For the last four years, Jennifer Gates has been the best kind of over-achiever: balancing the rigors of higher education with a demanding training and competition schedule. It’s been hard work, but she's not one to shy away from that (she may be small, but the girl is mighty). Currently, she’s seizing an opportunity to take a break from her studies (see this article for more riders who've mastered the school/competition balancing act) to ride full-time before beginning the next crazy and wildly intense phase of her collegiate career - medical school.
“As I considered the option of jumping straight into med school, I realized that I have never focused solely on my riding to see where it would go,” says 22-year-old Jenn, who completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford last month.
As a professional show jumper for over twenty years, it’s safe to say that Jeroen Dubbeldam knows how to stay level-headed when dealing with the ups and downs that come with the horse business. With a career that spans over 1,500 competitions (according to FEI records), Dubbeldam’s experience and expertise are sensed immediately when he speaks about his past mounts who have shaped his career into what it is today.
At the age of 27, Dubbeldam proved he was a force to be reckoned with, winning Olympic gold in Sydney aboard his legendary mount, De Sjiem. Following his illustrious partnership aboard De Sjiem, which also includes a win at the 2001 Grand Prix of Aachen, Dubbeldam’s career quieted down. Little did we know that he was quietly building a string that would impress the world for years to come.
The Longines New York Masters is not a quiet show, and during the Six Bar ‘Masters Power’ competition, the crowd couldn’t hide their delight as first Devin Ryan and Florida, and then Jane Richard Philips and Calinesse de Guldenboom, cleared the massive, nearly-1.70m vertical at the end of the indoor venue at NYCB Live in Uniondale, New York.
But when Daniel Michan Halbinger rode his black Oldenburg mare, Cosa Nostra (Conthargos—Quicenta, by Quintender), into the ring and cleared the series of careful fences to the very top of the standards—including the custom ones made to accommodate the unusual height of the final element—even the commentators (including yours truly) were held momentarily speechless.