Jess Land is a 20 year-old, self-employed horse rider from Christchurch. She is a thoroughbred enthusiast and has successfully schooled many ex-racehorses in eventing and show jumping. Jess will be documenting her progress with her newest edition, Arnie, in the Recycling Racehorses mini-series for Equine Online.
Make sure you check her out on Facebook: Jess Land Equestrian
When did you start riding horses?
Who are your coaches?
Dani Maurer and Donna Smith. Gina Schick helps me out a lot with general advice and when I’m in her area I get lots of help from her.
How have horses helped you travel New Zealand?
We don’t have as many events in the South Island so I tend to do several North Island trips a year to compete with my team which makes for some fun road trips round the country!
Tell us about your team of horses:
I currently have a full team of thoroughbreds all from EventStars! Solly was my first thoroughbred off the track two years ago. He’s now six and currently competing at 95cm and about to make the step up to 105cm. He’s a bit quirky so has been a slow work in progress but he’s super rewarding and I’m excited to see where he’ll end up! I also have Trixie, a five year-old who arrived in October. She’s just about to step up to 105cm and would have to be the bravest horse I’ve ever sat on. She tries really hard and I just love her to pieces. The last of my competition team is Arnie who is also five. I picked him up just over a month ago. He’s a real dude and the chilled out one of the team and takes everything in his stride. You can read about his progress over the first six issues of Equine Online. I also have some youngsters growing up in the paddock and a few projects so I’m pretty busy.
Why do you think ex-racehorses are special, and why do they make fantastic sporthorses?
I love how trainable they are. They’ve had all the hard work done at the track and they adapt really well to a change of career. I find they are really sound horses and once they understand their job, will give 110%.
What gave you the idea to launch Jess Land Equestrian?
I couldn’t picture myself in an office job and I love working with young horses and problem horses. I find it really rewarding being able to work with a horse that other people have written off and find out what makes them tick. I figured I may as well try make a career out of it and after just over a year of being in business I’m having a blast! In my first year I had over 80 horses through the books and sold around 40 which was gave me a bit of a buzz.
Tell us about some of your proudest moments with horses:
Placing second in the Junior Rider on my old thoroughbred who had been written off by a few people was pretty awesome. Last year when I placed fifth on a horse I’d produced in the Young Event Horse class at the SI 3DE. I’m hoping I can improve on that placing this year! Finishing sixth in the Pre-Novice at Taupo 3DE in my first Pre-Novice start was very cool. One of my other proudest moments was seeing Kennebrook Duchess, who I started under saddle and evented to 95cm and show-jumped to 1.10m, win a couple of her classes at HOY with her new owner Amy Gibbs!
Who is in your support crew?
My family is my biggest support crew- they back all my crazy ideas and travels! I also have an amazing bunch of friends, and some great coaches who try to tame them! Sorry Dani and Gina- I don’t think I could count the number of times you’ve said I told you so!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. When everything seems to be going against you, remember the aeroplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
What is your funniest or most embarrassing moment with horses?
Getting bucked off my top horse jumping over a 70cm oxer in a lesson! He was a bit fresh and I wasn’t expecting the amount of bouncing I got on landing.