Jeanne Hobbs Embarks On Lifetime Opportunity
Jeanne Hobbs has earned the honor of wearing her first team jacket for the United States Young Riders Show Jumping team.
Hobbs, the 22-year-old daughter of Fred and Debbie Hobbs of Pinehurst, was selected by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to be the alternate rider on the 2008 Show Jumping Developing/Young Rider Tour.
Although Hobbs competed in Europe in 2003, this tour will mark the first team experience for Hobbs.
"It's a huge honor," said Hobbs, who will be leaving for Europe May 29. "It's all a little surreal right now."
Hobbs will meet up with the other four riders on the team in Gladstone, N.J., where they will train with Chef d'Equipe Melanie Smith Taylor for one week prior to traveling to Europe.
Hobbs is taking two seasoned horses. The horse named as an alternate with Hobbs is her 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding Night and Day 8. She will also be taking Nielson B, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood. Both horses have Grand Prix experience but it will be their first international experience.
"It's a different ball game at the international level but I have faith in my horses," said Hobbs, who has been riding since she was 7. Hobbs' best Grand Prix finish to date was a fourth place at the prestigious Spruce Meadows Grand Prix.
The other members of the team are Michael Morrissey of Bradenton, Fla., James Benedetto of Kings Park, N.Y., Tracy Magness of Baltimore, Md., and Alexa Lowe of Upperville, Va. Team members were chosen based on their ranking as of the April 25, 2008 USEF computer list. They will compete at the CSIO4* Poznan in Poland June 5-8, the CSI3* Aach in Germany June 12-15, and the CSIO4* Lipica in Slovakia June 26-29.
Hobbs, who has taken some time off from her studies in textile design at North Carolina State University, will meet up with her groom in England and then travel by van to the first competition.
Hobbs hopes to come home with some top ribbons from her European tour.
"Just to have the opportunity to compete is exciting," Hobbs said. "To bring back some top ribbons would be perfect. I would love to win a Grand Prix while I'm over there."
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