Show Jumper Profile: Jessica Kurten
Irish born Jessica, who has been living in the German Rhineland since 1994, has been steadily climbing up the ranking list over the last year few years. Her list of honours in recent years is very impressive:
As for 2006, she has had numerous wins (12 first places, 4 second places and 2 third places) with horses Quibell, Castle Forbes Libertina, and Castle Forbes Meike in major international competitions. This has allowed her to become the top Irish rider in the FEI Gandini Jumping Riders World Ranking List since it was established in 2000.
Jessica who describes herself as a typical Sagittarius, (her birthday is the 24th of November), is a horse lover who likes to laugh a lot and is not scared of hard work. Her father who was dentist also bred horses. As far back as she can remember Jessica has loved riding. Her first riding souvenirs were when she was two years old. She competed in her first pony competition on a leading rein when she was four.
She believes that it was the combination of her father's old fashioned critical nature and her mother's supportive and encouraging side that taught her the importance of enjoying the hard work necessary to achieve good results. “Riding was always considered as fun, but it was also taken seriously”.
Jessica who was a pony and Junior Irish Champion, had always thought about being a professional rider, but initially was not sure she was good enough or could cope with the hard lifestyle involved. While studying for a horse science degree, she carried on riding. The more she rode, the better she became and won more and more competitions with her gelding Diamond's Exchange. She realised that she was ready to have a full time professional riding career. The couple went on to be 8th with the Irish team at Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and 9th in the team event at the World Championships in The Hague in 1998.
She attributes much of her success to her husband, Eckhard Kürten, who is also her manager. She describes him as "a very smart business man." The couple, who were introduced in Dublin, moved in together in 1994 and married in 1998. "I was ambitious in a female way, but he has helped me channel my ambition. He put together a five year business plan for my career with the objectives we wanted to achieve."
Press release, November 21st
14 nations, 41 riders, 146 horses, 12 competitions organised during 3 days, here is the program of the first 5 star CSI of Paris. With the presence of the best riders in the world, the stars are undoubtedly going to dazzle on the French Capital.
Ten days before the beginning of the event, we met Jessica Kürten, who is currently the best woman rider in the world and third in the FEI Gandini Jumping Riders World Ranking List. She will feature - with Lord Lancer, Castle Forbes Libertina, Lavie, Urano and Cosmashiva - among the exceptional line of international riders competing in the Paris International Show Jumping Competition. The competition which is a five star one for the first time this year, will take place at the Porte de Versailles, Salon du Cheval, Paris from the 1st to the 3rd of December 2006.
Excellence in Paris
In Jessica's opinion to be a top class rider the following criteria are necessary: hard work, talent, ambition, good horses, good owners, a good management and a whole team. “For me the two wins which really spring to mind are the Gold medal with the Irish team in the European Championships in 2001 for patriotic reasons and winning the Grand Prix in Dubai this year. I never thought I would win that competition. Yes, I could finish second or third but to be the winner, no!"
As she is in the top ten of FEI Gandini Jumping Riders World Ranking List, Jessica is invited to many competitions. But that was not always the case. In the past she had to fight to compete in the major competitions. She is very loyal to the competitions that supported her when she first began riding. She has always loved certain shows like the Olympia in London or the International Show Jumping Competition at Paris - Porte de Versailles.
Jessica and the CSI of Paris
Her first visit to Paris was about fifteen years ago. Her mother came as her groom and she remembers being told off by one of the French judges when she walking the course as her hair was not tied back. Jessica remembers the show well: "There were eight prize winners in the three big classes. I was 9th in each one. I remember thinking to myself, this is a hard job!"
"Paris is Paris after all. It is a wonderful city. It is always a great competition and on the practical side, the hotel is just next door. This is great if I need to go for a rest or to relax. In this business you have to catch up on sleep when you can. But I can be back at the show very quickly as well. In the past, I sometimes went to visit the city but these days all my energy and time is focused on my riding."
Would a win in Paris mean a lot to her? "Every win is the sweetest win. When you do not win, it makes you realise how hard it is to win. Every time you win you need to savour it, to celebrate afterwards, as it might be your last one."
"I have lots of goals but far too many to mention. I intend to keep riding until I am 85!”
of the 5 Star CSI
Saturday 2nd of December
Sunday 3rd of December
Visit Jessica's website