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Equestrian Alexandra Crown on riding in Central Park and her hopes for the Olympics


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  • Alexandra Crown jumping at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Photo: Courtesy Chronicle of the Horse Magazine




  • Alexandra Crown



Alexandra Crown is at home at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. After spending the summer competing in Europe, the born-and-bred New Yorker will be participating at the event, in the Under 25 Grand Prix on Sept. 22.

Crown, 22, attended Professional Children’s School, which allowed her to keep up with the sport’s demands. After deciding to pursue show jumping seriously, she looked to someone whose career inspired her, number one show jumper in the world, Kent Farrington, and he has been training her since 2013.

Entering her junior year at the University of Miami, Crown has aspirations for the future that include having her own students and representing the U.S. at the Olympics.

When did you begin taking riding lessons?

I started taking lessons when I was about 4. My older sister also took lessons. I grew up in New York, but we would ride in Connecticut on the weekend. So it was never very serious; it was just once a week. And then eventually, it became during the weekend and summers. And then, I think when I was about 11 or 12, I started going to competitions. But I was doing the hunters, which is a discipline of competition that is judged on the horse and its jumping style and movement. Jumpers are purely graded on speed and faults. I didn’t start the jumpers until I was about 16.

What was your experience like at Professional Children’s School? How did you balance that with your training?

It would have been very hard to make all of the riding work while going to normal school. People do it, but Professional Children’s School definitely allowed me to really focus on my riding, while still receiving a good education. They worked with me and made my schedule so that I could go to class in the mornings and then go to the barn in the afternoons. They had a program called guided study, which allowed me to leave for periods of time and get all the assignments from all of my teachers. As long as I kept up with my work, they were OK with it.

What’s a typical day like for you?

It depends if I’m at a show or at home. Right now, I’m in Belgium and in between shows, on typical days, I go to the barn around 9 a.m., since we don’t have much to do during the day here. And I have about seven horses to ride, so I ride pretty much all day. And then I drive home and usually try and go to the gym.

What are you doing in Belgium?

I come to Europe every summer for shows. The barn that I base out of in between the shows is in Antwerp, Belgium. I was just in Calgary for five weeks for another series of competitions. But then I came back here. I have two weeks off now, and then I head to Berlin for my first show.

How did your partnership with Kent come about?

About four years ago, I decided I wanted to become more serious about the jumpers. I had been doing mostly hunters at that point. And Kent had always been someone I’d looked up to when I watched the jumpers. And I had seen a few of his students ride, and I loved the way they rode and loved the horses that he had picked for them. And my parents and I had a meeting with Kent and I think we just got along very well and I really liked the way he described his training style. So we decided to give it a shot. And I think it’s worked out fantastic. It’s amazing to be able to learn from him.

How does your family support you in your career?

My whole family has been fantastic with the riding. None of them really had anything to do with horses. My older sister rode a little bit, just on the weekends with me for fun when we were younger. My parents were very new to this whole industry. None of us knew anything when we came into it. And they like coming to the shows, learning about the horses and watching the competitions. They get kind of into it now; they know all the riders and who’s winning what, all of that stuff.

How does it feel to ride in Central Park?

It’s incredible, to be honest. It’s my backyard. I grew up there. I went ice skating in Wollman Rink when I was younger. You have the New York skyline in the background and everyone is from New York. The whole thing just feels very special. Every country has their own home show that feels really special to them that’s close to home. And I feel like Central Park is that for me.

You are studying at the University of Miami.

I am about to enter my junior year. College has always been very important. My parents have always stressed the importance of going to college and getting a very good education. Miami has also been great with the riding. All of my professors so far have been so understanding. I organize my classes early in the week and then I go to Wellington [Florida] or travel to shows the rest of the week. I take some online classes too. I’m doing some this summer, just to make sure I’m keeping up with everything.

What are your plans for the future?

I’s love to go as far as I can. I want to one day go to the Olympics and represent the United States at the highest level as well as making a business out of it. So I’d love to bring along young horses and train them and maybe have students of my own one day to train. Eventually, I want to do what Kent does.

www.cphs.coth.com



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