Austrian born, Portugese international Grand Prix dressage rider Jeannette Jenny had her first taste of international fame in 2003 when she represented Portugal at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden. A year later Jenny rode in a display of Lusitano horses at the Global Dressage Forum in Hooge Mierde (NED). Jenny’s big break-through at FEI level came aboard Luis Pidwell’s Lusitano licensed stallion, Spartacus. Jeannette took the small bay from young horse level as a 4-year old up to Grand Prix. Their international small tour debut was at the 2008 CDI Ponte de Lima and they competed at a CDI at international Grand Prix level in 2010 at Arruda Dos Vinhos. This was also her last international show until 2022 following a very severe Asthma condition. During this time Jeannette continued to compete and work, running her own training business with her husband in Golega. Jeannette finally returned to the international arena at the 2022 CDI Alter do Chao, with her wonderful 14-year old Lusitano, Damasco. Read on to learn more about Jeannette, her ambitions and top tips for success
Tell us about you and your horses
I was born in Austria and moved to Portugal when I was eighteen years old. I started riding when I was eleven or twelve. I have always been crazy about animals, or everything that moves.
In Portugal I started riding Lusitanos and I really love them.
I’m a professional rider , so most of the horses I ride belong to clients. However, Damasco , which is my GP horse , belongs to my husband and me. He was given to us when he was only one month old.
We started him at home, and he did a lot of Working Equitation with a student . He was part of the Portuguese Team at the 2018 World Championship in Munich and was individual bronze medal.
Some time later we decided that I would start to ride him to do Dressage with him.
I think he is the only Lusitano to date that was part of the Portuguese Senior Team of Working Equitation and Dressage
How did your horses come into your life?
In very different ways. I’ve received two horses as a gift, I’ve had clients from other countries completely disapearing on me and leaving their horse with me and I have bought horses.
When and where do you ride?
My husband and I have a rented barn in a city called “Torres Novas”, that is central Portugal and it’s 15 min from Golegã , the Capital of the Horse where we live and used to have our horses for thirteen years.
How did you start riding?
I used to go to a small farm , where a friend of mine and me were allowed to ride a Haflinger mare. One day I fell and had a head trauma , so my mother said that I would have to have lessons to be able to continue riding . That’s all I ever do since then.
What you and your horses currently working on?
I ride horses with different ages , so they do very different work. Some I prepare to compete others I keep fit for there owners to ride , others are for sale, whatever is needed.
What do you love about riding?
What I love about riding is of course the contact to the horse .
I also really love the challenge of teaching and training a horse. Every horse is different and needs different techniques, skills, and timing.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Let’s see how far me and my horses can go, with horses you never know.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Of course, I believe every rider, especially competition riders, have to deal with nerves from time to time.
How do you deal with them?
I can really focus on my horse and shut out everything around me, so that really helps.
I used to ride a really famous Lusitano stallion called “Spartacus” and when I competed him or rode him in public, we had a lot of eyes on us . Shutting out everyone and everything around me really helped
Do you have anything that you do/rituals for good luck before competing?
I need some peace and quite with my horse before competing
Your Top Tip
Don’t push your horse too much, be content with little things.
Work really hard on good basic work, it’s the foundation for everything else.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
The first time I tried to ride one tempi changes my teacher at that time (Nuno Palma e Santos), after a few failed attempts, told that it is a little bit like dancing. Left leg – right leg – left leg – right leg
Immediately after I did ten, one tempi changes, because I understood the aid. I never forgot that It’s all about finding the right words
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Who would’t love to Valegro once
Who is your equestrian hero?
I really admire Carl Hester, Kyra Kyrklund or Isabel Werth amongst a few others.
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
My mother, my brother, my husband, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner. Funny mix , I know
Favourite colour horse?
I like every colour , maybe I’m not to crazy about cremello
Favourite horse event?
The World Championship for young Dressage Horses is amazing Event, Olympics, World Equestrian games or the European Championships
Sea bream baked in Bread dough with vegetables and sauces
Favourite way to relax?
Watch TV with a glass of red Wine
Who doesn’t love Pretty Women or Harry Potter
If you enjoyed meeting Jeannette you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here . You can keep up with Jeannette’s progress and check out her instagram page here