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Through my eyes: Cristalline

Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Through my eyes

 Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping In our series 'Through my eyes', Cristalline’s long-time groom Emma Chapman reveals what Adrienne Sternlicht’s wonder-mare is like. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


by Cristalline’s groom Emma Chapman 



Who does not get stars in their eyes when thinking of Adrienne Sternlicht’s incredible mare Cristalline? The now 12-year-old mare jumped onto the international scene at the Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Gothenburg in 2016 with Chris Chugg in the saddle, and was the talk of town for months and months after. That summer, Adrienne Sternlicht bought Cristalline and the two went on to develop a strong partnership – helping Team US to a gold medal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018.

Here, Cristalline’s long-time groom Emma Chapman reveals what Sternlicht’s wonder-mare is like. “Stella, while being the most talented horse I have ever seen, is also one of the easiest horses that I have ever taken care of,” Emma tells as our new series ‘Through my eyes’ continues. 



Photo © Tiffany Van Halle "She is a dream to take care of," Emma tells about Cristalline. Photo © Tiffany Van Halle.

“I, like most people in the showjumping world, was in awe of Cristalline after seeing her compete with Chris Chugg at the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg in 2016. That fall while visiting my now fiancé Sean Kissane, who was working for Mclain Ward at the time, I met Adrienne and Stella while out hand grazing. I instantly liked Adrienne, and as faith would have it the following year when Adrienne was looking for new staff myself and Sean decided to take the opportunity and join her team. 

Having watched Stella compete in the ring, it was clear she was something different than the other horses. Most horses have one trait that shines through — some two or three — she has it all, incredible scope, carefulness, power, agility, and heart. I was so excited to get to know her personality. 

People always say the best horses are a bit quirky or difficult in some way. Yet, I now know this is not the case! Stella, while being the most talented horse I have ever seen, is also one of the easiest horses that I have ever taken care of. 

I sometimes describe her as a soldier, which I know is not very affectionate, but that’s how she seems at times. She will do anything you ask without complaint. I’m pretty convinced if myself or Adrienne asked her to walk through fire she would do so without a bat of an eyelid. 

She is a dream to take care of. She loves to eat more than anything (just yesterday she took a croissant straight out of my hand while I was eating it) so I have to always be aware of watching her weight since I love to indulge her. While not overly affectionate she definitely likes to be made feel special which me and Adrienne are always happy to do. 

She turns out for as long as she wants, and Adrienne always spends the most time riding her of any of the horses since they wander around wherever Stella wants to go that day. After her baths I always bring her for a hand graze because she loves to roll. Most days she will drop down and have a roll around on the end of the rope. Lately she has been rolling in the ring! She never asks for anything, but we do all we can to make her as happy as possible — it is the least we can do for her.

Photo © private collection "Stella is honestly the most amazing horse I have ever met, and probably ever will," Emma tells. Photos © private collection.

While Stella loves people, she does not like other horses anywhere near her space. She will pin her ears and kick out if another horse gets too close. I made the mistake once of trying to turn her out with our mini pony for company, which went very poorly! Thankfully the pony was quick and agile enough to get out of the way before I had to rescue it. And, although she hates other horses in her space, she also hates to be alone. She has to be able to see other horses all the time or she becomes extremely upset so I’m always mindful of where she is stabled both at home and shows. When shipping I make sure she never comes off the truck first so that she has company when entering the stables. 

While I know she loves to be home and be able to turnout I am pretty confident she prefers to be at shows. She absolutely loves to compete and she definitely senses the mood on a big day – she is very intuitive and intelligent. I also tend to spoil her even more at the shows — she gets out multiple times a day for rolls and walks and gets several Uncle Jimmy’s Hanging Balls because she can go through one in a few hours. 

As for my best memories, there’s too many to count! I didn’t realize until she wasn’t competing last year how special it is to be at a show with her and how many big moments I didn’t appreciate enough at the time. 

Stella is honestly the most amazing horse I have ever met, and probably ever will. It’s hard to put into words the admiration and love I have for her. I’m just eternally grateful to her and Adrienne that I get to be part of their team."


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