It was a sun dappled, spring afternoon in Northern, Germany, an idyllic backdrop to the prize giving ceremony taking place at the Global Champions League (GCL) of Hamburg.

For Jennifer Gates, the moment was extraordinary in more ways than one. Riding Capital Colnardo, the 23-year-old and her Paris Panthers teammate (and partner), Nayel Nassar (EGY), had just earned a major podium finish following strong, back-to-back rounds over two days of competition. Alas, when the podium exploded into the obligatory champagne fight between the Panthers and the top two placing teams, Gates—struggling to open her own bottle—was drenched in the crossfire.

“Apparently I need to learn how to pop champagne bottles because that’s a podium thing and I’m the biggest rookie… help!” Gates joked, good-naturedly, on her Instagram.

Popping bottles aside, the American U25 rider ought to cut herself some slack. Halfway through the 2019 season, it’s clear Gates is having a renaissance, not just in her own riding, but in the expansion of her Evergate Stables operations, currently based at three primary locations in Florida, Belgium, and New York.

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Pressure and Presence: Jennifer Gates Is Finding Success in the Moment

Thunderbird Show Park CSIO 5*

 

Thunderbird Show Park CSIO 5*

Thunderbird Show Park CSIO 5*

 

Thunderbird Show Park CSIO 5*