Georgina Bloomberg Was Born To Ride—And Not On Dad's Coattails
The top international equestrian of North Salem on her flourishing career, the joys of raising a son, and the best part of her famous last name
When New York City residents mistakenly refer to Westchester as “upstate New York,” no doubt they are picturing places like the rural hamlet of North Salem, with open green pastures, old stone walls, and white-fenced horse farms. Since North Salem is the unofficial epicenter of Westchester’s horse country, it’s no surprise that this is where top equestrian Georgina Bloomberg, the 32-year-old daughter of New York’s former mayor, makes her home locally. As I pull up to Gotham North, her horse farm, I’m greeted by a colorful riot of impatiens flowering on either side of a closed white wooden gate. Outdoors, everything appears immaculately manicured, indeed pristine. Yet inside, the old house is surprisingly unassuming and lived-in. Bloomberg, her toddler, Jasper, and I sit in an unfussy little sitting room off the kitchen with comfy stuffed chairs, while some of her five rescue dogs roam in and out. It’s all very down-to-earth, like Bloomberg herself. Clad in gray breeches, a light blue tee, and dime store rubber flip-flops, she strikes me as grounded, smart, and thoughtful.
Bloomberg is a warm, easy-going mother to Jasper, who was born on Christmas Eve 2013—days after his famous grandfather left office; Jasper’s dad is Bloomberg’s ex-boyfriend, Argentine equestrian Ramiro Quintana. For someone who already has an outdoor gallery named in his honor at the new Whitney Museum of American Art and is an heir to a $38 billion fortune, the adorable Jasper is just a regular little boy and, like his mom, given to quick giggles. Sporting a striped logo-free tee and shorts, and clutching two Peppa Pig stuffed animals, he “reads” his transportation pop-up books while we chat. Though they usually spend a few days a week in her Manhattan apartment and several winter months in Wellington, Florida—picture North Salem with sunshine—Bloomberg considers this 50-plus acre property, purchased in 2002, her primary residence. In addition to her rescue dogs, it’s also home to eight to 10 competition horses and a few retired ones, and even more rescues—two mules, two mini-horses, and Wilbur the pig.
Bloomberg—George to her pals—knows the county well. When her mother was pregnant with her, the family bought a home in Armonk where she spent weekends and vacations during her childhood, often riding at Old Salem Farm in North Salem. She has fond memories of time spent locally, including going to the movies in Mount Kisco and for pizza across the street. She still often heads back to Armonk, picking up gourmet provisions at Country Kitchen, stopping in at childhood favorite Hickory and Tweed, and buying kids’ clothing at Jagger & Jade. She also enjoys dining at One Twenty One and VOX, both in her adopted hometown of North Salem, where Bloomberg is happily surprised by the sense of community. “Everyone is a little horsey, and it’s really like being in a small town,” she says. “When I went into the general store after the Pan Am games, people welcomed me back. They know who you are.”
Bloomberg concedes she’s not the typical Westchester mom—she competes in 30 or more shows, which are several days long each, in a typical year, to which Jasper and a nanny accompany her. But she relishes her mom days, including a local toddler-parent music class most Monday mornings. As for when her son will start to ride, she’s waiting for him to ask. “I’m not just going to just stick him on a pony and say, ‘You’re riding,’” she says. Bloomberg started riding at age 4. “My parents were very supportive, but they didn’t care if I ever won a class—just that I was happy and safe.” What was her attraction to the sport? “I loved the ponies and the horses and the lifestyle of just being able to hang out at the barn with my friends,” recalls Bloomberg, who has also written four young adult novels about the competitive horse world.
Bloomberg believes that motherhood has changed her for the better, as both a person and a rider. “It’s made the little things in life matter less because, for me, he’s the most important thing,” she says. “Obviously, you learn from your mistakes in this sport and can’t pretend that all the bad things don’t happen,” she adds. “But you can’t let it get you down or prevent you from working hard the next day. You move on, and you smile.” And motherhood has been good for her career. “Things have been going so well since I had him,” she notes. “Usually people who have a child are not as physically tough or focused. For me, it’s been the opposite. When I ride, I’m more focused because I have less time to do it.” She even took third place in the World Cup qualifier at the Hampton Classic Horse Show when she was five-months pregnant with Jasper. “At the time, I felt it was the right decision for me, and I’m happy I did it,” she says. “But knowing the person that he is, I would not be able to do that with a second pregnancy.”
After the Hampton Classic in the summer of 2014, Bloomberg recalls that she wasn’t very happy with how the show had gone for her. “We were in the car on the way home, and I said, ‘Jasper, today didn’t go so well. But bad days happen, and I’m going to go home and practice. And you know what? I’m going to win the Central Park Grand Prix.’” And she did. Held in New York City last fall, this inaugural show was the first equestrian event to ever be shown on live television in prime time on a major sports network. Also riding was another daughter of a famous name—Jessica Springsteen. They are good friends who frequently compete against one another, says Bloomberg.
Bloomberg has enjoyed a strong 2015 season. This winter, she won the $127,000 Adequan Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival and helped the US show jumping team to a
second-place finish at the FEI Nations Cup, both in Florida. In July, she was part of the US show jumping team that won a bronze medal in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, marking her first time representing Team USA in a major, multi-sport competition. And at the end of September she defended her championship title in the US Open Grand Prix at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. While she had a good ride, she did not ultimately place in the top ten. She did, however, place seventeenth, winning $1,200, in the event's US Open FEI Speed.
But being a Bloomberg has not been without some growing pains for the accomplished equestrian. In 2003, at age 19, she was interviewed in Born Rich, a documentary profiling young heirs to famous fortunes, directed by Johnson & Johnson scion Jamie Johnson. She’s shown at a stable saying, “Having the last name Bloomberg sucks.” Clearly her feelings about her famous surname have changed dramatically since her teens. “Everybody makes this big deal, but it’s one random thing that I did as a favor for a friend,” she comments. “I don’t think there’s anybody who never said anything when they were younger that they then regretted.” Since then, she adds, “I’ve grown into it and am very grateful for and proud of my father, and he’s very proud of everything I’ve done.” Her dad typically sees Jasper, his oldest grandchild, every couple of weeks.
Bloomberg clearly respects and emulates her parents’ child-rearing style, particularly its emphasis on giving back. Indeed, the best part of having a famous last name, she stresses, is the exposure it can bring to her philanthropic efforts: She’s on the board of the ASPCA; launched The Rider’s Closet, a charity that donates lightly used riding apparel to those in need; and, with another famous-last-name friend, Amanda Hearst, helped start a chapter of Friends of Finn that’s dedicated to fighting puppy mills. “A huge part of it is raising awareness, and so if having a more recognizable name helps, I’m going to use it for good,” she notes.
What’s next for Bloomberg? “My focus now is 100 percent on competing,” she says. “Right now I have good horses and I am fit, so I really want to put myself into my career.” She’s also likely to found a local animal sanctuary and rescue organization, design a line of women’s riding clothes, and maybe give Jasper a sibling. “I would love to have more kids,” she says. “Jasper’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve always wanted a big family.”