Friday, December 18, 2009

Jennie Brannigan Part II: One to Follow

I talked with Jennie for only 30 minutes or so but several things became quite clear: She's strong, determined, bright, and grateful. She answered questions directly, didn't waste time, and still managed to be illuminating, engaging, and entirely captivating. It's no wonder she has such a broad fan base. And there's no other time she could need it more than now--after losing Cooper--who was a champion not only in the field but also in her heart.

Q. What’s next on your competition schedule?

A. I’ll go out next Spring; we’ll be going down to Aiken [South Carolina]. Obviously Cooper is not on the list. I’ll do a 2 star with Cambalda in the Spring and then go Advanced. I have a young horse, Walkabout, and we’ll do a 1-star in the Spring and go Intermediate next summer. I have good stuff in the pipeline. I ride for a breeder, Elizabeth Battel (Footlight Farms) and will take a couple of those to Aiken. I’ll ride ones for Phillip [Dutton]. I’ll be out and about at a lot of shows.

Q. You’ve won the gold at the 2008 North American Young Riders Championships, been named to the USEF Developing Riders Team, are a host for Eventing Radio, won the USET Training Grant in 2009. What am I missing there in the list of accolades?

A. I won the young riders and was named to the training list last year on Cooper. I was Young Rider of the year last year and won the Gold Cup Series last year at Intermediate. I’m ranked 8th this year in the top 10 list. I’ve been lucky.

Below: Jennie Brannigan and Kevin Baumgardner, CEO of the USEA

photo courtesy of Josh Walker

Q. What else do you plan on putting under your belt?

A. I really want to ride for our country. Obviously losing Cooper was a pretty big hit but I’m lucky to have some other good horses. I think next year I’d like to do a 3-star on Campalda and have a crack at seeing what happens. I’d like to compete in England again. Do all the things everyone wants to do!

Q. Who are the impressive Young Riders you find yourself up against most often?

A. Tianna Coudray, she’s a very good rider. Lauren Kieffer is another person who I really respect; she’s an up and coming rider at

the O’Conner’s barn. I have a good friend; she rode on my team, Max McManamy.

Below: Jennie's friend, Max McManamy, on her horse Project Runway

photo courtesy of Emily Daily

The Jump-Off Round

These final questions are fast and furious and Jennie answered them as quick as they came. Here's some more insight into one of your favorite riders:

Q. Show jumping or cross-country?

A. Show jumping

photo courtesy of Kat Netzler/ The Chronicle of the Horse

Q. TV or radio?

A. Radio

Q. Indie rock or country music?

A. Indie rock

Q. Dapple grey or bay?

A. Dapple grey

Q. Thoroughbred or Sport Horse?

A. Thoroughbred

Q. Beige competition or white competition britches?

A. White

Q. Extension or half pass?

A. Extension

Q. Ford or Chevy?

A. Ford

Q. Dogs or cats?

A. Dogs

Below: One of Jennie's biggest supporters, Bizzie

photo courtesy of Midatlantic Equestrian Services

Q. Badminton or Rolex?

A. Badminton

Below: Badminton House

photo courtesy of Badminton Horse Trials

Q. Anything else you want to add?

A. I want to thank everyone that’s been supportive of Cooper.

Still want to know more about Jennie and where she'll go from here? Follow her blog at The Chronicle of the Horse. We'll undoubtedly be seeing more of this brave rider.

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