chat about his horses, competing on the West Coast, his time in the States, and how it compares to competing in England.
Emma Ford is one of the most experienced and best-known grooms on the eventing circuit. She’s just back from the Tokyo Olympics - and planning a big life change. We catch up with her to find out what’s next, and what advice she has for anyone who wants to make a career out of grooming.
Rosie Napravnik currently sits in the sixth place position after the dressage and cross-country phases in the Bates USEA Preliminary Rider division at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The 2021 event is both her and her horse, Sanimo's, first eventing championship ever. However, she is no stranger to standing in the winner’s circle aboard a Thoroughbred. At only 33 years old, Napravnik is one of the most decorated Thoroughbred horse racing jockeys of her time having achieved the status of highest-ranked woman jockey in North America by 2014.
What is a five-star event horse made of? Undoubtedly they are fit, athletic, keen, and possess quite a bit of grit. Most five-star horses don’t share a lot of qualities in common with a lower-level, amateur-friendly mount, but 16-year-old Thoroughbred Jak My Style breaks the mold and happily takes his owner Kathleen Cuca around Beginner Novice when he isn’t helping his rider Buck Davidson tackle some of the biggest cross country courses in the world. Just a few months after competing at the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2021, “Jak” returned to competition at the Essex Horse Trials with owner Cuca in the irons to finish ninth in the Open Beginner Novice division.
Very few stallions compete at the top level in eventing - let alone at the Olympics. Windfall did just that, winning a team bronze medal under Darren Chiacchia for the USA in Athens in 2004. The fact that Windfall now has not one, but two, sons due themselves to compete for the same country as their sire, the USA, in Tokyo really does make him one in a million.
We know a lot about the athletes representing the USA on our Tokyo team, but what about those essential people, the grooms? Catherine Austen finds out more about Courtney Carson, Emma Ford, Bridget London, and Steph Simpson in this edition of Tokyo Talk.
Phillip Dutton and Z are on the road to Tokyo! Dutton, the 6-time Olympian, is going into his 7th Olympic Games. Dutton’s first three Olympics he represented Australia and helped secure the team gold medal twice (1996 - team gold, 2000 - team gold, and 2004). The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were the first Olympic Games that Dutton rode for the U.S., and he has been on the U.S. Olympic team ever since. Dutton’s most recent Olympic performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he earned the individual bronze medal with Mighty Nice.
Australian eventing legend Andrew Hoy may be approaching his eighth Olympic Games, but the thrill of the world’s greatest sporting showpiece never dims.
“It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it,” he says.
Andrew, 62, has already taken part in more Olympics than any other Australian athlete. His first was Los Angeles in 1984, and he has been to every one since, except for Beijing in 2008. He has three team gold medals - from Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, and Sydney in 2000, and an individual silver from Sydney, too.