San Diego hunter/jumper program offers opportunities at all levels of the sport.
by Kim F. Miller
Finishing The Farm at Del Mar Meadows has been a long process. In fact, hunter/jumper trainer Jessica Odom is still supervising some finishing touches, but she’s thrilled to be settling into the permanent base for her program, South Coast Equestrian.
Even with having to bounce around a bit while construction was underway at the privately-owned Carmel Valley property in San Diego County, Jessica has been building up a nice clientele of loyal clients. She’s grateful that Del Mar Meadows lets her expand that into opportunities for beginning riders through trail rides and beginning lessons, Girl Scout programs, birthday parties, camps, etc. There’s not many places to trail ride anymore in San Diego and that, along with all the other public-oriented horse activities South Coast Equestrian can now provide, serve as a great pipeline for introducing newcomers to the sport.
South Coast Equestrian also offers these fun, entry-level riding opportunities to guests at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar hotel in San Diego.
Jessica brings the most important part of her success formula to the new property: horsemanship knowledge and emphasis, strong communication skills and the ability to make South Coast Equestrian a pleasant, safe, fun environment for everybody.
Carla Nolan had wanted her daughter Cate to ride for some time. But it wasn’t until Cate went with a friend to Jessica’s stable that she showed any interest. That was five years ago, and Carla now has trouble getting her 14-year-old daughter out of the barn – a happy parenting problem, she assures.
Cate competes in the hunter, equitation and mostly jumper divisions with her horse Casanova Z. Carla, a western rider back in the day, was so impressed with Jessica’s program that she took up the sport herself a few years ago. Now, mother and daughter often compete against each other in the 1.1M Child/Adult jumper divisions. “And we’ve been in the victory gallop together several times!” Carla reports.
“Jessica is awesome,” Carla explains. “She’s honest, quiet, disciplined. She’s great for any kid.” Carla also has high praise for Jessica’s gift for matching horse and rider and for the trainer’s emphasis on overall fitness. “She does boot camps with the kids and takes them to different fitness classes. All with the message that we can’t ride well if we are not in good shape.”
The training side of Jessica’s program is oriented toward the thorough horsemanship that leads to show ring success, but without the pressure of having to compete. She has several students who appreciate the serious learning and solid foundation even though they don’t intend to hit the circuit. For those who want to compete, South Coast Equestrian is a regular on the county show circuit throughout San Diego and Southern California.
A jumper competitor herself, Jessica also maintains a regular A show circuit presence. She is often accompanied by her more advanced students and provides the opportunity for county show students who are ready to move up. Her current 1.2M horse is for sale, and she’ll be horse shopping in Europe to find replacement jumper prospects soon.
Jessica’s training philosophy is rooted in “giving my students as many tools as possible to make sure they feel very self sufficient with their horses and their workouts. I never want to make them feel they can’t do it without me. Starting with working with their horses on the ground and on up through riding challenges, I want to teach them to solve the issues that come up.
“It’s easy for me to get on their horse and make it look easy,” she continues. “But I think sometimes that is more frustrating for them. I always want to spend the time necessary to give them the skills, confidence and knowledge that they can do it on their own.”
Jessica is a familiar face and name on the San Diego hunter/jumper circuit. Early in her junior career, she earned a reputation among local professionals as a go-to girl for campaigning for-sale horses. As a junior, she didn’t have the biggest show budget but her abilities and work ethic earned her many opportunities in the sport.
Along the way, she became close friends with the Korsh family who owns the Del Mar Meadows property. Jessica and Danielle Korsh rode with the same trainer at one point and that led to a lifelong friendship. Over time, that included Jessica helping Danielle in various ways as she advanced in an impressive young rider ascent in the jumper division. The relationship between Jessica and the whole family remains strong. “It’s been my good luck and fortune that we have stayed so close and that the family has given me this opportunity to operate my business at Del Mar Meadows.”
Set in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, the Carmel Valley facility is tranquil and private, yet just a few minutes from the 5 freeway and the Del Mar Horsepark. Ocean breezes keep things cool in summer and the 4,100-acre Preserve provides endless trail riding opportunities that are an important part of the training and conditioning program for the horses at South Coast Equestrian. Hill work builds muscle and fitness and the break from arena work is good for horse and rider’s mental state, Jessica notes.
Turn-outs, grass pasture and three riding arenas are additional amenities at the Farm at Del Mar Meadows.
Jessica welcomes students from the age of 5 and riders of all experience levels. With capacity for 35 horses, her South Coast Equestrian program is just the right size to
offer tailored training for every client and a range of opportunities to progress from one level to the next. All in a beautiful, safe, well-managed environment that enhances the pleasure and benefits of time spent with horses.
For more information on South Coast Equestrian, visit www.southcoasteq.com, or call Jessica Odom at 858-442-2569.
Written by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 01 December 2016 19:29