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