New GB Nations Cup Squad Member Jess Dimmock | *INTERVIEW*

Written by Tuesday, 02 May 2017 10:08
Down time: Jess with Billy Fleance Down time: Jess with Billy Fleance Jess Dimmock/Facebook

Back in 2012 (five years ago, can you believe it?!) Trot On got to speak to young show-jumper, Jess Dimmock, fresh off the back of her huge win at Horse of the Year Show where she topped the Young Rider Championships with her horse, Capello. Just before her selection for the GB Nations Cup Team, I caught up with Jess, now 23 and based in Northamptonshire, to discuss how her equestrian life has progressed and to get some tips along the way…

Things have really changed for you since 2012 when Trot On interviewed you after your win at HOYS. How have things progressed since then?

“We have a new yard now which the horses have been living on for a couple of years. We have also built a new house on the yard which should be finished in a month or so, so obviously that’s really exciting and it will be great to live on site with the horses. Our new yard is much bigger, with great professional facilities which have made a huge difference.”

And what about your horse, Capello? What is he doing now?

“After HOYS in 2012, Capello and I went on to compete at Olympia. I then had to make the decision to sell him which I needed to do in order to fund my career, but Capello really set me up and helped me to get to where I am now. He’s gone to Norway where he is still competing with an amateur rider. Capello was such a special horse because he had the heart of a lion – he wasn’t necessarily as talented as some of the other horses out there, and he hadn’t got on very well at his previous home, so we had to start right at the bottom. However, he would do absolutely anything for me because he genuinely wanted to work and he loved his job, which was how we had the success that we did together.”

Jess and Cybel, Oliva Nova, Spain.

So what horses have you got now? 
“Cybel is my top horse; she is nine and it jumping at Grand Prix level, and whilst we were competing abroad in Spain she competed at four star level. She’s a really talented horse and is almost on a par with Capello. My aim for her is to get a place on the Nations Cup team and to compete for Great Britain – that would be amazing. I have a six year old called Billy Fleance, who came second in the Six Year Olds Final at the Sunshine Tour, so I’m really excited about her. I also have three four year olds, who have only just been broken, so they are still learning the ropes. We do a lot with the Billy stud, with Billy Fleance obviously being one of theirs.”

Jess and Cybel have since achieved their goal of gaining a place on the Nations Cup Team - very exciting news for this talented pair!

You mentioned that you recently competed abroad in Spain – do you enjoy competing abroad and what are the benefits?

“Yes, we have recently come back from competing at the Sunshine Tour in Spain, which is a fantastic venue where international show-jumpers come together to compete for five weeks. I love competing abroad, and it has opened up loads of opportunities for me. It’s enabled me to meet so many people and to make some great connections which is good for selling horses abroad. It is also good for my CV and competing internationally has enabled me to gain world ranking points. There is no better place in Europe to compete than the Sunshine Tour, because the facilities are so fantastic and there are so many big names there. You can learn a huge amount just from watching these top-class horses compete and from listening to other riders.”

Billy Fleance 2nd in the 6 Year Old Final on the Spanish Sunshine Tour

How does competing abroad so much affect your social life?

“Being away so much competing has meant that I haven’t really kept in touch with many of my school friends or friends from home, so the majority of my friends are also horsey, since I tend to socialise within the same circles as other riders. One of my best friends lives in Scotland and the other lives in Yorkshire so we’re all spread apart, but we get to see each other at shows which means they are great occasions for socialising as well as competing. In Spain there were probably more Brits there than anyone else, and we all lived and worked together for five weeks, so obviously became very close. It is such a tight-knit team, and we all really stick together and help each other out. The social aspect to show-jumping is all part of it, and it one of the things that makes it so great!”

When we spoke to you in 2012, you were being trained by Tim Stockdale – is this still the case? 

“Yes, Tim still trains me. We have a really good relationship together, and he is one of the best trainers in the country so it is great to be able to learn from him. He is also the rider who inspires me the most, because he didn’t just have it all handed to him on a plate. Instead he really had to work so hard to get to where he is now, and he has done it all himself, so I admire him a lot for that.” 

Tim Stockdale, Jess' Mum and Jess riding Capello back in 2012

You also mentioned that your mum was an integral part of your team…how important is your relationship with her to your success?

“My mum is so important! Now I’ve progressed and have a team around me with grooms and trainers, my mum doesn’t have quite such an input but she does a huge amount behind the scenes. She does key jobs like my book-keeping and all the paperwork, so I couldn’t do it all without her.”

How do you go about preparing for competitions to ensure that both you and your horses are on top form? 

“I’m a pretty healthy person, and I like to make sure I keep myself fit by going to the gym at least twice a week. I find that over a long period of time, this really helps me with my riding, but it’s also just something that I enjoy! Before I started riding, I ran at a high level so I’ve always been interested keeping fit. As for the horses, they get ridden six times a week, but we really try to keep their work varied by doing different things like gymnastic exercises and taking them up the gallops, and we do a bit of schooling with them too which is really important. We just want to keep their work fun for them so that they want to do it.” 

'My Future Stars' ♥

How do you keep your horses level-headed? I imagine this can be tricky, especially when they are so fit…

 “At the end of the day, they are extremely fit, blood animals. We try to let them go out and have a good gallop around the fields, and we just want to let them be horses. Our ground gets really bad in winter which means they can’t be turned out, but when the weather is better we like to get them out as much as possible.”

Show-jumping can sometimes get a bit of bad press, with people criticising the training methods that are used. How would you respond to this? 

“As far as I’m aware, attention surrounding show-jumping tends to be positive. Obviously you do get some people who are very hard on their horses, but most people I know treat their horses very well. It is so important that they’re treated as animals and not just as machines. I try to do my own thing really.”

What are the worst mistakes that you see being made with people when training and competing? What advice would you give to others to help prevent these mistakes? 

“I think one of the worst mistakes is putting an inexperienced rider on an inexperienced horse, as this can lead to so many huge problems. Inexperienced riders are so much better off going with a more experienced horse to show them the ropes. It is also all too easy to over-do it with young horses; you’ve got to remember that they are young and that they are still learning, but you want to keep them on your side so that they actually want to do it for you.” 

How do your deal with nerves at big events?

“I mainly try not to overthink things, and to stay nice and positive. I always go over the course in my head to make sure I know it just before I go in to the ring, but I know that my horses are fit and that they are capable. Often you see people overthinking things too much and they end up making mistakes, so I tend to just to go in there and get stuck in to it.”

'Delighted to have received a wild card to jump at Olympia in the Under 23's.. All thanks to the amazing Cybel!' 

What are your goals for the future? 

“I am really hoping that Cybel and I will be selected for to ride for Team GB at the 2017 Nations Cup. That would definitely be a career highlight, and is something I have my sights firmly set on. I also just want to carry on producing nice horses, and I want to be able to continue to do what I love as a career rather than a hobby. It isn’t always easy, but the long days and cold nights are all made so worthwhile when things go well.”

Jess’ recent selection for the Nations Cup Team just goes to show that dreams can be achieved with hard work – I’m thrilled for her!

My fingers and toes are firmly crossed for Jess and her team of horses for the Nations Cup and beyond…2017 looks to be a fantastic and a very exciting year for them. You can follow her progress via her Facebook page . Good luck Jess! 

Photos: Jess Dimmock/Facebook


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1 comment

  • Comment Link Julie Moore Tuesday, 02 May 2017 13:35 posted by Julie Moore

    Congratulations Jess and well deserved!! Glad to see your horses get to be horses and have fun too! Some lovely photos. Good Luck to you and Cybel in the Nations Cup ?#inspiration