East Aurora equestrian athlete Charlotte Jacobs has been chosen to represent the United States in the International Federation of Equestrian Sport’s (FEI) Nations Cup horse jumping competitions in Lisbon, Portugal, and Madrid, Spain.
Jacobs and the other members of the U.S. Jumping Team will compete against 15 countries in the three-star events that run from May 26-29 in Portugal and June 3-5 in Spain.
For Jacobs, who grew up in East Aurora and graduated from the Buffalo Seminary in 2013, being on the U.S. team has been a lifelong dream.
“My dad [Louis Jacobs] rode on U.S. teams,” said Charlotte, from her training site in Ireland last week. “I’ve wanted to follow in his footsteps, to ride for the U.S. since I was little.”
Jacobs graduated from the University of Miami in 2017 and has devoted herself full-time to equestrian sports for the last five years, training and competing in Florida during the winter and throughout Europe in the summer. The recent successes and the consistency of her results in a variety of jumping competitions caught the attention of officials from the U.S. Equestrian Team, who recommended her for the team at the FEI Nations Cup.
Since the global pandemic put Nations Cup and most major equestrian competitions on hold for the better part of two years, the Lisbon and Madrid events loom as major international spectacles that will attract crowds from around the world to watch the beautiful collaboration between horse and rider. Jacobs and her horse, Edocenta, will have to negotiate a 13-obstacle course that presents single, double and triple jumps as high as 1.5 meters (59 inches). Some of the lower jumps may have water elements to clear as well. The object is to clear all the jumps cleanly without knocking the rails off in the allotted time.
Four riders from each team will run the course with the best three results counting toward the team’s total. Should two or more teams have perfect rounds, a jump-off will ensue. In the jump-off, riders will ride a shorter course, but they will be looking for the fastest times as well as a run where the horse hits no rails.
“Every course is different,” said Jacobs, “so I have to train for every possibility and be able to get the horse to run it smoothly.”
Jacobs’s skill as a horsewoman is just part of a winning strategy in jumping. Her relationship with her horse is also key.
“I bought Edocenta a year and a half ago. It probably took me six months to begin to get to know her. Now, I’d say we know each other pretty well. We have a good relationship. She knows when it’s a big competition. I have two other horses—Rincoola Milsean and Coolivio—that I will take with me, but I’m pretty sure Edocenta will be the best choice for the Nation Cup.”
As to my question about whether results in this three-star event might lead to opportunities to compete in five-star events and then, perhaps the Olympics, Jacobs answers diplomatically, “Of course, that would be great, but I’m very short-term goal-oriented. I’m concentrating on the next two weeks. After that, we’ll see what’s next.”
Her mother Joan, owner of North Star Sport Horses in the Town of Wales, isn’t afraid to speculate.
“Charlotte was a great junior rider. Three-star is when she steps it up. The U.S. Jumping Team brought her to Nations Cup, so they can watch her progress. It’s a great opportunity. She’s worked very hard. Hopefully, she’s on her way up to the next levels.”
Follow the Nations Cup at csiolisboa.com.
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