Past, Present, Future: Cynar VA

Past, Present, Future: Cynar VA
Jessica Springsteen & Cynar VA.
Jessica Springsteen & Cynar VA.

There are horses that can jump, and then there are horses that can fly. Cynar VA happens to be one of the latter, and with his rider Jessica Springsteen, the introduction of their names alone is enough to have spectators sitting at the edge of their seats during a grand prix.

In the fall of 2015, Martin Fuchs of Switzerland sold Cynar, who at the time was his Olympic caliber mount, to the stables of Jan Tops and Edwina Tops Alexander in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. As a student of the Tops, Springsteen was connected with the 10 year-old Zangersheide gelding (Clarimo x Alcatraz) and purchased him very soon thereafter.

Cynar had big shoes to fill upon his arrival at Springsteen’s Stone Hill Farm in New Jersey, but it’s safe to say that he has since earned his stripes both on and off the pitch. Springsteen piloted him to win her first CSI5* class in September of 2016, the Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix in New York, USA. The duo have several top 10 grand prix finishes under their belts, and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon as they continue to perfect their evolving partnership.

With the help of Cynar’s “personal headrest” and groom, Esther Bukkems, we were able to explore the life of Cynar, a horse who goes by no other name, and who initially, wasn’t one of the most favored mounts in Springsteen’s string of horses. His future seems to be filled with an endless array of possibilities, but there’s a lot more to this crowd favorite than initially meets the eye.


  • She felt that he had a lot of power and potential, and the first thing they really did [when she first got him] was try to bond and try to trust each other. Because his canter is so bouncy, she had a bit of a hard time learning to sit it at first.
  • In the beginning, he was very pushy. He would bump his head against me, and try to run out of the stall. The first time I clipped him he nearly ran away. But at some point he really started clicking with everyone and he’s the sweetest thing ever now. It took him quite a while to really settle in but it’s night and day from a little over a year ago to now.
  • We were actually never planning on winning the $1 Million Grand Prix! We were just using it as a warm up for the Gold Cup [American Gold up in NY] the week after. She was clear in the first round and we thought that she would go for a nice clear jump off, and she said “I’m going to win this.” It was never the plan.
  • He does a maximum of two shows in a row and then he’ll have 1 or 2 weeks off.
  • The last World Cup he did was Kentucky [Longines FEI World Cup Lexington, Ky] and Toronto [Longines FEI World Cup Toronto]. After the indoor season they all got two months off, so he’s just coming off of a long break.


  • He doesn’t have a nickname. Everyone else in the barn has one but he doesn’t.
  • He eats his breakfast and when he’s done he’ll go out in the field until he needs to get ridden, or he’ll just be out as long as possible. He loves being outside, and he’s very well behaved at home.
  • We ride him six days a week. If we are on a show schedule, we school him a couple days before the show. If he has time off, we try to school him a little bit, maybe once a week, just to keep him fit. He is jumped at least once a week.
  • Together Jessica and Cynar are working on the last details, like if she gives leg is he going to be too responsive, or if she doesn’t give leg is he going to keep going. Very normal stuff, not really something specific.


  • As of now he’s going to do the World Cup Qualifier at the Palm Beach Masters on February 3, and he’ll do the five star the week after at WEF and most likely the five star again during WEF 7.
  • We really hope to make it into the 2018 World Equestrian Games. He’s in such good form now especially after his break, so hopefully he will prove himself this week and next week.
  • The 2020 Olympics are another potential goal. We have Tiger Lily, that’s a very big possibility as well. As of now she’s going for it with Cynar. That’s her goal.
  • I hope that he’s going to stay with us until he retires. I think he stole all of our hearts. He’s really cool, he’s really nice to jump and to ride, and I hope they can manage to win a lot more grand prix classes.