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Canadian FEI dressage rider, trainer, coach and breeder Jayne Essig runs her own equestrian business, Equinox Acres Dressage based at Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island. The highly experienced and successful Jayne is a recipient of the Equestrian Canada Gold Rider Award, and is a US Dressage Federation Silver Medalist. Additionally, Jayne is an EC Medium Level Judge and an EC High Performance Coach 1 and has competed at the FEI level for several years with many different horses throughout Canada and the US including California and Florida! 
Read on to learn more about Jayne, her ambitions and top tips for success

Tell us about you and your horses

horse and rider
Jayne and Hachiko, aka Donny
I am a Canadian FEI Dressage Rider, Dressage ‘M’ Judge and High Performance coach.  I currently have three main horses, the youngest is Duran Duran EQ, he is a 4 yo Stallion that I bred and presented for licensing through the GOV this past summer.  He’s a very cool young horse and one I’m excited to develop!

My next youngest is the 11 yo KWPN Gelding, Hachiko.  His barn name is Donny and he’s the biggest goofiest guy in the barn!  Donny competed in his first PSG in October and is on track for small tour next year.  Lastly is Denver S who is a 15 yo Dutch (KWPN) Gelding by Jazz.  He is currently competing at the small tour level, and I have shown him form BC to California and in Florida last season.  I also operate a small breeding farm and coaching business here on Vancouver Island BC, Canada.

How did your horses come into your life?

Jayne Essig dressage rider
Jayne and Denver S competing at the PSG Int 1 level last year. His high score was a 69%
Duran Duran, barn name Randy, is from our breeding program.  We do a small amount of breeding and have quite a few youngsters coming up the line. Hachiko, aka Donny was purchased during the pandemic and was somewhat of an impulse buy.  He was originally purchased with the intention to re-sell however has become a part of our family and is now co-owned with a good friend who rides him also part time when we are not competing.

As for Denver, he was purchased in 2018 from a barn in Washington State, USA, which is just south from us, here in Canada.  He had been imported by the previous owner two years prior and I have really enjoyed learning so much from and with this amazing horse.

When and where do you ride?

I typically ride most mornings, we have spent the past 20 years developing our farm and completed the indoor arena in 2020, so I mostly ride at home. Unless I am away at a clinic or showing.  I have been fortunate to travel with the horses and I have competed in California quite a few times as well as in Florida.

How did you start riding?

Jayne Essig Canadian dressage rider
Jayne and Donny at Thunderbird Langley BC 4th level championship class. Donny’s high score was a 74% in 4-3 The pair also debuted his first PSG
I actually started in Western.  I rode at a Western barn where we took out trail rides and did gymkhanas.

What are you and your horses currently working on?

Randy is gaining strength and balance required for the 5 yo FEI test, Donny is coming along with his changes and gaining the strength for the small tour next year and Denver is progressing towards the Int II.  I stay fit by using my peloton bike, practicing the Dave Thind method of Feldenkrais and working out once a week with a personal trainer.

What do you love about riding?

The ability to communicate with the horses in the most subtle ways.  I love to ride with light aids and a lot of feel.  For me that is success, when they are willing partners on this journey with you, together as one.


What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

Duran Duran EQ, aka Randy working at home during training and presentation for GOV Licensing.
I would love to qualify Randy for Ermelo YH championships.  I also believe Donny could be a team horse for Canada and I would love to progress him to the GP in the future.

Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding? 

Yes.  I had a complete hip replacement many years ago and a more recent spinal operation.  I have worked hard to overcome my fears in riding and currently work with Sports performance coach Lorna Hogarth of Mind EQ.

How do you deal with them?

Hard work.  There are no shortcuts.  Find a mental coach, someone that can help you stay accountable and take action towards your goals.

Do you have any rituals for before competing?

Visualize my test, ride every moment in real time and ‘fast frame’. I do also have a good luck bracelet I like to wear that reminds me of where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Your Top Tip

Be your own advocate and an advocate for your horse.  Horse first, sport second, always.  This is what true horsemanship is about.

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

Find your WHY.  You must find the joy in the journey, or it is only a job, a chore.  You are not going to win every competition, have every day go as planned, so learning to enjoy the process will help keep you motivated and progressing in the sport!.



Down the Centre Line


Who would be your dream horse to ride?

I believe Charlotte Dujardin’s star mount Valegro has been the greatest athlete in our sport to date, a horse that can do everything for a 10 and it would be a dream to sit on him!  A close second would be Catherine Dufour’s Olympic horse Cassidy, I have always loved the harmony with this combo.

Who is your equestrian hero?

I have a few, as many of us, I’m a big fan of Carl & Charlotte and their approach to the training and management of their horses.  I’m also a fan girl for Sabine Schut-Kery as I love her story and where she has gone to in her riding career.  I’ve also been fortunate to have had lessons with Charlotte and Sabine and was a chosen rider to ride with Carl at a recent symposium.


If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

All celebrity riders aside, I would love to have one more dinner with the people I love who have passed away.  My Mother, Grandma, Aunt, Father-in-law, and friend.

Favourite colour horse?


Favourite horse event?

CDI Fritzen, Austria.  This is an incredible venue in the Alps – I was pretty sure we were lost on our way there. Amazing horses, hospitality and views that are second to none.

Favourite food?

Ceasar salad (homemade of course)

Favourite way to relax?

Watching a movie with my family, fire on.


Favourite film?

Since its almost Christmas… ‘Love Actually’ will definitely be playing soon

Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Jayne you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here .  You can keep up with Jayne’s progress and check out her instagram page here     

Sharon Howe

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