Jessica Springsteen reflects on showjumping beginnings
American rider, daughter of Bruce Springsteen, is competing in the LGCT
She might be more readily associated with one of the most famous rock ’n’ roll stars of all time, but Jessica Springsteen first took up showjumping because of her mother.
It was the early 1990s and the Springsteen family moved from Los Angeles to a farm in Monmouth County.
“My mum had always wanted to ride so we moved to a farm in New Jersey,” Springsteen tells CNN Equestrian, having received her first pony aged six.
“She started taking lessons and then I also wanted to start. I never wanted to miss a lesson and I ended up being right across the street from a really top junior training barn called Beacon Hill.
“It has all sort of evolved from there.”
Springsteen, now an elite rider on the Longines Global Champions Tour, first considered pursuing the sport full time when she saw the level of competition outside of the US following her freshman year at college.
“It was when I came to Europe for the first time and competed on the young rider tour,” she reflects.
“I came to some of the global shows and jumped the two star. That’s when I got really motivated and knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
After graduating from Duke University in 2014, Springsteen took a leap of faith by moving to Holland where she is now settled in the small town of Valkenswaard.
For the 25-year-old, the best thing about being based in the Netherlands isn’t the proximity to some of the best facilities in the world but the happiness of her horses.
“It’s so great,” she enthuses. “They have the woods, two indoor rings and the amazing [Valkenswaard] ring. I think the horses are really, really happy over here.”
Though it wasn’t easy leaving her previous routine behind, Springsteen has no regrets.
“Yeah, of course I missed my friends and family,” she says. “Fortunately I get to go home quite a bit.
“I think I’ve done quite a good job of balancing it out.”
Life on the LGCT doesn’t allow the riders to stay in one place for long.
“There’s a lot of traveling, a lot of packing and unpacking, but we’re going to some of the most beautiful cities in the world so I really can’t complain,” says Springsteen. “You kind of feel like you’re on a vacation.
“I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love every day. I love working with horses, and I can’t imagine not having them in my life.”
Springsteen won’t have to travel far for her next outing, held at the state-of-the-art Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard.
With 12 of the 15 rounds of the season already completed, she sits in 60th position out of 88 in the rankings.
“When I was little I remember watching people compete at the highest level and thinking ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to be forever until I’m going to get there,’” says Springsteen.
“To be doing it now, I feel really lucky. It’s exactly what I hoped I’d be doing.
“It really makes you rise to the occasion. You have to ride your best, you have to be at the top of your game, and you have to be really focused.
“Being around that group of riders really inspires you and motivates you a lot. ”