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Jumping Into Dressage By Jayne Nessif

point of view

So in that sense, my story is probably not much different from that of anyone else. The “horse bug” bit me at an early age and I have been infected ever since! I laugh every time my mother says she can’t believe I still do this “horse thing.” I was the luckiest girl in the world when I got my first pony, which I showed in 4-H, my first horse, which I showed western locally and at the state fair, my first hunter I successfully showed at local and rated shows, and my wonderful stallion on whom I learned and competed in the jumpers. It was while competing in Palm Beach,


Florida each winter with my jumper, training with a two time Olympian that I felt I truly arrived as a rider. Getting a leg up, going to the ring, navigating difficult courses and hoping to be one of the 12 in my class of 60 or so to get a ribbon was the ultimate riding experience! It was there that I had my first “encounter” with

dressage. I watched while walking past the rings as big beautiful horses did fancy things while ridden by people dressed in top hats, white gloves, make-up and pearl earrings . . . how silly! I figured they were not called “queens” by accident. What little knowledge I had was that they imported big, fancy, hot horses and were scared to death to ride them. It was hard to respect them as true riders. After all, it’s not as if they were going to crash and burn if they made a mistake. That was the true measure of a legitimate riding discipline! Then something happened. The thrill of jumping was no longer that, but more an exercise in convincing myself I was having fun while praying I didn’t have a life altering distance to each fence! I loved to ride and compete so what was I going to do? Ahhh, dressage! Seemed safe enough and how hard could it be? So I sold my jumper and took some basic dressage lessons on my stallion who was retired from jumping. After some investigating I learned a new dressage

62 September/October 2009

Jayne and Davy Crockett debut at training level at PVDA’s Ride for Life in ’08.

Photo courtesy of BHS Photography.

trainer, Jessica Jo (J.J.) Tate, was coming to the area. I met her while in Florida and told her I was new to dressage and shopping for a horse. Upon our return from Florida, we met and I tried some horses she had for sale. I fell head over heels in love with “Davy Crockett” (Donavan–Winpenny). He was everything I wanted in a horse but some things I didn’t. He was a gorgeous horse with a sweet disposition and gaits to die for but was almost 17 hands and only four years old. At 5’2” and no spring chicken, I was hesitant but I tried him several times anyway. He didn’t seem to care about my lack of dressage knowledge so I bought him. That was June of 2007 and what a journey it has been! A little intimidated by the pressure of learning a new discipline with a new trainer on a new young horse who had already proven himself by ranking 7th in the country and Region 1 Champion in the 4-year-old division, I decided to completely immerse myself into this process!

But first things first. If you are going to ride the part

you have to look the part! New clothes and tack were a must to which my husband replied, “Can’t you use any of

am certain every rider’s journey to trotting down centerline is paved with an array of past riding experiences. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76
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