Tag Archives: Emily Moffitt

Dublin Horse Show 2019

FROM ZERO TO HERO: BRITISH SHOWJUMPING SCORE TRIUMPHANT WIN IN DUBLIN NATIONS CUP

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Ellie Kelly reporting from the Royal Dublin Show

 

Last week we published a story about the future of British showjumping. This week we want to retract it. The Brits are back on top after decisive win at Dublin on Friday following on from Ben Maher claiming his fifth London Global Champions title.

 

When the going gets tough, the British get going. It was the final leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup at the Royal Dublin Show. Team GB were at the bottom of the Western European table after a disappointing season and the chance of qualifying for the Final seemed long gone. Our British riders showed enormous courage, stoicism. Di Lampard’s team of Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Holly Smith and Emily Moffitt, jumped phenomenally to finish the two round competition on just one time penalty. Some 11 points ahead of Italy in second with Ireland in third on 16 points.

 

The Nations Cup victory propelled the British team from the bottom of their division to seventh place – a result which has booked them a ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. The significance of this is that it offers another chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in addition to the European Championships in Rotterdam, later this month.

 

This has been a challenging period for British showjumping who despite winning team gold in London 2012 and individual gold in Rio 2016 are still not qualified for Tokyo 2020. They are also reliant on good results to retain their significant Lottery Funding. For the majority of the Nations Cup season Britain have existed at the bottom of the table for the Western European League. The pressure was immense in Dublin, yet they put in a stellar performance and pulled off victory without needing Holly Smith to compete in the second round.

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It must have come as a huge relief to Performance Manager Di Lampard who has been challenged by a lack of choice available to the British team in terms of strong horse-rider combinations, for a number of seasons. She was full of praise for the number of loyal British owners who have put their faith in the British system and made their horses available for these championships.

 

“We’ve ridden the storm this season, we’ve had the downs and the difficulties, but it had to change, some time and with a good team and the right spirit I felt it was going to come right this week”said Di after collecting the coveted Aga Khan Trophy, at a prize-giving ceremony attended by The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. This was the 27th British win of the prestigious Aga Khan Trophy in the 93 year history of the event.

 

Di herself has been a winning rider of this trophy, during her career as a leading showjumper. “I remember 1996, winning the Aga Khan Cup with Abbervail Dream, the sportsmanship of the crowd was incredible as we went toe to toe with the Irish” she reflected.

Dublin Horse Show 2019

“With the win we secure a place in the Barcelona final and we were determined to carry that out – the Aga Khan trophy was always coming home with us!” As she pointed out, there’s been something of a generational shift going on in British showjumping.

 

“Over the last three years we’ve been producing young riders and a larger squad of riders, and you can’t rush these things. They need the right horses and they need owners to stick with them and that all takes time”she explained. The changing of the guard can indeed be a painful process, but today’s result showed that British showjumping is definitely on an upward curve once again.

 

Rider injury has also plagued the British camp and three of the team members have suffered heavy falls in recent week. This was Holly Smith’s first competition back since breaking her shoulder five weeks ago. Amanda Derbyshire, who has had a successful show at Dublin but was not competing in the Nations Cup. Her other top horse Roulette, was sidelined after a crashing fall of horse and rider at the Hickstead Nations Cup last month which left Amanda in hospital with facial injuries and her horse at Newmarket Equine Hospital where he is recovering well.

 

With this pivotal victory achieved in fine style, Di Lampard is focused on the Longines FEI European Championships later in the month where Maher, Brash and Smith will be joined by Amanda Derbyshire and Laura Renwick on the British Team. “Now we are really confident about going to Rotterdam and winning a medal and our place in Tokyo” she said.

Edwina Tops-Alexander speaks with Horse Scout

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Edwina Tops-Alexander speaks with Horse Scout.  Girl on Top, by Horse Scout press Ellie Kelly./

Edwina Tops-Alexander

I think I have a girl-crush on Edwina Tops-Alexander…

She is a chick who has nailed it in life. Born with talent and good looks, together with effortless style and the will to win. Then throw in a successful husband and having her first baby at the age of 43, life must feel pretty good.

It widely noted that unlike in eventing and dressage, there is an absence of female riders at the top of the jumping world rankings. Therefore it was particularly significant to see Edwina head the Western European League World Cup Rankings after Olympia especially in a region that is home to many of the most successful riders in the sport. Below Edwina, the ranking list features predominantly men, all the way down to Emily Moffitt who is the next highest female in 27th place as this goes to print.

As we go into the New Year, social media is awash with motivational quotes but one I believe to be true is the notion that “You make your own luck” and Edwina Tops-Alexander is living proof. Born to unhorsey parents in the suburbs of Australia, she took up riding at the age of eight. She joined the Pony Club and her love of show jumping developed throughout her teens. After winning the Australian Young Rider Championships in 1998, Edwina made it her mission to compete against all the best riders in the world. After leaving sunny Sydney where she was a big fish in a small pond, Edwina made a brave move to Belgium where she was virtually unheard of. She took a job working for Ludo Philippaerts and through hard work and determination, quickly made her mark on the European scene. There she met her husband, Jan Tops, the former international rider and founder of the Global Champions Tour.

Today Edwina is one of the most successful showjumpers in the world, dominating the world rankings, competing at three Olympics and four World Games. The Australian beauty is seen as a style icon in the equestrian world- with an entire riding wardrobe designed by Gucci and reinforced by the 78.5k followers she has on Instagram. Earlier this year Edwina announced she was taking a break to have a baby with her husband and on 31st July, Jan and Edwina welcomed a daughter Chloe, to the world. Just over a month after giving birth, Edwina returned to the ring.

It was not long before Edwina was back to her winning ways. In December, she was beating the boys in the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup at La Coruna, Spain, partnered by the super little mare, California. Then it was off to the London International Horse Show at Olympia where she finished in third place on Inca Boy van T Vianahof. This a nine year old horse and only their sixth show together as she has only been riding for two months. He was produced in Britain by Tim Wilkes. It was this result which then placed her at the top of the Western European league in the Longines FEI World Cup Series.

We caught up with Edwina at Olympia about whether being a mother had altered her outlook on sport and in life.

“Yes life has changed. I don’t worry about things, except for worrying about Chloe I guess. It did me good to have a bit of a break. It’s hard to do this sport and go every week and stay on top. There is a lot of pressure involved to stay in the rankings. So it actually gave me an opportunity to have a bit of a break from competition. It’s a great feeling to be a mother” she explained.

“I think it’s also positive for other women to see that you can come back to sport and it doesn’t have to hinder your lifestyle and your goals” she says.

So maybe Edwina is a sign of the changing times and proof that with grit and determination (and a decent baby sitter) women can have it all.