By Jan Westmark-Allan
Glory Me! Or should I say Glory Days! The first time I interviewed Jessica Springsteen, the daughter of rock star Bruce Springsteen, she was 15 years old. She was riding at Beacon Hill Show Stables then and was an up-and-coming rider. While I was interviewing her I asked if she had a head shot I could use for the story – and a few days later Bruce took a great black and white photo (I am including the photo here) of Jessica and sent it to me. Bruce: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and photographer!
A lot can happen in five years because the Springsteen’s just bought Jessica a Gold Medal Olympic horse – the show jumper, Murka’s Vindicat W, ridden by British rider Peter Charles in the 2012 Olympics in London. Thanks to her new horse, Jessica is Born to Run! (or maybe Born to Ride)
Jessica trains with Olympian Laura Kraut now and has her sights set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio. The 20-year-old daughter of the music legend is currently in Europe showing, but hopefully she had time to check her Facebook page and saw the post from Peter Charles. He said, “ I wish Jessica the best of luck with him and I am sure he will make her proud too.”
Jessica is a talented rider and combined with a talented horse it could end up being a win-win situation for Jessica and the United States show jumping team. But for now, let’s take a little stroll back through time and see what Jessica was doing when I interviewed her in June of 2007.
On Course with Junior Rider Jessica Springsteen
By Jan Westmark
Jessica Springsteen may be the daughter of legendary musician Bruce Springsteen, but she would much rather talk about her horses than her dad’s music. In fact, with her infectious giggle and passion for showing Jessica is just like many horse crazy teenagers across the country.
While some kids with famous parents follow in their parents’ footsteps (Jessica’s mom is musician Patti Scialfa) Jessica has chosen to pick up the reins instead of sing or play the guitar. “I can play the piano and I like listening to music but I don’t see myself ending up being a musician,” Jessica said.
Instead, Jessica sees herself as a rider. She started riding when she was little because her parents owned a farm and her mom rode, and today at 15, Jessica is making her mark on the show world in the hunters, the jumpers and in the equitation divisions.
“My first pony’s name was Muffin and I had her when I was about four-years-old. My brothers and I used to all pile on her back and get led around,” Jessica said. “Then I moved up to a pony named Shamrock and I showed him in the mini-stirrup and he took me up to the children’s ponies.”
I watched Jessica show at the Winter Equestrian Festival but didn’t get a chance to talk with her until she had returned home to New Jersey. I told her I heard her name announced in the ribbons a great deal throughout the show and she excitedly told me she had won the Christy Conard Perpetual Trophy for Equestrian Excellence. The trophy is given each year to the young equestrian who accumulates the most points in the USEF Hunter Seat Medal, USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, ASPCA Maclay and the WIHS Overall equitation classes held during WEF.
Jessica shows with Frank and Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill, a training team that is known for producing equitation champions. “I have known Frank and Stacia since I was very young because my parents knew them. When I first started riding I was very shy and would barely talk at all. But now that is very different,” Jessica said, laughing. “I have been riding with Frank and Stacia since I was about six or seven and I love training with them because I learn new things in every lesson.”
Showing keeps Jessica busy many weekends out of the year, and her days at the shows are equally busy. “I show hunters, jumpers and in the equitation divisions and I love going from ring to ring. It used to be hard for me to switch gears after flying around in the jumpers to then go and do the hunters,” Jessica said. “But I am used to it now and the day just flies by.”
Jessica shows her horse Sublime in the 15 & under small junior hunters and Tiziano in the younger large juniors. In the jumper ring she rides La Movida in the high junior jumpers and also has an up and coming jumper. “I also own Papillion and this is my first year showing him and he shows in the equitation,” she said.
Jessica recently moved La Movida from the low junior jumpers to the high junior jumpers and we talked about whether it was scary showing at the bigger heights. “I was really nervous the first time going onto the grand prix field but my horse went so well in the field and that really gave me a lot of confidence,” she said.
Jessica said she has different goals for each of her horses, but winning an equitation final with Papillion would definitely make her happy. “This has been such a great year so far. It was great being in Florida for two months and I was really happy with the way my horses went. My hunters Sublime and Tiziano were so great and both ended up reserve circuit champion. I hope the rest of the year goes as well as it has been,” she said.
I asked Jessica if people treated her differently at shows because she has famous parents. “Not at all,” she said, adding that her mom rides English and her dad rides western. “And when my parents come to the shows they always give my horses lots of kisses and treats!”