An “interview” with the recent FEI grand prix winner (via her owner and rider, Nicky Galligan!)
The 12-year-old chestnut Irish Sport Horse—better known as “Princess” to her people—won her first FEI Grand Prix at the Desert Circuit week II with her longtime partner.
1. You’ve been with Nicky since you were just 4 years old. What’s it like to be longtime partners and together in the Grand Prix ring now?
We have a truly unique partnership—there’s so much trust and so much belief in each other. We spend every day together, we’ve been through a lot, traveled to a whole bunch of places and jumped in some really special arenas. It’s been a long, and twisty road to say the least, but I’m proud of us and what we’ve worked hard at for a long time to achieve. There’s been a lot of other people want to ride me, but it’s only ever been me and Nicky. I know how much he loves me and that’s a feeling like no other. Right from day one, he’s told me I’m special and he’s told me about our plans. I’m so excited to be finally doing what we have always dreamed of.
2. What’s your favorite part about being in the show ring?
I love having people watch me. I love hearing the crowd clap and cheer for me at the end of a clear round, and seemingly the faster I go, the louder they cheer. I’m totally fine with that. The bigger the jumps, and the more electric the atmosphere, the more I want to win. There’s no better feeling than having a big ribbon pinned to my bridle and my picture taken.
3. You don’t have the most traditional jumping style, but you keep winning! To what do you owe your great success?
Heart, of course—I truly love what I do. I HATE touching rails. I must admit, my humans do take wonderful care of me, they make sure I’m fit and strong. As special as those 90 seconds in the ring are, a lot of the success comes from the previous 90 days at home. I’m a little particular with who I choose to tolerate, but my team right now are everything I could ask for. I may be a Princess who gets anything she wants, but I would do anything for them as well.
4. What kinds of things do you enjoy doing at home when you’re not training?
I spend A LOT of time outside. I eat the grass, I roll, I watch the cars go by. I’m often told I can be a little nosey. I have quite a relaxed lifestyle outside of the shows. I don’t jump much at home. I do lots of poles on the ground, which I enjoy … otherwise I get bored. I also swim a few times a week, which is even more fun than poles. I really enjoy going on trail rides, especially without a saddle.
5. If you could eat any human food, what would it be?
I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to trying new things. Why would you need to try new things when we have peppermints? There’s not a lot in this world I wouldn’t do for a soft, striped peppermint.
*This story was originally published in the March 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!