CHIO Aachen seems to attract a lot of American riders, what makes it such a special show for the US Team?
I think everything, the atmosphere here, the crowds, the infrastructure for us and the horses, the tradition and the prize money, they have everything to make it special.
It’s a huge arena, what’s it like to ride in?
For me, it’s a lot of fun, I love big fields, my horse Darry Lou, loves big fields so I feel really at home here.
The US Jumping team for the Nations Cup team was heavily dominated by women, it seems that in the US the sport is dominated by women, but less so in Europe. Can you talk about your thoughts on this?
When you grow up in the States, the little girls love to ride, and the boys are off doing other sports all the time. So as a young kid, growing up it was really girls who were riding, not boys. Once we got to international level its equal in the US.
Travelling across from the States is a big task, does it effect the performance of the horses? How do you cope with the travel?
It depends on the horse, most horses are fine with it. We try to plan it that they don’t arrive and then compete in the following couple of days. My horses came from Spruce Meadows, it takes a week for them to travel, recover from the trip and then get ready to compete again.
You’ve had a long and successful career, what has kept you at the top for such a long time?
I think, number one you need to have the passion for it, the love of the horses and the competition. I also have a fantastic team behind me, from the people that work in the stables, to my husband John who runs everything, and I have a great owner.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A previous British Chef d’Équipe told me once, “to go in there and enjoy yourself”. We asked him to explain this, and he said “if you go in there and enjoy yourself, you allow yourself to be the best you can be and ride the best you can ride”, so I thought that was great advice.
Do you still get nervous?
Not too nervous, I haven’t ever suffered badly from nerves. But I’d be lying if I said I never got nervous. Once I’m on the horse, I feel pretty good.
Source: Press release from Rolex Grand Slam
Photo: © Rolex / Tiffany van Halle