Jessica Springsteen believes she found the horse that can help her accomplish long-term show jumping goals, such as qualifying for her first Longines FEI World Cup™ Final, World Equestrian Games and Olympics.
Springsteen, the daughter of famous rocker Bruce Springsteen, has been riding Cynar VA for about one year, not an incredibly long time, but is already gushing.
“He’s definitely the most talented horse that I’ve ever had,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Springsteen has been competitive in U.S. jumping for several years despite her youth (she turns 25 on Dec. 30). She was the 14th-ranked rider in the final standings when the four-rider 2012 Olympic team was announced.
By April 2014, Springsteen had risen to No. 2 on the U.S. Equestrian rider/horse list before the horse, Vindicat W, was sidelined by leg tendon problems.
The injury severely harmed Springsteen’s Rio Olympic chances as her rider/horse ranking plummeted. This past April, she did not make the short list of 10 rider/horse combinations for U.S. Olympic team consideration.
Still, Springsteen is younger than all but two U.S. Olympic jumping riders from the last four Games. And she still has plenty of promise.
In September, Springsteen won her first five-star Grand Prix, the biggest victory of her career. She’s now fifth in the U.S. jumping rankings. The top four riders are all Olympians and all at least 10 years older.
Springsteen hoped to reach the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha in April, but her results in early qualifiers have not been as strong as she hoped.
Springsteen and Cynar VA placed seventh in Toronto on Wednesday, while U.S. Olympians McLain Ward and Kent Farrington went one-two, followed by four non-Americans.
“Even if I don’t make it next year [to the final], there’s always that year after,” she said, emphasizing that Cynar VA is still a “newer ride” for her.
Springsteen can’t possibly put her finger on 2020 Olympic chances so far out, especially given what happened in the last cycle.
“It’s so hard in this sport because everything goes into timing,” she said. “You have to have the right horse at the right time, and you have to be performing really well. The horse I have right now definitely has the ability. He’s a true championship horse.”Follow @nzaccardi