Jessie has been awarded the top honor as Junior Exhibitor of the year by the US Equestrian Federation, our national governing body for all equestrian sport in this country. Truly this is a distinguished honor and one deserved in full by this wonderful young woman we are proud to call a friend and consider call a member of our extended family. She's means a lot to all of our riders** for her support, sportsmanship, friendship and cheerleading. **(Ask Portay about "channeling her inner Jessica Moctezuma" prior to heading thru the gate! )
This year, at Louisville as the riders rode for their ribbons in the esteemed Senior Equitation Championship, Jessie displayed the most outstanding display of horsemanship I saw thoughout the entire week long 2008 Kentucky State Fair World's Championshp Horse Show. After a grueling class of more than 45 minutes of length consisting of rail work, periods of retirement and individual testing- her young, new equitation partner tested her the most at the very end- during her individual work- "Elvis" lost his concentration a bit- perhaps saw the outgate as they were headed in the direction, I am not sure -Jessie read it- stopped in between elements and before pushing him to the next one- stopped under the biggest pressure of her life, breathed, and put her hand on his neck for a couple of moments, gathered her reins and went flawlessly into the next move. That bloggers, is HORSEMANSHIP. The horse first. Without the horse as priority # 1, the ride is nothing.
The last few years of her practice have been hundreds of hours on hundreds of throwaway horses- American Saddlebreds that were plucked from the pipeline for slaughter. Saddlebred Rescue Inc. picks these animals up, sick-thin- and down on their luck- then rehabilitates and schools them for placement to good homes as solid citizens. Jess's mom Nealia McCracken houses a branch of SBR at their farm in New Jersey and Jessie has been an important part of the process to save them as SBR's #1 "Crash Test Dummy" test rider.
When Jessie rode out of that class back in August, she did so, with her 8th place (oh someone will correct me if I am wrong here I don't remember the color) to an ovation rivaling a rock star- good girl, Jess. Congratulations on the final award of your Junior Exhibitor career being one exemplifying the most important thing of all- your horsemanship over a period time. Congratulations to Nealia and Mark and Mayo and everyone at Northwind.
Check out this article from nj.com