The United States Equestrian Team Foundation has selected 22-year-old Jessica Springsteen as its 2014 Maxine Beard Award recipient. The honor is based on a rider’s competitive record and potential to represent the United States in international competition.
Springsteen, Colts Neck, N.J., took top honors at many of the country’s most prestigious events throughout her junior years. In 2008, she won the ASPCA Maclay National Championship (N.Y.), and in 2009 she won the George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship (Fla.).
“She was one of the most decisive winners of the ASPCA Maclay Championship,” noted Morris. “She had a great career as a junior, and she has a very promising career as a grand prix rider. She's very competitive and always does great under pressure. I think she is a very deserving winner.”
In 2010, Springsteen claimed young rider individual bronze at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (Ky.), and in 2013, she picked up wins in the $82,000 Suncast 1.50m Jumper Classics during Weeks IX and XII of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.
Her success on that circuit continued this year with a second-placed finish in the $280,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W, as well as third in the Ruby Et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round XII and the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI*****.
Springsteen is currently pursuing a psychology degree at Duke University (N.C.), and her busy schedule there will unfortunately preclude her from taking advantage of the traditional reward associated with the Maxine Beard Award: traveling as part of the U.S. delegation to the FEI World Cup Final in Europe to observe the operations of an international championship, including the stabling area, veterinary inspections and schooling, and walking the courses with U.S. chef d’equipe.
In this area, however, Springsteen already has some experience. She and Vindicat W have competed as part of the Global Champions Tour for the past two years, and Springsteen has represented the United States in nations cup competitions.
“The whole emphasis that we have been trying to place over the last year is keeping the pipeline in order between our veterans at the top and the next generation of riders, and Jessica is a part of that,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “She has tremendous talent. I know that her priorities are divided since she is a full-time college student, but I fully endorse her priorities, and she’s a rider that has potential to be involved in the sport at the highest level.”
“I am thrilled to have been chosen by the USET Foundation and to be added to a list of such talented riders,” Springsteen said. “Watching the top riders in the world compete is an invaluable learning experience and is incredibly inspirational.”