Jodie Kidd is the globe-trotting, or globe-galloping in some cases, reporter for CNN Equestrian on CNN International. With her riding background and love of horses, she’s the perfect conduit for presenting the exciting and glamorous world of top equestrian events to international audiences. There is always a special surprise with a candid interview, a behind the scenes sneak peak, or a delicious morsel of celebrities with a shared passion for horses. Equestrio caught up with her to get the latest.
At the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in April, you were fortunate to be able to attend an amazing competition in an equally amazing setting. What was your experience of it?
Being in Las Vegas creates an amazing atmosphere and the FEI put on a great show that was very well- organized. The overall experience was fantastic and I have to say that the crowd really made it. Normally at European events it’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop but even in the dressage, the fans were cheering every single change and movement. The winner, Charlotte Dujardin, loved it and felt her horse reacted well to the crowd, while Steve Guerdat, who won the jumping, felt the same way. The whole event was really fun and very different.
The course for the jumping finals looked incredibly challenging. What did you think?
The course was challenging and the first round was even harder. It’s a small, tight arena to have such big fences, and the combinations proved difficult for the riders and the horses. When you have the best of the best competing, it separates the men from the boys. The course builders have a fine line to tread when deciding how difficult to make the course. I thought it was good and challenging and you had your clears. It is the best competition of the world so it must be tough.
You travel the world for these top events. While elements of the competition remain the same, each setting adds a different feel. We’ve seen horse shows in the Grand Palais in Paris and on the Iawn of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Central Park in New York City, and even on the beach in Miami for the Global Champions Tour. How important is the setting for these events?
The settings are very important. It’s wonderful to have such amazing backdrops. It’s also great that these event organizers are bringing equestrian sport into the center of our cities and you’re not having to get in a car and drive out into the country. It brings the sport to the people. To reach a wider audience is fantastic and of course, for us as real horse lovers to have the background of Rome or Venice or Greenwich is a wonderful treat for us.
It’s not only equestrians but other fascinating people you meet along the way such as International DJ Martin Garrix who is friends with Dutch rider, Maikel Van Der Vleuten, or Stefanie Graf. What’s it like to connect with these celebrities?
I absolutely love and adore meeting people who are real fans of show jumping. I met Jay Leno in an automobile context and it’s nice – people relax because you have something in common and something to talk about. Steffie Graf is getting back into riding, encouraged by her daughter. It’s a passion for both. It’s great to meet these superstars and find out why they love horses as much as I do.
Be sure to catch the latest of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Rome where Jodie gets insight from top team leaders and riders as well as experiencing the best Italian restaurant ringside.
For more information on CNN Equestrian please visit CNN.com/equestrian