What are you hoping to achieve between now and the end of the year?
I really am hoping to have a great week this week at CHIO Aachen. This horse show is one I’ve dreamed of coming to for years, so to have a really great week would be a perfect end of the year.
What are your plans, dreams and ambitions for 2022?
The World Championships being next summer is a huge goal of mine, so I’m starting to really focus on that. Otherwise, just focusing on the young horses stepping up and developing them.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
There have been a few, for different reasons. But I’d say one that’s very special to me was my first 3* Grand Prix win at Live Oak, which was on my junior jumper, who I’d had for several years, so it was a big win for both of us.
Who has inspired you the most throughout your career?
So many different people, it would be hard to just pick one. Currently, there’s Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton, who are both helping me – they’re a huge inspiration. My parents inspire me, and Lesley Leeman, who takes care of my horses – she inspires me every day, she works so hard, and she take such good care of the horses. All of those people have inspired me to be my best self.
What keeps you motivated and hungry for success?
My love for the horses. It’s been my passion since I was a little kid, and I’ve never really known any different. I didn’t really come from a horse family, so it all starts with me. I’d say horses motivate me the most.
Tell us a little bit about the horses you’ve brought to CHIO Aachen this week…
I have two horses here, who are both owned by Ann Thompson – Balou Du Reventon and Gelano. Gelano is a newer mount to me, who I got a few months ago, so I’m still getting to know him. Balou has been with me for under a year. They’re both fantastic horses, so I think I have a good shot for this week.
Which of your young horses are you most excited about?
There’s one who I own myself called Mtm Los Angeles. He’s not really a young horse, but he had a really big seven-year-old year, so we took it really slow. He’s nine now so we’re getting him back on the scene again, and he seems really promising. There’s another one I ride called Nolo Contendere, who’s owned by Lindsay Maxwell. He’s a six-year-old and I think he’s got everything.
How much of a boost does it give you having fans back at shows?
I think atmosphere is everything at horse shows like this. I live for the crowd and the overall experience, so I think for the horses and myself, it really puts us in our game zone.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
In terms of riding, I would say smooth is fast. It’s a good piece of advice.
How positive do you believe the Rolex Grand Slam has been for the sport of show jumping?
It great for the sport, and it’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. To now be a part of it and showing at these shows, it’s really a dream come true. I think a lot of riders look up to it and it’s just great!
What makes CHIO Aachen such a special show for you?
There’s no horse show like Aachen in the world. I’ve been to Spruce Meadows a few times and it’s a great atmosphere and a great ring, but you come to Aachen and your jaw drops. The atmosphere and all the ring, the ground is just incredible. You feel as though you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to come and what you’re going to get. You can rely on it, it’s one of the best – it is the best!
Source: Press Release from Rolex Grand Slam
Photo: © Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder / CHIO Aachen