Wally was purchased five years ago, and Jessica was quickly hooked. “I also started competing Sue in the dressage arena for Sam and took her through the levels. After three years of competing, Wally was unable to compete at Small Tour and Medium Tour level any longer, and I was very sad; I didn’t have anything else that was able to compete at those levels, as at the time I had just the Arabians that I was training up and doing different things with – such as showing and endurance. I was still young and competing Sue in the FEI pony classes.”
At the point, Jessica knew she wanted to continue riding dressage. “I found that it was a sport where you could see the training and your work paying off and where you got to see exactly what you needed to improve on,” she recalls.
“Sam saw how distraught I was at not being able to do something that I love, so she and Brett had a conversation at Sabble Farm and they decided that they wanted to pursue supporting my dressage career. We went around Australia and had a look at the dressage horses, but nothing really caught our eye enough for Sabble Farm to purchase, so we headed overseas and I was very fortunate… we went over for one horse and we actually came back with three! Gladstone M.H. for Sam to ride, Zanzibar – a Grand Prix schoolmaster that I had to allow me to learn all the Grand Prix movements – and Eskara De Jeu. I’ve since taken over the ride on Gladstone… he is amazing!
“Sabble Farm are a big part of my dressage career now and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity and for how much they support me. We wouldn’t be in the position we are with these sorts of horses without them. We’re very lucky that we have our own dressage horse, Kilamanjaro, that we imported as a young horse – but without Sabble Farm’s help with getting me to Grand Prix and teaching me all the movements with their horses, I wouldn’t have been able to bring Kilimanjaro up as well or as quickly as I have,” says Jessica, adding that Kilimanjaro, her Junior horse, has taken everything in his stride and is pushing through the levels pretty quickly
Jessica says she’s been fortunate to have had great support in her dressage career to date, and on the coaching side of things explains that her mother and Australian Olympian Mary Hanna have had the biggest influence on her success in this discipline.
“I’ve had many different coaches throughout the years when I was younger and doing different things such as showing and endurance, but Mary and my mum have been the biggest help in the dressage arena. Mary has been my coach now for years, since when I first got these dressage horses. She has been a very, very big influence, and I’m still getting coached by her every week. I was very thankful that she could come down and coach me at the Australian Championships, even though she wasn’t competing this year. She made the trip down to help me out, which was amazing.
“While Mary was overseas (campaigning for the Tokyo Olympics and FEI World Championships), if I needed help with something I could send her videos. I also had lessons with Rozzie Ryan, who was a great help; Mary and Rozzie… they work very well together with their coaching styles.
“My mum coaches me at home. If I’m stuck with anything, she has her office attached to the arena, so she actually can look out and give me help any time I need it. I’m also on the Victorian Young Rider Dressage Squad, where we have access to different coaches and get insight from different people.”