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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Future looking bright for Jessica as she makes her mark

ABOVE: Versatile rider Jessica Dertell at the VAS championships earlier this year. Picture: DALE WEBSTER

JESSICA Dertell is a talented and versatile equestrienne but it is in dressage that she is really carving a place for herself in top-level competition.

She has just been named Equestrian Victoria’s Young Dressage Rider of the Year aboard Gladstone MH and Grand Prix Dressage Rider of the Year aboard Grand Prix Horse of the Year, Cennin.

Jessica, 19, has grown up surrounded by horses – her family owns Future Farms, known for its Arabians and open hacks – so she has been in the show ring since about the age of six.

She has also competed in endurance (even at FEI level in the UAE), show jumping and did track work on the family’s Arabian racehorses.

Her passion for dressage started when she was 11 after her family leased and then purchased an amazing older schoolmaster Valerie’s Waltermeyer through Tor Van Der Berg.

As her interest in the training of dressage horses grew, she was blessed when client Sabble Farm (Brett and Samantha Thomas) wanted to come on the dressage journey with the family and purchased a group of super horses for Jessica to train and compete on.

Future Farms is definitely a family affair with Jess and her brother Kody having taken over the training and competition departments of the business, with parents Doyle and Kate now managing the office, maintenance staff and coaching.

Kate is keen to let people know that Kody is just as talented with horses as his sister.

ABOVE: Kody Dertell has also competed overseas.

“Kody is in charge of all the starting of horses under saddle, weanling, youngstock handling and halter training and showing,” she said.

“He loves and shows both halter and western. He is very talented with young horses and trick training, He teaches horses to bow, lay down, sit, rear on command and liberty work.

“He has also competed in Australia and the US.”

Jessica also got her chance to compete overseas this year after qualifying for the Future Champions Nations Cup in Hagen, Germany with Gladstone.

They produced three great tests.

“Jessica loved wearing the Australian flag and was proud to be an Aussie,” Kate said. “She even convinced her European coach, German rider Evelyn Eger, to carry the flag with her in the opening ceremony.”

Jessica described the Aachen experience as “amazing”.

“The show itself has something for everyone,” she said. “So many arenas running at once you don’t have much time to stop.

“It was amazing watching the current best riders in the world compete, though also watching them train in the warm ups was great. We were lucky to stay at the hotel with all the dressage competitors so it was fantastic to meet and greet so many of the world’s best at breakfast or back at the bar for a drink at the hotel after long days competition.”

So, what’s next for this talented young rider?

Syriana, the elegant dressage mare, previously campaigned by Mary Hanna and now owned by Sabble Farms, will find herself in the Royal Melbourne Show arena in September, helping Jessica add a new string to her bow as they compete in the Garryowen.

After that, who knows … naturally Jessica’s ambition is to compete in dressage at the Olympic Games.

With the Games to be in Brisbane in 2032, she may be headed for the amazing experience of riding for her country on home soil.

ABOVE: Jessica Dertell with her spoils at the Equestrian Victoria awards night. Picture: MELANIE GOULD

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