German dressage champion’s most emotional moment of 2021? ‘When I saw the scores of my nearest competitor and realized it was going to be individual Olympic Gold!’
Things, however, didn’t culminate in Tokyo in what has been a dizzying year for Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, 2021’s undisputed dressage Champion. Not one but two Olympic Golds in July were followed by no less than another three in September, this time on home soil at the 2021 European Dressage Championships in Hagen, Germany and very recently, winning the Top 10 Final in Stockolm. Quite the year!
Will 2021 be a hard act to follow, not only for Jessica, but also for trusted mare and fellow-champion, TSF Dalera BB, 14 years old and very much in her prime. ‘This year was a culmination of years of preparation for the two of us. We were just in perfect shape, both really focused. I want Dalera to keep her motivation and fitness level for the next couple of years.’ To achieve this level in dressage requires years and years of hard work so that both rider and horse are completely aligned.
Success often comes with its own pressure, the kind experienced only by a multiple champion of Jessica’s ilk. ’The fear of not succeeding knocks on your door regularly. Over time, however, you develop a toolbox to regulate your mental state. I use meditation and different breathing techniques. It’s a lot about mental fitness, focusing on what has to be done, and not wasting energy worrying about mistakes or things you cannot influence. I have learnt to turn fear into trust – trust in myself, in my horse and in our long-term partnership. Sometimes TSF Dalera BB is over motivated, too hot, so I tell her to do one gear less, I breathe deeply, and she does the same. The communication is all non-verbal. You can feel her response.’
Being part of the Richard Mille family, she says, also proved a great source of inspiration. Jessica met Nelly Korda, the US golfer, and Belgian heptathlon athlete Nafi Thiam at the Richard Mille factory. Ever since, the trio have been supporting each other and all had fantastic seasons, each winning Olympic Golds in 2021. Amanda Mille, Brand & Partnerships Director, is particularly proud of what, by any standards, has proved to be a truly successful year for Jesssica – ‘To see her have so much undisputed success is testimony to the sheer effort and unrivalled discipline Jessica puts into her work and training her horses. You really feel their bond has led to their consecration this year !’
Where next? ‘Obviously the Paris Olympics, hopefully with Dalera – but I am also training up more horses. I still feel I haven’t reached my top yet,’ she concludes. ‘I just follow my mantra and keep on doing.’ At the end of what has proved a truly outstanding year for Jessica, Richard Mille shares this most successful of mantras. Congratulations!