Name: Jasmine Dennison
Lives: Mount Eliza, Victoria
At what age did you start riding and who introduced you? My love for riding actually began when I lived in Italy when I was seven years old. I took some lessons at a riding school during summer holidays which was enough to kickstart my addiction to riding! When my family moved back to Australia I leased my first pony ‘Wally’ and I received lessons from Tiffany Greenhill. Tiffany was my dressage instructor for many years and gave me a lot of encouragement and fundamental skills.
Tell us about your first horse: Wally was a tough little Welsh Cob who certainly knew his job was to teach me how to ride and to be brave! Despite having many tricks up his sleeve I had a lot of fun on Wally as he was the one to take me to my first pony club rallies and competitions.
How many horses do you currently have in work? I currently have four horses in work and at competitions.
Which horse is your current star and do you have any future stars? Nicolossi would, without a doubt, have to be my current star. I purchased Nicci about four years ago from David Lever who did a wonderful job producing her as a young horse. Nicci is very brave and talented, however she has not been the easiest of horses. She definitely lives up the the stereotype of chestnut mares! I have loved the process of making her more rideable and I can certainly say that we know each other pretty well now. I have one five year old horse which I am competing in Junior classes and who is showing lots of potential to step up the ranks. She has a great attitude and the biggest personality of any of my horses!
Who was the biggest influence to your riding? Laurie Lever, who has been my jumping instructor since I was eight years old, has been the most amazing mentor to me and I am very lucky to be trained by someone with such a breadth of knowledge and experience.
Laurie has taught me to always maintain a professional attitude and composure and to keep focused on the goals I have for myself and my horses. My parents have been unwavering in their support of me from the moment I decided to pursue jumping, so it is also because of them that I am able to pursue my dreams in this sport.
What do you look for in a horse? I look for a horse with natural ability and plenty of scope and I also love a horse which has a bit of character!
How do you prepare your horse for a big class and what is important for your warm up? I trust that the work I have done at home and in my lessons have made my horses fit, sharp and confident, and I make sure that my horse is feeling fresh and has plenty of energy. I take my horses for walks frequently to stretch their legs and I may also give them a small feed an hour or two before a big class.
It is important to me that I make the same speed and quality of canter in the warm up as I would in the ring and that I also jump at least one oxer and one vertical at maximum height so my horse doesn’t get a fright when I go out on course.
You recently won the World Cup Qualifier at Melbourne Royal. Tell us about that experience and what it meant to you. Winning the World Cup at Melbourne Royal was definitely a very unexpected result so it took some time before it really sank in! It was a very special reward for the many hours of hard work that myself and the people who support my riding have put in over the last few years. It’s truly an amazing feeling to be competitive amongst riders of such a high calibre and whom I have admired since I first began jumping. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities which I have been given to be able to compete at this level and to have my incredible little horse Nicci!
What are your short and long term goals? I would like to continue to campaign Nicci in Senior and World Cup classes, and develop a stronger partnership with my up-and-coming horses Carita and Cecile. Next year I will also have the challenge of balancing the horses with university work as my study is also very important to me.
I am hoping to one day be able to compete with my horses on the international stage – it has been a dream of mine that has remained unchanged for many years!
Who are your role models (Australian and/or international)? My role model would have to be my mentor and coach Laurie Lever. I love learning from his experience in the sport. I admire how he was able to take Drossel Dan from being crazy and almost unrideable, all the way to the Beijing Olympic Games by the time it was nine years old!
At an international level there are many riders who are inspirational to me, so I like to follow riders whose riding styles may be able to help me ride my own different horses. In saying that, I particularly like to watch Scott Brash and Beezie Madden ride.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given? The most valuable advice to me has been to always work hard and put my best effort into everything that I do. I have been taught it is important to always keep things in perspective through the highs and lows of this sport, and to stay grounded.
Tell us a few things we don’t know about you. I am (very) obsessed with coffee, I love to travel and I used to be a competitive water skier
Who are your sponsors? I am very lucky to be supported by Horseland Mornington, Prydes Easifeed and QJ Riding Wear.