Jessica Ransehousen
jessica.jpgWhen I began riding with Jessica Ransehousen she was already a driving force in American dressage. In 1983 I had decided to pursue my riding education with a vengeance. Jessica gave a clinic in New Jersey and I was able to attend. The thought of riding with the two-time Olympian was intimidating but she proved to be a positive and encouraging instructor.

Following the clinic, I rode with Jessica at every opportunity. My horses Georgie Girl and Four Winds were not the most talented dressage mounts but she fostered my understanding of dressage training through the second level movements. Her international competitive experience and knowledge were impressive but she always seemed willing to share it all, even with a low-level rider like myself. I can still hear her voice as I rode her school horse Fair Lad and attempted my first pirouette. We cantered across the diagonal on the left lead,slowed, prepared and proceeded to execute a right pirouette."That was fine Gigi. Now lets try one on the correct lead,"she said through a smile.

I made the trip to Unionville to her Blue Hill Farm numerous times from 1983 to 1985. Jessica also conducted a clinic at Bit by Bit Farm for my students. I spent a weeks vacation at her place and vividly remember how exciting it was to ride schooled horses and watch her train. Jessica's demeanor was quite different from the European-influenced male instructors I had worked with prior to her. She insisted I strive for perfection but Jessica wanted the road to that goal to seem enlightening and fun.

Even though I began taking regular instruction from another trainer closer to home in 1986, I continued to follow Jessica through the Seoul Olympics and beyond. We showed in the same classes on the Northeast circuit for a while and always tried to find time to catch up between rides. Today, its always a treat to see her listed on the Judges card at a show I compete in. Jessica is a fine instructor and an ever better person.

In a wonderful example of "its a small world", my parents used to shop at a department store in East Stroudsburg, PA called J. J. Newberry's. I even have a picture of my mother standing in front of the store while she was pregnant with me. It turns out the Jessica's maiden name is Newberry and her family owned the department store chain including the shop in my home town.