“I would love to go to another Olympics. I would love to do two more Olympics. I really hope these horses that I have now, these two very good horses, could be in contention,” says Edwina Tops-Alexander.
Watching Edwina compete with her 12-year-old mare Catenda at Qatar’s expansive Longines Arena, it’s mind-blowing to realise that next year she could be on her way to her fifth consecutive Olympic Games.
Twice finishing in the top ten for individual show jumping – at Hong Kong in 2008 and Rio in 2016 – she is one of the best known faces on the international circuit and one of the most celebrated Australian female equestrians ever, with a list of career highlights as long as Catenda’s tail, including being the first rider to win over €1 million on the Longines Global Champions Tour and, in 2018, winning the first ever LGCT Super Grand Prix Champion of Champions.
Not bad going for the former Sydneysider who took the leap of leaving our shores for Europe to further her career 25 years ago.
We sit down with Edwina during a break from competition at the 2023 Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab to discuss her Olympic preparations and her relationship with her horses, including her beloved “wonder horse” Itot du Chateau, the inspiration behind her new equestrian fine jewellery line and equine therapy foundation.
EQ LIFE: Great to see you again, Edwina. Tell us a little about the horses that you are working with this year.
EDWINA: Corelli [De Mies] is a new horse for me – I have only had him for five or six shows, but I am very excited about him. He is a very big horse, but with a lot of quality and a great mind. And I have been riding Fellow Castlefield for a year and a half now. He is a special horse but needs to be in gear. Those are the two I am focusing on for the season. They weren’t ready to come here to Doha, which is a shame, but it’s a long season.
My mare that I jump now, Catenda, has recently been very good [Edwina and Catenda won the Trophy Grand Prix Qualifier CSI3* in Oliva, Spain, in January] but she came to Qatar and her body is tense and she is not jumping as well as she probably can jump because she’s quite stressed in the ring.