Nineteen-year-old Alexandra Tett has dual citizenship with the African country of Zimbabwe, courtesy of her father’s side of the family, which gives her a unique opportunity – the chance to represent Zimbabwe at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, a chance many people only ever dream of.
“I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics, from the day I started doing this, but I didn’t quite know how to get there,” Tett explained. “I knew it was going to take forever if I was even lucky enough to do it for the United States, and I wanted that shot so badly. I decided to make the change in order to try to pursue that this year. I knew it was a little bit of a long shot, but it’s an opportunity and I’m going to take it.”
Her journey to the East Coast began with a chance job offer from Matt Brown. When Tett missed out on the opportunity to go to the North American Youth Championships due to a broken arm, she admitted to feeling very discouraged. She took a clinic with Brown, and that’s when she got the offer to move to the East Coast and join his operation as a working student.
“I came out [to the East Coast] and I was living by myself in my horse trailer and working for Matt Brown, putting in hours and just sort of getting used to the East Coast. I was a working student for him for about a year before I had to retract and focus on school.” Now, nearly three years later, Tett carries a full-time course load as a second-year student at the University of Delaware and trains with Phillip Dutton.
It was during her time with Brown that she met her current partner, Hawk’s Cay. Tett and Hawk’s Cay (pronounced “Key”) have been partnered together for almost three years now. “For me, it’s a relatively new partnership,” Tett said. “I got him to get experience through the levels. He’s just the bravest cross-country horse that I’ve ever sat on – you point him at something and he says, ‘Yes ma’am.’ He will jump no matter what – he’s absolutely incredible for me as a greener rider. He’s taught me a lot in the dressage. He’s not the easiest – mentally he struggles a little bit but I’ve had to learn as a rider how to be sensitive to it and find the right program that works for him so he’s helped me grow a lot. He’s just the most incredible partner. There’s no horse I’d rather be sitting on at this level.”
“We’ve got a lot of pressure on us this year to qualify," Tett explained. In order to qualify to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as one of the 20 individual athletes, Tett first needs to accumulate enough points based on her results to sit at the top of the FEI Olympic Ranking for Group F, which includes Africa and the Middle East. “I have to get that done, which requires getting points at the four-star level this year. I have until December 1 to get to one of those top two spots and then I have until June of 2020 to make the qualifications.” Those necessary qualifications consist of a CCI4*-S and a CCI4*-L, both with MER results.
“This year is a big focus on points and being competitive – whether that’s short formats or long formats – whatever we need to do, as long as it’s at the level,” Tett continued. “You need to finish in the top 25 percent of the division to get points.”
“My goal is not to go and get a gold medal,” Tett said. “If I get my horse on that plane to Tokyo I will be a happy camper. [I want to go and] be a part of it, get through those finish flags because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity in the first place and that would mean more to me than anything.”
“I’m so proud to represent my dad’s country, I know it means a lot to him and that whole side of my family. It’s a huge part of the family, it means a lot to them and I’m really happy to be able to do it.”
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While her two horses swapped places for first and second after cross-country, Tamra Smith maintained both the lead and second place with two clear rounds and minimal time faults at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event Presented by BW Furlong and Associates and Zoetis. The 16-year-old Hanoverian mare En Vogue (Earl x Laurena) is just a little more experienced than her barn mate Danito, also owned by Ruth Bley, so she was also a little quicker around the big, challenging course that twisted and turned through the Horse Park of New Jersey. En Vogue leads on a 27.1 and Danito is second with 31.9, with Boyd Martin maintaining third place with the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Luke 140 (Landos x Omega VI), owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate.
California rider Tamra Smith holds the lead and second position in the CCI4*-L at the Jersey Fresh International (JFI) CCI at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown. Smith scored 23.9 today with Danito, Ruth Bley’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik), to take the lead from her other mount, the 16-year-old Hanoverian mare (Earl x Laurena) En Vogue, also owned by Bley, who was the overnight leader after scoring 24.3 yesterday. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, Pa. holds third place with Luke 140, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos x Omega VI) owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, on a score of 25.6.
It is with immense sadness that we announce the cancellation of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2021 which was due to be held later this year from September 2-5, 2021.
Despite the continued easing of lockdown measures, the nationwide vaccination program, and the hope within the Government Roadmap for unlocking the country, there have been and remain too many variables and uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver this much-loved international event.