Long-sleeve dress, Valentino ($4,490). 747 Madison Ave., NYC. Earrings ($1,200) and pavé ring ($250), Kara Ackerman.Gloria Jewel, 2491 Main St., Bridgehampton. Boots, J.Crew-at-the-Beach ($265). 14 Main St., East Hampton.
Georgina Bloomberg leads a typical life for a professional rider who trains and sells horses. She is participating in this year’s Hampton Classic, has Olympic aspirations and runs a respected horse farm. This last fact is quite normal until you consider her age—just 28 years old. In spite of these accomplishments, she is nearly always portrayed in the media as an “heiress,” one of those peculiarly old-fashioned words that, when deployed, overpowers all the finer points of one’s personality.
Is this really a more compelling or accurate representation of Bloomberg than, say, rider or show jumper—or for that matter, author? Does it really tell us anything about her other than the obvious fact that her father is extremely wealthy (according to Forbes, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the 10th richest person in the United States)? Of course, the money had to be there to finance Gotham North, her 20-acre horse farm in North Salem, New York, but Bloomberg is hardly just coasting along on family wealth. She is out there in the rings working, earning her own income, building a business and creating a life.
“I earn money from show winnings and from my sponsors,” says Bloomberg. “The real money in the sport comes from buying young horses, working and developing them, and selling them at a profit. It’s hard to say goodbye to a horse you have worked with and formed a bond with, but to make it as a pro, it’s a must.”
However, according to the young equestrienne, there is also a pleasure in the parting. “It’s really satisfying when you can produce a successful horse and then watch it go on to another rider and do well,” she says.
A Rider's Life
Bloomberg typically trains her eight horses (she currently owns six horses fully and shares in two others) from 7:30 in the morning to early afternoon, focusing on what is needed for their next show and developing young horses to a standard at which they can be sold. The balance of the day is spent in the gym and doing laps in the pool “to stay as fit and strong as possible” for her demanding physical work.
As a young rider, Bloomberg received encouragement from both her parents (her mother is the mayor’s first wife, Susan Brown), but no one could have predicted how far she would go. “I fell in love with the competition side of this sport,” says Bloomberg. “I love my horses and I love riding, but the showing is what keeps me going and made me want to make this a business. Going pro was something I wasn’t completely sure of, but when my first sponsorship offer came in, I made the decision. Supporting myself is something I work really hard to do and take great pride in, and if I was going to stay in the sport, I wanted to be doing it at the top level and to be able to pay my own way as much as possible.”
Vitalie dress, Dior ($8,200). Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd. Earrings, Kara Ackerman ($1,200). Gloria Jewel, 2491 Main St., Bridgehampton. Ring, Dyanne Belle ($1,600). Rose Jewelers, 57 Main St., Southampton. Boots, J. Crew-at-the-Beach ($265). 14 Main St., East Hampton.
Chiffon gown, Derek Lam ($3,990). Edit Summer, 28A Jobs Lane, Southampton. Pavé earrings ($1,200) and bangles ($300 each), Kara Ackerman. Gloria Jewel, 2491 Main St., Bridgehampton. Boots, J.Crew-at-the-Beach ($265). 14 Main St., East Hampton.
Like many competitors, she rode hunters until she aged out of the junior divisions and then progressed to jumpers. She qualified for the FEI World Cup Finals at 22 years old and has been a member of the United States Equestrian Team in a number of European shows.
Her history at The Hampton Classic grand prix goes back to when she was a young child riding small ponies. “I have always loved the show, and winning there is such an honor in any division,” says Bloomberg, who placed sixth in 2008—a considerable achievement. “Winning it one day is definitely a goal of mine,” she confides.
A more immediate test for Bloomberg will be her reception as author. “My father never let himself believe anyone who said he couldn’t do something or shouldn’t do something, and I always respected that so much,” she says of creating The A Circuit (cowritten by Catherine Hapka), which is set in the elite equestrian world she knows so well. “It is so much easier said than done, but I have tried to follow his example. Doing this book was something completely new and unexpected for me. I never considered myself an author or a good writer, but this was actually fun, and I am really happy with how it turned out.” She will be one of the featured writers at the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night book signing on August 13.
She also compares the sense of achievement she gets from writing to how she felt after training for the 2003 North American Junior & Young Rider Championships. “When I got up on that podium and looked at the gold medal hanging around my neck, I realized how satisfying it was to set a goal and to then work as hard as possible to accomplish that goal,” Bloomberg says. “My trainer had taught me to believe in myself and that I can accomplish whatever I set my sights on—a lesson that sticks with me today.”