Excerpt from the June issue of Heels Down Magazine.
It’s not uncommon for top American show jumpers to migrate overseas temporarily to further their riding education with European trainers.
Reed Kessler was among the first to do so in recent years when she traveled to Germany to work with Marcus Ehning. The trend has been gaining steam among top young contenders ever since: Lillie Keenan is riding with Ireland’s Cian O’Connor; the Porter brothers have trained with Dutch show jumper Jeroen Dubbeldam; Lucy Davis rides with Markus and Meredith Beerbaum; Katie Dinan has worked with Switzerland’s Beat Mändli. That’s just to name a few.
All of these riders got their start learning the American style of riding, which is steeped deeply in equitation, from U.S.-based trainers before taking their educations abroad. Does this new international trend threaten to topple the base of top show jumpers born and trained in America?
Frank Madden doesn’t think so. Quite the contrary, he believes it only makes the U.S.A’s top riders more competitive.
“It’s natural for any young person to fall in love with the idea of traveling,” Frank says. “They should want to see what else is out there. That’s par for the course.”