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Jessica von Bredow- Werndl

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl

Jessica’s love for horses started when she was just four years old, while visiting her aunt who used to breed ponies. According to Jessica, “It was love at first sight”.  At her aunt’s place she always went to the stables, where she would be allowed to ride the ponies once a week, making that day the highlight of her week. 

Because of this bond that she started building early on with her horses, Jessica was motivated to pursue dressage, a discipline that offers a magical bond while she dances with the horses. “In dressage it’s the love for the details and that you can always improve not only the movements but the connection you have with your horse”, explains Jessica. 

Being an athlete runs in the family 

When asked about how she managed to build such a successful career, she mentioned one thing that particularly stands out: her deep love and passion for horses. “Every horse is so different. Having the ability to connect and listen to them as individuals and feel what is right for each one in and out of the saddle has been a huge part to my success.” Nevertheless, she describes that believing in every horse despite what people might say, discipline and consistent self-reflection are also factors whose importance can’t be left out, with the horse quality that comes before anything else being the character. “I need my dance partner to want to work and play alongside me. For everything else -besides good gaits- it comes with time and patience”, concludes Jessica. 

What’s more is that as both her parents were high level athletes, with her mother being a member of the German junior ski team, and her father being a German national sailing champion, they understood what it took for Jessica to make it in the equestrian world, and even though as a child she didn’t recognise this advantage, in hindsight she can appreciate that they are where she got her competitive characteristics from.

However, this is not where the ties between her family, her love for horses and career end. Both her mother and her brother started riding at the same time as she did. Jessica tells: “It’s truly a privilege to share something as special as horses with the people closest to you and the memories created with my family is something I will never be able to replace”.

Asked about how she sees herself as a rider, Jessica had a concise reply: “Joyful pioneer on her journey”.  Jessica’s passion and joy when it comes to horses can be seen even in the way in which she is designing a training routine. She sees all her horses as individuals and thinks that horses should be moving as much as possible. “I believe that horses should be out and moving all day and this has to be the priority, they are not made to be stuck in a stable. My horses spend a lot of the time outside”. After, she mentions the importance of mixing their routine so they can easily transition from training one day, to galloping through the forest the next one.

Competitions and prizes 

Jessica’s track record of prizes from the competitions that she attended is quite impressive. However, the one that she is the most proud of is the individual Olympic title. She describes it as being a dream come true. Yet, she claims that the most important things in her life haven’t changed, with the day to day routine staying the same, saying that “it’s great to have big dreams and goals but what’s more important is how you get there and who you meet along the way”.  

Nevertheless, the title of “The Best Athlete 2023” that she received from FEI doesn’t fall far behind as she considers it to be a huge honour not for herself, but for her team too. The team towards which she is grateful, as she regards their partnership as being more important than “any medal or title”.

As the conversation took a turn towards the subject of competitions, we had to ask Jessica how she prepares for big events like the Olympics or World Cups. She confessed that there are  certain rituals and specific routines that are very important to her, such as meditation, yoga and breathing techniques, all of them adding up to creating the right mindset and headspace to perform at her best. Moreover, she always likes to plait her horse’s mane herself to pick up on the animal’s energy and have a feel of how it is before getting into the saddle. And this is a  routine that Jessica does not plan on changing anytime soon, not even for this year’s Olympics in Paris. She explains, “I’m not qualified yet but even so I try really hard not to change anything. I stay focused on the normal stuff, being present and asking myself what has to be done today”.

As the conversation was unfolding, we took advantage of the occasion to ask Jessica how she manages the stress that is associated with competitive events, a question to which she declared that it is something in need of constant practice and training. “The saying “pressure is a privilege “ is very true.”. Plus, she let us know that she can overcome any obstacle by knowing that she can work with horses everyday. ” The fact I can wake up everyday and be with these magical creatures is something I will never take for granted.”. 

Balancing family and horses 

However, the competitions are not the only challenges that Jessica has to face as a professional rider. The sport is also very time consuming on its own, and with two children and a business she needs to find the balance between her career and her family. She revealed that she is able to do this due to the great team that she surrounded herself with, and by prioritising whenever possible.

Moving further into the family topic, Jessica declared that she finds many parallels between the skills she developed as an equestrian and the ones she developed as a mother, joking that horses are kind of like her children too. Nevertheless, she acknowledges that being a mother changed a lot within her. “It must have an impact on the horses. I’m resting more within myself. I can prioritise better”. 

Roelofsen Partnership 

However, with such a demanding lifestyle that requires a lot of travelling both for Jessica and her horses, comes the need for a good way of transport for the animals, which is why we wished to know why she chose to work with Roelofsen. She confessed: “They are known as the best of the best. And when I analysed their work I knew why.”.

Jessica doesn’t want to make any compromises when looking at the safety and comfort of her horses, as she wants them relaxed and well rested when arriving at the destination. She also finds Roelofsen fitting for her due to the luxury living comfort that the Roelofsen trucks provide, which is something that she appreciates both as a mum and a rider. “I really want to be as close as possible to my horses at the showgrounds and still be together with my family”. When asked what she looks for in a truck, and how she takes advantage of Roelofsen’s eye for detail and option to custom make their trucks. She revealed that the comfort to drive, live, and handle her truck are something that she had never experienced before.

Goals and advise

We asked Jessica what advice she would give to aspiring riders. “Remember why you have started riding: because of the love for horses. Don’t forget that. And always be aware that your journey should be fun for you and your horse”, she says. Next to that she also advised to read her book “Haven on Horseback” to find out more about the life lessons that she experienced so far due to horse riding.

Lastly, we questioned Jessica about her goals and ambitions for 2024, and she revealed that the Olympics in Paris is a big goal for this year, but that she is also looking forward to seeing what the future holds.