Jessica Jo "JJ" Tate
I am dedicated to training and teaching under the principles of classical dressage that have been handed down to me by my great teachers. I feel responsible to keep the art of classical equitation alive in today’s expanding culture. As I compete successfully, I continue to demonstrate how these principles benefit both horse and rider. I strive every day to be better than the day before, not only as a rider but as a person, continually learning and always striving to be my absolute best.
Jessica Jo “JJ” Tate began to take her place among the country’s riding elite early, making her FEI debut at just 16 years old. Earning numerous national and regional titles, JJ’s has trained and competed over 29 horses at the FEI levels, including eight at Grand Prix. Known for her classical education and elegant riding, she is a top competitor who’s devotion to the very highest standards of horsemanship and integrity make her a positive role model in the contemporary dressage world. JJ has been long-listed for the World Equestrian Games and represented the United States in competitions abroad.
Now a resident in Landrum, SC, and wintering at Yellow Bird Farm in Wellington, she is a sought-after clinician and trainer.
JJ’s primary goals are to represent her country at the highest levels of competition while protecting and preserving the principles of classical dressage.
JJ's education has remained a priority, and this has led her to work with some of the most celebrated names in dressage including Steffen Peters, Klaus Blakenhol, Hubertus Schmidt, Conrad Schumacher, Scott Hassler, Walter Zettl, Oded Shimoni, Gerhard Politz, her mentor Charles De Kunffy.
JJ took her first dressage lesson at age 9 and by 11 she had already found her mentor in legendary classical dressage master and USDF Hall of Fame inductee Charles De Kunffy (with whom she still trains today). At 18, she moved to Europe and spent the next 2 1/2 years in intensive training with Hungarian Olympian Gyula Dallos.
Upon her return to the United States in 1999, JJ earned the distinction of being the nations top young rider at Grand Prix. She led her North American Young Rider team to a silver medal, and competed in the Pan American Games Selection Trials. By the end of the following year she had earned her USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals.
For the next several years JJ divided her time between her self -owned and managed Wyngate Dressage Center in Walworth, WI and the winter Dressage circuit in Wellington, FL. During this time she trained the Elite Hanoverian Stallion, Donovan and the Swedish Warmblood, Cambay to Grand Prix.
In 2006 she and Cambay won the Grand Prix Special at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL making them the FEI High Point Champion. They were also World Cup reserve finalists, longlisted for the World Equestrian Games and were top finishers in the Grand Prix at Dressage at Devon.
JJ finished as the runner up in Robert Dover’s “Search for the Next American Equestrian Star.” This experience solidified her plans to leave Wisconsin and move to the East Coast to pursue her international goals. JJ soon hit another career high when she and Donnermuth were chosen to represent the US at the World Breeding Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany. They were the highest scoring American pair, placing 7th in the Small Final.
I believe in lightness and harmony. I believe in using true horsemanship to teach a horse to perform because he wants to, not because we make him. I believe in the horse’s spirit and in my life I aim to emulate that quality. In my training, I do my best to never dampen their incredible spirit, but to nurture it. I believe in gymnastically strengthening the horse into becoming greater than what nature intended. I love horses and will always serve this amazing animal by being a custodian of their well being through using the highest level of horsemanship methods and by promoting classical dressage as I teach and train them.
To ethically stand behind the timeless principles of classical dressage and to introduce the beauty and grace to everyone.
Through these principles, train horses to become the best athletes possible by being fair, empathetic and respectful.
To embark on a continuous journey to gain more knowledge and self-awareness, to manifest my potential and to fulfill my dreams.
To stay open to life lessons presented through horses, for horses are the key to ones character.
To remain dedicated, hardworking and determined to do the best for all horses by educating their riders.
To participate in the highest standards of this sport, to compete among the best and to ride at the Olympic Games.
"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."