From childhood beginnings in Australia, to moving to Europe and taking the show jumping world by storm, Edwina Tops-Alexander is a true inspiration for all riders. As one of the top ranked female show jumpers in the world, Edwina has enjoyed a career that most of us could only dream of. With the help of her fantastic team, superstar horses and the likes of Gucci as a sponsor, Edwina is hoping to repeat last year’s performance, by taking gold at the Global Champions Tour Final in Abu Dhabi. Edwina will also be promoting her new book, “Edwina Tops – Alexander, The winner of Oz” at GCT, where she will be signing copies at the Gucci stand near the main arena.
Horse UAE chatted to Edwina about this year’s GCT final, training regime, her relationship with Cevo Itôt du Chateau and the new Gucci Equestrian Line.
Horse UAE: It’s going to be another exciting final this year with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and yourself head to head on points. You must be used to being in these high pressure situations, following 2011’s final where you battled it out with Ludger Beerbaum for the title?
Edwina: “Well this year it’s for sure more exciting because we are both equal. Last year there was quite a gap so the pressure will not be quite the same but in the end either one of us can only be first or second. I think this is what makes the GCT an amazing concept and everybody is waiting for this”.
Horse UAE: How would you sum up the tour so far, leading into the final in Abu Dhabi?
Edwina: “Obviously from my side I cannot complain as I have been the leader from the beginning and to hold this all the way through till now, is a great achievement. So for me I’m very happy on this side but as the tour goes I think we have had an incredible year and some very exciting jump offs. Of course with the new locations it just adds to the rest of the collection that all the riders look forward to. There is definitely something special about the GCT that sets it apart from the rest of the shows”.
Horse UAE: What do you think contributed to the successful partnership you have with Itot?
Edwina: “There are many things that have contributed to our partnership but I would have to say that from the first moment that I got on him it felt like I had ridden him for a long time. I have a fantastic management around me and of course this goes to Jan’s expertise that has got me so far today. We never tried the horse before we bought him, which just goes to show how good Jan was a choosing the horse for me. I’m a very lucky girl to have such an incredible horse in my career. Itot always tries his best for me and I know he feels that I give him my best. The saying in this case is true that it’s a match made in heaven!!”
Horse UAE: What type of regime have you followed leading into Abu Dhabi?
Edwina: “To be honest I’m just continuing like I have always done which is going every week to the best shows to keep up my level. Itot just jumped in Lyon and he felt fantastic, so no special changes to my lead up. If I could find a half day to rest it could help”.
Horse UAE: For many riders who start out riding as a hobby it is difficult to decide whether to take competing to a professional level. What influenced you in deciding to follow the route of being a professional show jumper?
Edwina: “I have always been a very competitive person which I guess is what has driven me to compete at the top level but without my amazing horses I would not be here today. So it’s a combination of things but it really depends on how far you want to go in the sport”.
Horse UAE: The new Gucci Equestrian Line is out this month and is going to be available at Gucci’s first pop-up shop in the Middle East during the GCT. What’s your favourite item in the new Equestrian Line?
Edwina: “I would have to say that the riding jacket is really beautifully made and is a very classic fit. They have some other beautiful items in the collection but I will keep wearing my own collection from Gucci. I’m really looking forward to seeing the collection and at the same time I will be doing some signing in the stand for my newly released book”.