Miami, FL - April 7, 2014 - The American Invitational made its debut at SunLife Stadium in Miami, FL, on April 5, 2014. Before the main event got underway, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation made a special presentation to one of this country's most talented young show jumping riders. This year, 22-year-old Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, was honored for her achievements in the sport with the 2014 Maxine Beard Award. Springsteen's selection for the prestigious award was based on her competitive record and potential to represent the United States in international competition.
Springsteen's success in the show ring began at a very young age, and she took top honors at the country's most prestigious events throughout her junior years. In 2008, she won the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, and in 2009 she won the George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship.
"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 the North American Junior and Young Rider Championship Show Jumping Young Rider Bronze medal aboard Vornado Van Den Hoendrik. In 2013, Springsteen paired up with Vindicat W to win the $15,000 RCG Farm Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Amateur-Owner Classic during Week VI and the $82,000 Suncast 1.50m Jumper Classic during Weeks IX and XII of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Her success on the circuit continued this year with a second place finish in the $280,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 4*, and a third place finish in the Ruby Et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round XII, as well as the as the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI5*. Springsteen and Vindicat W have competed as part of the Global Champions Tour for the past two years, and Springsteen has represented the United States during Nations Cup competitions.
U.S. Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland commented, "I am very excited that Jessica has won the Maxine Beard Award. 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. 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."
Currently attending Duke University where she is a psychology major, Springsteen must split her time riding and showing with studying and attending classes. It is difficult to manage school without the pressure of being an international rider, but Springsteen manages to successfully balance both tasks with grace and ease.
"I am very excited to be the recipient of the Maxine Beard award; it is a great honor," concluded Springsteen. "I am thrilled to have been chosen by the USET Foundation and to be added to a list of such talented riders. Watching the top riders in the world compete is an invaluable learning experience and is incredibly inspirational."
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.
For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.