Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bruce Davidson - Still Going Strong, part 2


We continue the second and final part of our interview with Bruce Davidson today.  Click here for part 1.  We resume the conversation as Bruce talks about Buck, his legacy, and the future.

So what advice did Bruce give his son before he left for Badminton this spring, where incidentally he finished 21st after a clear round cross country, and the best of the North American contingent,

"I didn't have to say a thing! I said, 'Good Luck, and, Show 'em how to do it!' He knows I have all the faith in the world in him, and he's been there since he was a kid. I can remember the English saying to me when Nancy (Buck's sister ) was about four, and Buck was about five, 'Bruce, exactly what do you expect them to get out of this experience?',  because you know the English children should be seen and not heard (!), and in that case probably not even seen!  

"Here I was at Badminton with my two little kids in the owners' tent and the riders' tent, and Buck telling everybody whether they were hitting the right spot or not at the first fence! As we walked the course I'll never forget him saying, 'Well, Dad, Harry could jump this one!' and there we go, so let's go and look at the second one then, and by the time we'd got round he'd decided he probably could have jumped about three of the ones that were at Badminton that year. They came home and they built a Vicarage Vee and a Normandy Bank and things like that in our back yard so that he and his sister could race around on foot and practice jumping, and when they got ponies they could do it, and there he is, now he's doing it, and I expected him to do it. He's a good guy, he's a good athlete, a good horseman, a good competitor. I couldn't be prouder, he's an exemplary young man and a very kind person."

Buck of course progressed from jumping on foot at home, to representing the US last year on home ground at the WEG in Kentucky. I asked Bruce if, looking back, team medals or for example, a Badminton or Burghley title, gave him more satisfaction.........FULL ARTICLE

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bruce Davidson - Still Going Strong, part 1 on Eventing Nation!

Many thanks to Samantha and our friends at EN for this great article!

Bruce Davidson - Still Going Strong, part 1


You could be forgiven for thinking that Bruce Davidson had perhaps finally settled into a comfy chair to enjoy watching his son, Buck carry the torch in those famous red and yellow colours; after all with a fistful of medals from every major Championship in almost each colour, a Badminton & Burghley win to his credit, having been a mainstay on the US leading rider list for many years, and now a member of the US Eventing Hall of Fame there wouldn't seem to be much left to achieve. You would be forgiven, but you would be wrong! I made just this mistake and Bruce very kindly described to me exactly how busy he is, what excites him these days, and why we most definitely shouldn't discount seeing him back at the very top of the game again. I'm incredibly honoured and grateful to Bruce for his time, and also completely bowled over by his utter lack of ego, willingness to talk, love of the game and, above all else, of course - the horse.

"I have some nice, young horses, and I've been doing some low-level things with them - training and preliminary. They're pretty fancy horses so I'm not pounding on them but they'll come out in July and do a couple more preliminaries, and then I'll step them up at the end of the summer. That's my stallion, Keltic Lion, and I have a very, very nice grey mare called Here's Lola, and I ride a mare for Sophie Dupont called Expensive Playmate. I have those three, and that's all I'm doing with them, and then I have any number of young horses on the farm that I play with."

There's a common thread or two that run along the breeding lines of all the horses in Bruce's programme, lines that hark back to Eagle Lion and JJ Babu, but the threads tend to weave and  tangle together; I tried to keep them straight in my head as Bruce talked to me, but in the end all that matters is that Bruce is breeding some jolly nice horses,

"Keltic Lion is out of a sister to Eagle Lion and he's by Lux Z, the german show-jumper.  Patricia Nicholson bred him in Ireland and he's out of that great family. We thought it would be great to put the mare to the German horse once, and Keltic Lion could also be a pure show-jumper, he could do that as well but he has enough blood in him and he has enough gallop that I don't think that eventing would be an issue either. He's a six year old and I'm having a great time with him; he has a great temperament, he's good on the flat, he's a great jumper, he's very much an Eagle Lion type horse, he's just a really, really nice horse. I suppose he might be my reason to come back and do another four star, he's that good of a horse, and he's pretty straightforward, so as long as I don't fall off too much he's my big white hope!"