This week I’m delighted to be chatting with the exciting young British dressage rider Jessie McConkey . Nineteen year-old Jessie has already represented team GBR at three European championships and has a wealth of experience for one so young and is certainly one to watch. Read on to discover more about this extremely talented equestrian, her horses, ambitions, and her top tip for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
Hi! My name is Jessie, I’m a 19-year-old dressage rider based in South Oxfordshire. I have recently moved back to the UK having worked at Van Olst Horses for the last year, in the Netherlands, where I was a riding under Lottie Fry. I was fortunate enough to take both my horses Lady Gaga (stable name Millie) and Wilson Stensvang and receive regular training from both Anne VanOlst and Lottie.
Lady Gaga joined my team in 2017 as an 8-year-old, and has since taken me competing across Europe, including 3 European Championships. She is a 13-year-old bay mare by Quarterback, and we are now looking to campaign in our second year of Young Riders together.
Wilson, an 11-year-old Gelding (Wilkins x Don Schufro) is an exciting prospect who joined my team in 2019. Having not competed with him much due to the pandemic I’m looking forward to taking him out in the 2022 season.
How did your horses come into your life?
Coming from a non-horsey family I guess I have had a slightly different route into the equestrian world. Being obsessed with horses since I was a little girl, my parents took me to a local riding school, and it all kicked off from there.
How long have you been riding?
The typical answer I’m pretty sure everyone has… but honestly as long as I can remember.
When and where do you ride?
I’m super lucky to have my horses with me at home… so naturally I ride as often as I can as much as I can! But generally, I will work my two 4 times a week in training mixed with hacking and lunging.
How did you start riding?
I got my first pony when I was six and tried everything from showing, dressage, showjumping, and eventing. Although dressage was the discipline that eventually got me hooked.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
Millie and I are now beginning to step up the levels together playing with a bit of piaffe passage in training, and she is showing a lot of talent for it so far!
PSG is a new level for Wilson, and to date he has only done three… so heading into the 2022 season we are working on getting some of the trickier movements more established.
What do you love about riding?
My favourite part of riding is competing! I love taking them out to shows and really showcasing the horse’s talent in the arena and the training we have practiced at home. But the whole process to me is also equally as enjoyable, building that partnership with each horse and getting to know their individual personalities is why I love my sport!
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
Short term I am hoping to make Team GBR young rider team at European Championships in July 2022, held this year on home soil at Hartpury.
But in the future competing at Grand Prix internationally would be the ultimate Goal!
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Of course! Luckily heading into the arena, I can keep a pretty cool head. But in the lead up to a big show I can definitely feel a few butterflies like many other athletes and riders do.
How do you deal with them?
Being a dressage rider with a perfectionist streak I focus on all the little things in my control and do them to the best of my ability.
Your Top Tip
Have fun! Go out and experience as much as you can, compete as much as you can and take it all in. The best part of working with horses is the memories you can make with your horses and the people you meet.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Glamourdale, But working at Van Olst I have been lucky enough to have sat on him!
But I also couldn’t also not say Valegro!
Who is your equestrian hero?
I look up to so many riders, but Carl Hester has to be the King of dressage
If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?
Carl Hester, Jenifer Lawrence, Elton John, Russell Howard, David Attenborough
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Aachen Youngstars, but one day I really hope to compete at Aachen CHIO!
Food… couldn’t choose
Favourite way to relax?
Going out with friends
Favourite film ?
The Hunger Games
If you enjoyed meeting Jessie you might like to view more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Jessie’s progress and check out her instagram page here