Australian showjumper Edwina Tops-Alexander can boast an impressive list of grand prix successes on her CV, but what she revealed to Horse & Hound in her interview in this week’s magazine (out Thursday 6 February) is her ability to “know” when a big win is coming her way.
Ahead of the Miami leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour in 2018, her top horse California had been having some physio work for a back problem so Edwina had told everyone she would just be jumping in the smaller classes, rather than aiming the mare for the feature grand prix.
“But that day she felt amazing,” recalls Edwina. “Everyone said just go by your feeling with her and I qualified for the grand prix.
“I was so sure I was going to win that in my head I was running through how I would explain it in the press conference afterwards, because they’d all thought I wasn’t jumping in the class. Then I said to myself, ‘Hang on, you haven’t even jumped yet!’ But that was how convinced I was that I would win — and I did.”
Edwina had a similar inkling when she woke up on the morning of the World Cup qualifier at Olympia in 2008 when she was partnered with the great Cevo Itot Du Chateau.
“I was second last to go in the first round and there had been no clears until John Whitaker [riding Casino] right before me managed it and I thought ‘Uh-oh, I’m going to have to jump-off now — even though I hadn’t even gone in the ring yet,” says Edwina, who did indeed go in to jump the only other clear in the class.
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Edwina says: “In the jump-off, John went unbelievably fast but had the last fence down. I thought if I go slow and have one down I’m not going to win, but if I go fast I’m going to risk having one down — but then I thought, well I’m going to win anyway so I’m just going to jump round and I won!”
Explaining these feelings, Edwina says: “A lot of the sport has to do with your mind and your beliefs and the energy you have with your horses. But yes, I’ve had a few moments like that in my career.”
Don’t miss the full interview with Edwina in 6 February issue of Horse & Hound magazine. The exclusive interview will be available for H&H Plus members to read in full online on Saturday 8 February.