If anyone thinks the showjumping scene in America is an improvement on the British version, they’ve got it completely wrong. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the sport is quite a bit better over here in the UK.
British crowds in general are so much more knowledgeable, which makes for a great atmosphere, particularly at indoor shows such as Olympia. This is probably because a much larger percentage of British people have some affiliation with horses through hunting, racing or other equestrian sports. In the USA, fewer people know what they’re watching — and the rest of them don’t really understand why we love horses.
In America, competing is also very expensive. There’s absolutely no comparison with jumping here. To be fair, the prize money there is often much better, but it’s also extremely difficult to win. You can go to a small show and find yourself head-to-head with some of the world’s best riders every week. At the moment, three of the world’s top 15 are American and they are tough to beat.
I must say that showjumping in America isn’t all glitz, glamour and expense. It’s such a big country that you get regional variations. In the north-eastern states and the Virginia area, for instance, you’ll find the smaller shows and good Addington-type equestrian centres similar to those in Britain.
Okay, when it’s wet and muddy at home in Warwickshire, there are times when I miss being back home in the sunny USA, but I do absolutely love living and competing in Britain.
Ref Horse & Hound; 27 December 2019