JJ and Charles de Kunffy

Jessica Jo Tate is one of those rare riders who excels in competition while scrupulously maintaining a training protocol according to the classical riding traditions. One of the most talented riders of the thousands I have ever taught, JJ is also one who understands the science of riding and training and approaches the horse and his training in the correct frame of mind. Understanding the events from the horse’s point of view, evaluating any and all actions by keeping the welfare of the horse in mind. JJ represents the rare bounty of body, mind and soul all serving correctly the horse’s well-being and evolution to top athletic performance.
– Charles de Kunffy, USEF “S” Dressage Judge, Clinician, and Author

I have had the pleasure of working with JJ Tate over the last year with several horses including the National Young Horse Markel Championships. JJ is very talented and able to bring out the best qualities on different types of horses. She combines the ability to ride young horses as well as FEI horses in both training and showing.
– Scott Hassler, USEF Young Horse Coach

JJ effectively takes her training program into the competition arena for top scores at every level. As a result, she has risen to the very highest level in the sport of dressage.
– Oded Shimoni, World Equesrian Games Competitor and International Trainer

Katie Foster

I have had the incredible opportunity to train with JJ for the past nine years. JJ has helped me not only find my wonderful horse Sacramento, but she has also helped me create and reach many of my goals as a rider. With JJ’s coaching I have competed at the NAJYRC and the USEF National Championships four times, twice as a Junior and twice as a Young Rider. JJ is an exceptional instructor who is both motivating and inspiring. She is also a true horseman, who is always fair and compassionate to the horses. JJ has helped me immensely with all my horses, and I owe much of my riding success to the many hours she has dedicated to teaching me about dressage.
– Katie Foster

JJ and the Fosters

JJ has worked with my daughter, Katie, for the past four years and helped her to achieve her goals of competing at Gladstone and making the 2007 Region 2 NAJYRC team. She has a positive influence and passion for what she does that extends beyond her own goals to those of her students. As a trainer, she brings to her lessons a level of understanding of the complete horse; correct training that is presented in a way that develops the horse not just physically, but also mentally. JJ is a talented rider and instructor that not only teaches, but also inspires!
– Lynne Foster

“A Joyful Partnership”

In early 1999, I had foaled out my first foal, out of a beloved mare and by the Hanoverian stallion Donavan. By early 2000 we had become the owners of the stallion and won a lengthy battle to get him home with all of his rightful papers. We needed an excellent rider, nearby in WI, someone with time and interest to revive the stallion’s career and go on to finish his Grand Prix. We had to trust her.

Our trusted veterinarian recommended JJ Tate, then a 21 year old up and coming young rider. Donavan was sent to her , on trial , and after a week or two , we went to see how this was working out.

Perfect! She became Donavan’s lady.

From that moment on, JJ Tate became , along with Donavan , our good luck charm . JJ was professional, even as a young rider, and showed great wisdom, and grasp of the ideals of classical dressage. She wanted what was best for the horse first and foremost. Exactly our goal for Donavan. To this day, She runs her barn with wisdom and efficiency, and chooses the best staff for her Team Tate. She was excited and enthusiastic, and I have come to see after 13 years of this partnership, she is that way about every horse! For 5 years she trained and rode Donavan, in competition , exhibitions and for clinics.. and their success together is well known. We never have thought to choose anyone else for our youngsters.

Throughout those years, as we evolved as sport horse, warmblood breeders , JJ matured in her stature, enhanced the scope of her skill, enlarged her industry influence and grew her reputation! Our horses, Duesenjaeger, Davy Crockett, Dragee, Atlanta, EM Bevolina, D’Aktion, Bianna, EM Royal Princess OBX, and several others we bred and sold came to her for training. They have all thrived due to her far reaching skill , ever growing knowledge and talent,(gleaned from her association with other international riders), her patience and devotion to the horse and her sport.

We feel so fortunate to have moved from WI , to Maryland at the same time as our “Tall Daughter “. We were Riverland Farm and are now in Maryland (Kent Island Sporthorses) and have enjoyed this love of the horse and Dressage and benefited greatly from this relationship of communication, trust and excitement about the industry . Over the last 5 years, we have been fortunate enough and thrilled to be able to help import and sponsor for JJ, Rosall,( Rosario/Akzent II) an Oldenburg FEI contender.

Marty and I are proud to say , upon our recommendation some of our loyal clients are now bringing their youngsters from our stallions and our program to JJ. She never disappoints. We highly , without reservation, recommend JJ Tate and Team Tate for your horses’s dressage career needs from start, to tune up, to competition, to sale!

I am so pleased to be able to help JJ in any way I can to achieve her goals!

– Wendy W. Costello, Kent Island Sporthorses, Stevensville MD

JJ and Walter Zettl

I met Jessica at a clinic many years ago. It was a great pleasure to work with JJ, and her very fine horses. In fact, teaching Jessica was really not work at all, we had fun together correcting a few small mistakes. JJ’s classical seat, and her immediate execution of my corrections, was a great help.

What impressed me the most at our first meeting was that JJ wasn’t influenced by the new riding style, Rollkur (where you make the horse helpless and take its pride away). She remained true to classical training, where a partnership, with equal trust and respect, is built up. The horse is taught to strengthen soul and body. Everything what the horse does in nature will be refined and brought under control, but without force, and it can recall it at any time. We have to reach a horse’s limit, but to keep the horse healthy for many years, never exceed it.

I lost contact with JJ for some time, but at a symposium (with Mr. Christoph Hess in Wellington, FL) we met again. Immediately we arranged a date for a clinic.

It was a great pleasure for me to work again with such a very talented rider, whose occupation is also her passion. Her classical training has not changed.

Mr. Charles de Kunffy is a big factor in helping J.J. stay with classical dressage training. Presently, this is not easy to commit to. Only riders who are 100% convinced about the classical riding style will be loyal to it.

This kind of attitude already existed in the earlier days, where, to those who wanted to have quick successes, it didn’t matter that our loyal horses had to suffer. It is incorrect to blame the horse for a mistake, especially when it is really a misunderstanding of our aids, and the horse reacts differently than we expected. We have to give our aids such that the horse understands them. It is not the horse that has to adjust to us, but us that has to adjust to the horse. It is necessary that we learn the horse’s language: their reaction to our aids and their surroundings.

“The more you know, the more you know what you don’t know”. A good rider like JJ is aware of the truth of this statement, and because of that she always tries to learn more. All of her horses and students profit from this. I would trust her with my horses.

JJ stay as you are and let your good instinct lead you.

– Walter Zettl

For the past 13 years JJ has been my main instructor. We began working together soon after she began her training business in Wisconsin. For a number of years I would ride with her in at least 4 clinics a year. From the beginning I found her to be a very enthusiastic, articulate and knowledgeable instructor. Most recent to riding with JJ my equestrian education had been influenced by Charles de Kunffy through riding clinics as well as his instructor program. JJ was exactly what I needed! Having also been trained by Charles, she taught according to his system, with influence from Gyula Dallos whom she trained with in Hungary. It was the perfect combination for me!

Through the years JJ has continued to be dedicated to teaching and training according to the classical principles of riding. She has a special ability to articulate her knowledge with her students. JJ creates an atmosphere of learning where neither the horse nor the rider are afraid to make mistakes. Her teaching manner is always encouraging and supportive toward both the rider AND the horse.

With JJ’s influence I have achieved many competitive goals with numerous and varying horses but more importantly I’ve been able to experience a level of communication with my horses that has made our lives richer.

I truly enjoy sharing my equestrian journey with JJ, not only while on horseback but also with the books that we share and our long training discussions and being reminded by each other of the many quotes from our mentor, Charles!  (“Charles is always right!”)

JJ is one of those unique combinations of people that can ride, train and teach….all at the top of her profession!

– Toi Trent

I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with JJ as both a student and an owner for the last 4 years.  I have been fortunate enough to spend long periods of time working with JJ in both Florida and Maryland. I remember one day going into her office in Florida and literally bursting into tears saying, “Why didn’t anyone else ever teach me these things?” JJ has literally “filled in all the holes” and has taken my riding to a new level and understanding.    Many of her students have to work without regular help (in between clinics with her) and she teaches you to be a thinking rider; she has given me the tools to work with my horses on my own.

What can I say as an owner?  JJ rode my mare, Rosentanz, to the title of “2009 Training level Horse of the Year” with many scores over 80+%.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  As a breeder, having a successful young horse out there has brought a lot of attention to my breeding program.

Thank you, JJ!

– Jackie Nixon-Fulton, MD
Wild Oaks Ranch