Starring: Jennifer Gates, Prestige rider of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles
Friday 25th September 2015
Balancing college studies with grand prix classes, Jennifer Gates has cleared time in her busy schedule as a sophomore at Stanford, Calif., to compete at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles. She’s already old hat at the premier indoor show jumping competition having participated in last year’s inaugural event and many times at Paris Masters, the European leg of the Series.
The daughter of tech giants Bill and Melinda Gates, Jennifer is blazing her own trail in equestrian sport, riding to junior team gold in the Adequan/FEI Junior and Young Rider Championships in 2014. Originally hailing from Kirkland, Wash., Jennifer trains with Hardin Towell, although she keeps her horses on the West Coast for most of the year, traveling to Hardin’s home base in Wellington, Fla., for the winter circuit at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
This year, the young rider is making the move into the bigger grand prix divisions and hopes to find success aboard the multiple mounts that she shares with her trainer. Read on to find out how she is preparing for the upcoming show and where to most likely find her in between events.
How are you preparing yourself and your horses for the competition?
My horses have had quite a busy summer of competition, so they will be getting a short period of rest in Seattle before this competition. Coincidentally, I am actually starting school at the same time, so I will be a bit busy with that! In addition to riding, I stay fit using a combination of pilates, barre and spinning classes so I am ready when I arrive at the show.
What did you learn from the experience of showing at the Longines Masters last year, and what did you like best about the format?
I enjoyed my experience immensely at the LA Masters in 2014. The competition was absolutely top notch. I loved the Amade Charity Class and the fact that we were able to dress up, ride, and have fun for a good cause.
What will you be sure to pack into your trunks for your horses for the trip?
Besides the usual equipment such as bridles, saddles and blankets, we make sure to pack all of their individual supplements and feeding needs. And of course, a big box of horse cookies so that I can spoil them after I ride them!
What will you be sure to pack for yourself?
I will be sure to pack an adequate number of show breeches, show shirts, and jackets for my show days. I will also bring my costume for the Amade Charity class, which I am really excited about. And to keep up on my schoolwork, I always have my laptop and some reading material.
What are your favorite places to visit or things to do in Los Angeles?
Last year I was only able to really spend a couple days in LA, during the show. But if I have more time this year, I would love to go to the Santa Monica pier. When I have spent time in LA in the past, that is one of my favorite things to do.
How does the competition fit into your overall show season?
This competition is one of my favorites, and I hope to have a positive show to start my fall season in good form.
Have you set a particular goal to achieve at the show?
I hope to be competitive in the 2* Prestige Trophy classes with an older mount of mine who I know well, Cadence, and a newer mount I am still getting to know, Pepperpot. I think this venue will suit both of the horses very nicely.
Which of your favorite riders are you excited to see at the show?
I am very excited to see some of my friends who normally compete on the East Coast circuit. It’s always wonderful to catch up with Georgina Bloomberg, and I look forward to getting to watch other top riders such as Kent Farrington and Richard Spooner compete.
What does it mean to you to ride at the LA Masters?
I feel extremely honored to be able to compete amongst some of the best riders in the country at an event that is helping grow this sport and its popularity in North America.