The Hamptons is filled with magnificent trails, world-class equestrian estates and premier horse shows. And this summer, elite equestrian Georgina Bloomberg is saddling up for adventure and heading to Bridgehampton to compete in the Hampton Classic with her eye on victory. A professional horseback rider, philanthropist and Hampton native, Bloomberg, in between The Golden Pear and welcoming in the horse show crowd at Almond, is determined to triumph and win the Grand Prix on the final day.
Before the Hampton Classic, we sat down with Bloomberg to hear more about her top goals this summer, spearheading The Riders Closet and advice for fellow riders on never giving up.
With the Hampton Classic approaching, can we expect to see you on the show's jumping circuit this summer? GEORGINA BLOOMBERG: I am currently competing on the Global Champions Tour in Europe and will return to the US just before the Hampton Classic to compete there to end our summer.
Winning the opening day grand prix last summer, what's your top goal this summer? GB: The horse that I won the Opening day class with last year has unfortunately been injured for a few months and is just back in work, but probably won’t be ready to repeat her victory this year so that class won’t be my biggest focus. I will have a nice string of horses this year for the rest of the week though and my main goal is to win the Grand Prix on the final day. It’s something I have wanted to do my entire life and this year I have horses that make it a possibility.
Will you be riding Paola 233 this year? What do you love most about her? GB: I hope so but I am not sure if she will be ready to go by then since she is just coming back in to work. She is a fighter and so fast and easy to turn. I love a horse that always tries its best, even if it’s natural best isn’t as good as another horse. I appreciate anything or anyone who does the best with what they have.
Last summer, you also hosted an Animal Adoption Day. Can locals expect to see this event again? GB: Yes, we have been putting together an adoption day event for years now that I am really proud of, first with the ASPCA and now we do it with the Equus Foundation. The day has been evolving and growing each year and includes horses for adoption, demonstrations, and many local dog and cat rescues with animals looking for homes. We have not only been able to get hundreds of animals adopted, but we have been able to educate people about horse welfare. It’s a fun day with something for every age group, and a great way for people to get up close to the horses looking for homes and a few of the riders who come to help out.
As a professional equestrian, what makes horseback riding your happy place? GB: I have always loved horses and think that for almost every rider their love of the animal is where their desire to ride begins. If you don’t love the animal and have the ability to in some way connect with them then you will have trouble being successful in this sport. I love being around horses, I love being in the barn and spending time with them, but I also love competition and the idea of working hard at something and then showing it off in front of an audience. The thrill of having people watch you perform is something I have always loved and if I wasn’t an athlete, I would have probably thrived in some sort of entertainment field because I have never been someone who has been nervous in front of a crowd; quite the opposite, it excites me and I love the thrill of it.
Breaking your back twice in your career, what advice can you give to fellow riders on never giving up? GB: Falling off and getting injured is a part of this sport. If you aren’t ok with occasionally falling off, don’t get on the horse in the first place. I have always been aware of the risks in the sport and they have been worth it to me. To some people they aren’t but that has to be up to each rider.
You also spearheaded The Rider's Closet, an organization that ensures that riding apparel is accessible to riders in need. Is there one memory from this experience that specifically stayed with you? GB: Getting my first thank you letter and picture of a recipient wearing clothes they received from us. They explained how much happiness riding brought them and how without us they would have been forced to quit. It made all my hard work worth it.
A Hamptons native, what’s your favorite pit stop you can't live without? GB: My favorite way to start the day in the Hamptons is to wake up at sunrise and take the dogs to the beach for a long walk. After that, I go to the Golden Pear and get the spa breakfast burrito, which is one of my favorite things in the world. To me there is no better start to the day. To finish it out my favorite restaurant is Almond. I love the food and the atmosphere, but what I love the most is the people and how friendly and welcoming to the horse show crowd they are. When you travel as much as we do, we really appreciate feeling like we are home somewhere, even if it’s temporary.
When you're not sporting equestrian gear, what's your go to outfit for a summer night out? GB: Since six out of seven days I am wearing either riding clothing or workout clothes all day, I really enjoy getting dressed up at night and expressing myself through fashion. I do wear a lot of jeans but love wearing dresses in the summer.
Can we expect to see your son, Jasper, following in your footsteps as a professional equestrian? GB: Jasper started riding last year and we adopted a miniature horse for him to ride last fall. He loves riding around the barn with him and learning to take care of him, but it will be up to him if he ever wants to compete. I love that he enjoys coming to the barn and riding but if that is as far as it goes I am completely fine with it. The only thing that has always been non-negotiable for me is that he learn to respect and love animals. The rule is if you want to live in my house, you treat animals well and learn to live with them. After that, it’s up to him to find his passion and what he wants to do with his life.
A new owner of the New York Empire team for the Global Champions League, what are your plans for the future? GB: I am loving the team format and being a part of the league. I think it’s genuinely the future of the sport and has been a great addition to the Global Champions Tour. Being able to own the NY team is a great honor and we have a great group of riders who are not only incredible riders but all friends and people who I enjoy having as a part of the team and traveling the world with, so I am going to enjoy every moment of it and hope that we are able to be successful over the years.