Pop Culture

Jessica Springsteen Readies for Her Olympic Debut With Horse, Don Juan van de Donkhoeve

Born to jump.

While her parents Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa are doing eight shows a week at the Walter Kerr Theatre, Jessica Springsteen is at the Tokyo Olympic Games, ready to represent Team USA in show jumping.

In an interview with PEOPLE, the 29-year-old Springsteen, who has been riding since the age of five, called next week’s equestrian competition “the biggest honor.”

“Throughout my career, representing my country has been my goal, and so to be doing so at the Olympics, it’s a huge honor. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Currently ranked 14th in show jumping in the entire world, she won’t be competing alone. There is a horse involved: Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion. Springsteen said she took advantage of the one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic by completing additional training. “I think it made us stronger,” she said, repeatedly referring to Don as “her partner.”

“Sometimes you get a horse and it can take you a long time [to] get to know each other, but with him, we came together quickly and we’ve been able to build on that ever since,” Springsteen, who in 2014 launched a Gucci riding collection, continued. “We definitely have a lot of trust.”

Also in her corner is her family, who will be unable to witness the competition in person due to the unusual ban on spectators. Bruce and Patti will watch from their home in the rather horsey-named town of Colts Neck, New Jersey. (And if you’ve seen the recent documentary Letter To You, you know there’s no way the rest of the E Street Band isn’t tuning in to cheer, too.) “My family has gotten so involved in the sport, it’s a huge passion for them,” Jessica told PEOPLE.

As far as future bar trivia is concerned, Bruce and Patti are the only husband-and-wife team in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with an Olympian daughter. (John Mellencamp’s son played football for Duke, which is cool and all, but not quite at this level.) Go, Jessica and Don Juan van de Donkoeve!

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