St Swithun’s pupil Jessica Gale, age 15 from Hambledon, has gained a coveted place in the Junior National Dressage squad with her horse Ultra Jazz.
The GB squad will train together and work to improve their scores in line with other top European countries. Jessica will be competing internationally next year as an individual competitor. The best and most consistent four performers from the GB squad will then be chosen as a team for the European Championships.
In September Jessica was one of 12 talented riders selected to attend an induction day for the British Equestrian Federation England Excel Talent Programme. The programme aims to produce a talent pool of up and coming riders throughout England, providing selected individuals with access to top equestrian specialists including coaches, physiotherapists, psychologists, vets and nutritionists via a series of rider performance camps. The theme of the induction was 'What does it take to be an elite rider?' David Hamer leader of the programme said “….The induction day set the theme for the whole programme which is to develop riders for future Olympics and Paralympics."
Jessica also recently participated in the National Schools Dressage Championships which took place at the beginning of half term. The individual championships in which Jess was competing for the Novice and Elementary titles were on the first day and the second day was the team championship. The St Swithun’s team consisted of Katherine Roe, age 14 from Fisher’s Pond, Katie Hobhouse, age 17 from Sutton Scotney and Jessica.
Jessica won the Novice Championship and was 6th in the Elementary on her talented younger horse Rebellski. Jessica has worked relentlessly with her trainer, International dressage rider Denise Hallion to achieve their goals on both Ultra Jazz and Rebellski, exceeding both their expectations in only 18 months.
The team put up a good fight in the team class – of the 20 schools entered St Swithun’s finished a commendable 10th with both Katie and Jess being placed in their arenas.