Is it about money or talent?
For long we have wondered why the daughters of some of the world’s richest men are doing so well in showjumping. Is it about talent or money? In this article, we draw portraits of Jennifer Gates, Eve Jobs and Jessica Springsteen, all competing at the international level. And then we ask the question: Is showjumping becoming a ‘champagne sport’ for the millionaire daughters?
By Laura Sofie Krebs
photos: FEI | Sources: Economic Times, The Times, Forbes
When you are the daughter of one of the richest men in the world, you can pretty much pick and choose between horses and decide for yourself exactly what you want. And as a ride there is a good chance, you will make it all the way to the top. We are talking, of course, about Jennifer Gates, the oldest daughter of the billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
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While their father may have been famous for the founding of Microsoft, growing up in the Gates family was far from marked by the fact that the kids were provided with all the technology gadgets available. For example, Jennifer was not allowed to own a phone until she was 14 years old.
Jennifer has two younger siblings; Rory and Phoebe. Gates graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a master’s degree in human biology and took a year off to focus on her riding before she enrolled in medical school.
Jennifer Gate’s father has stated on several occasions that his children should not count on inheriting the entire wealth, but instead have to create their own careers in life. In 2011, he told The Daily Mail that his children will each receive a “negligible portion” of his wealth, which Forbes estimates at $ 110 billion. “It will mean they have to find their way in life,” he said.
But it is hardly any secret that Jennifer’s father has provided financial support for her daughter’s purchase of the 37-million-expensive Wellington Farm in Florida, where she has established her showjumping stable.
Eve Jobs is in strong competition with Jennifer Gates. In other words, history repeats itself on the showjumping course. Jennifer Gates and Eve Jobs often compete at the same shows. Job’s mother even bought her daughter a ranch for $ 15 million right across from Gates’s Florida property. The estate houses a pool, a horse stable for 20 horses and state-of-the-art training facilities.
In addition to pursuing her successful riding career, Jobs also attends Stanford University, where her parents met years ago.
The young showjumper’s father is rock star Bruce Springsteen. Jessica got her first pony at the age of six and is currently one of America’s best ranked showjumpers. In addition, she was in the gross squad for the US national team at the 2012 Olympic Games. She was also predicted a god chance at qualifying for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Jessica previously told CNN in 2017 that it was her mother, Patti Scialfa, who got her involved in the equestrian sport many years ago when she was just five years old.
Jessica and her brother have lived most of their lives outside the spotlight of paparazzi photographers.
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Is showjumping a champagne sport?
Competing at international level is expensive. Riders often compete more than one horse at the major events, which requires a staff of trainers, grooms etc. and a strong economy that makes it possible to transport the horses around from country to country. In addition, we must not forget the cost of buying one or more talented jumping horses. A skilled horse, able to compete at international level is without doubt very costly.
In addition to the many training sessions and the obvious talent, it is easy to conclude that an international breakthrough requires a good amount of money, but is it the rich’s fault that the costs are so high, or is it the culture of the sport arranged this way?
To answer this question, we need to rewind the time.
The association between horses and wealth was forged millennia ago. Horses have always been a status symbol, and the equestrian sport was associated with wealth and upper-class activities. Something that sticks around to this day.
Equestrian sport has a reputation for being snobbish, which the sport as a whole has done little to shake off itself. Just look at the equipment.
In how many sports do you use blazer jackets, long dresses, silk ties and suede hats? It is a remnant from the good old Victorian days and really silly when you think about it.
So maybe it is not about a few wealthy women’s rich families, but a whole sport based on values of prosperity and aristocracy?