Tina Irwin: The Crown,the Mare and Tokyo 2020

I was watching the Netflix series The Crown. In one of the episodes the Queen says: “Remember who wears the Crown.” I took that line from the show and use it towards my relationship with my mare Fancy That.

Tina Busse Irwin


I hasten to add that Tina Irwin is not a Dressage Diva looking for a Crown or a Tiara. Tina’s mare Fancy That is an overachiever who sometimes needs to be reminded who is in charge, who is wearing the Crown! Tina was on the Canadian Dressage team for the Pan American Games in Lima 2019. The team won the Gold Medal and Tina was the individual Silver Medalist. Tina recently took the time to answer my questions about her journey toward Tokyo 2020.

You have declared. Have the Olympic Games been a lifetime dream since childhood?

Definitely. It has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember.

Tell me about  your mare Fancy That.

I’ve had her since she was 6. ( She is now 14) She came to us ( Tina and her husband Jaimey)  to be sold and it turned out that she was a very interesting horse so we partnered with another client to buy her.  We are now in a second partnership with  Susan Jones of  Kentucky. When she first came she had only a single change and I have developed her to the Grand Prix level.  She is only 16 hands so she is not tall but she is mighty! She is a confident mare; strong in mind and body and loves to work. She is very hot and very motivated. Sometimes a bit too much focused on her own agenda but she is fun to ride. She needs more time in the ring now to polish and get more experience putting it all together. She has the heart and the drive so I know she can do it.  

What are your plans for the Florida season? Home?

Going to do the last shows here and continue through to the Ontario season but I’m not sure which shows we will do at home.

Do you find the qualifying competition season stressful?

It is always stressful when  you are trying to go for a team but that is part of being an international rider.  So as not to feel stressed I just take it one show at a time. It all has to come together in the ring so I can’t think too far ahead.

You and Jaimey are both trying for places on the Team. As husband and wife how difficult is that?

I am his eyes on the ground on a regular basis  but he also rides with Robert Dover. For the high performance competition Robert is very helpful and they get along very well.  Jaimey is my full time coach and that works for us although it is sometimes it is tricky  as husband and wife. After all our marriage is more important; we have to be able to go home and be a couple and be parents. for our two kids.

Tina in the warm up with Fancy That
Jaimey is the “eyes on the ground ” helping Tina in the warm up before she goes into the stadium for the test.

Thank you Tina for making time to speak with me on your day off. I wish you and Fancy That all the best !

A smile at the end of the test.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. Seems quite takented. Let’s see if the Olympics proceed…still a long way..do fingers crossed

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I am sure all these athletes are hoping it will still be a go. In equestrian sport there are two athletes that must keep in training and fitness and four years is a long time for a horse to keep at the top if the Olympics are cancelled.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. da-AL says:

        how sad to hear, Anne – what a beautiful post — so good to look at this rather than that weird ball with red dots on it…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Laleh Chini says:

    Hopefully the Corona crises will end soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes for the athletes in all sports and the horses in Equestrian I hope the Olympics will be able to continue.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laleh Chini says:

        ❤️❤️❤️

        Like

  3. I enjoyed reading, I wish to ask while getting a horse many years before as at age of 3 how do they find this horse can do or Do they select randomly

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is not random. They will look carefully at the horse’s confirmation.(physical shape) and look at how the horse moves. If the horse is old enough. say 4. they will ride the horse just walk trot and canter and see how he moves. They will also get a sense of the horse’s temperament. But you can never know for sure if a horse will make it to the Grand Prix. The talent needed for that level can’t be guaranteed at a young age.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok maa, thanks for this valuable information

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    She’s a beautiful horse. I don’t see many posts about mares in dressage, are they less common?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      There are mares and some of the most famous dressage horses are mares. Bella Rose, isabel Werths mare is at the top as is Charlotte Dujardin’s mare Freestyle. Mares can be more tricky to ride but if they work for you they give 110%. Geldings are generally easier and stallions can come with other problems like a lack of focus in competition.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        A bit like teaching kids, I think!lol!! (although the geldings dont fit that analogy)!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          I think working with horses is similar to teaching kids or being a parent. Consistency and being clear with what is being asked are important.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Emma Cownie says:

            Consistency is sometimes more easily said than done!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            I could not agree more. But it is something to strive for on the ground around the horse and in the saddle . It is the best chance of communicating to the horse what it is that you want.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. dprastka says:

    I bet, you are so lucky and I’m so thankful you share!! ❤️🐎🐴❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dprastka says:

    Excellent post. She’s a beautiful mare! Do you know her breed? I’m just curious… I hope she wins the gold! 😃❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      She is an Oldenburg. She has a lot of talent for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dprastka says:

        Very talented! Her confirmation is stunning! Thank you! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          You are most welcome! It has been great fun to interview all of the Canadian dressage riders who are hoping to make the team for Tokyo.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. So are you going to Tokyo in 2020?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      No I am not. I could not get media accreditation and so I had not planned to go.How about you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We were thinking of it, but have been to Tokyo and it is busy normally, so super busy we figured with this an Olympic Year, but for sure 100% we will go back.

        Liked by 1 person

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