Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Interview with Jolie Wentworth

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  Jolie & her previous 4* mount - Killian O'Connor

I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Jolie Wentworth just after she was awarded the Rebecca Broussard International Travel Grant at the recent USEA Convention in Colorado Springs.  Here are some of the highlights from that interview.

As 2012 comes to a close, tell me how your season finished up?

The whole year was a difficult one, the spring & early season didn’t go as I would have liked.  But, as the season progressed and I got physically healthier* and stronger we went back in the direction we want to go and the year ended on a very high note.

Tell me about your current horses.

There’s Ari (The Good Knight) my advanced horse, who continues to progress and our relationship gets stronger.  Next year we hope to add the competitive side in to the equation.  We definitely want to return to Rolex and hope to be a competitive pair.

Then, there are the two younger horses Quinn (Bally Quinn) &  Gordon (Gordon Biersch) where I’m looking to do a 2* this coming year and take a look at advanced possibly for the fall.

Talking about Ari again, and his first experience at Rolex, how did he handle the big course & big questions?

Ari is a unique character in the fact that I felt like he came out of Rolex exactly the same.  He went into it confident and strong, but I because of my physical health I wasn’t able to help him in the way that I needed to have a better outcome, but he came out still confident and strong.  Our very next competition, at Rebecca Farms, he was just as strong and brave.  Nothing backed him off, nothing affected him, I think he’s just that unique horse where it would take a lot to back him off or take his confidence away.

 Jolie and The GoodKnight at Rolex

Now that we are in the “off season” what kind of things will you work on with your horses?

With Ari, we need to work on the flat!  Dressage is definitely our weak phase and we need to improve that quite a bit.  But, based on Galway at the end of the year, I think we are heading in the right direction.  Because I was physically injured in the Spring, I adopted a way of sitting on him that was not beneficial.  Tracy and I have been working on getting my seat back now that I am in a physically healthy place and that really started just before Galway & made our dressage so much better.

Quinn had a little bit of a rough year as well.  He didn’t get much attention in the Spring because we were concentrating so much on Ari & my lack of health didn’t help him either.  But, he is improving and he continues to be one of my favorite horses to ride.  This coming year is about giving him the time, giving him the confidence; coming back & letting him know that I am OK now so he can be confident in me as well. 

Gordon is just a baby, he was just learning, growing and maturing last year.  He has improved leaps and bounds and is turning into one of the nicest horses in all three phases.  We are quite excited about him, he just needs to continue to grow, learn and compete.

What kind of winter weather conditions do you have to take into account this next few months?

Well there is always the issue of footing with the wet weather.  We are on clay so when it is wet it really impacts our ability to work outside.  We have to work in the indoor ring and hack only on the roads, and while that isn’t all bad it does impact our ability to bring horses back from their little vacation, particularly with their conditioning.  But we always manage, we’re inventive and always find ways.

Speaking of vacations, how much time will you give the horses off and how much time will you take off?

Me, none … Tracy and I continue to work very, very hard while we are home so that we give everybody at the barn the time while we are there.  The Spring make us travel & doesn’t allow us to be there so we try to give everything we have while we are there.

The horses get about 3 weeks off, depending on the level they are going.  We don’t like to give them too much time, we don’t want to lose too much of the fitness that we work so hard to put on.  I think it is harder on them to go all the way down and then have to come all the way back, but they do get some real time off.

Looking now to 2013, when do you expect to do your first show?

We’ll likely start at Galway Downs in February.  They do nothing but put on amazing events that make you want to drive the 9 hours to get there.  That first show also seems to be really inviting for the horses, it doesn’t seem so big that it backs the horses off  -  so they get their galloping in and have their bodies get the reminders of running and jumping

You just received the “Big Becky” how will that impact what you get to do this next year?

It is fantastic!  The big thing it give us is freedom.  It gives us the freedom to pursue what we want and what we think is best for the development of the horses and myself.  You just can’t put a price on that.  If we want to use it for Rolex, or Europe, or jumper shows, the possibilities are endless because they don’t put any restrictions on it.  They want you to get better, they want your horses to improve and they want you to use the money for that. 

Knowing that the best laid plans don’t always happen, are there any big things you hope to do that are now made possible by the grant?

Knock on wood, hoping everything goes according to plan, we are hoping that we can go to Pau for the CCI****.  That would take the majority of the grant money but you seldom have the opportunity to have this large sum of money and we want to utilize it in a plane ticket and to get to stay in France a bit – to do something that would be very very difficult for us to do on our own.

Any last words/thoughts?

I want to take every opportunity to thank all the people that make this grant happen.  The vision of Rebecca Broussard, the support it receives from Jerome & Sarah is truly amazing.  It is terrific to be a part of this … after the award was presented, people from the selection committee came to tell me “I can’t wait to see what you do with this, I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.”  It is such a honor to have that quality group of people in my corner. 

If you would like to help Jolie, or any other SCES rider, pursue their 2013 goals, you can make a tax deductible donation at

Thanks for reading! 

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