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
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 20 horses at the FEI levels, including four 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 longlisted for the World Equestrian Games and represented the United States in competitions abroad.
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.
Her education has remained a priority and this has led her to work with some of the most celebrated names in dressage including: Steffen Peters,Klause Blakenhol, Hubertus Scmidt, Conrad Schumacher, Scott Hassler, Walter Zettl, Oded Shimoni, Gerhard Politz, her mentor Charles De Kunffy. Now a residence 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.