Jessie aims for Rio 2016 after injury comeback

Jessie Drea
Jessie Drea

Showjumper Jessie Drea has her sights set firmly on the Rio Olympics in 2016 - a year after a potentially career-ending accident.

Jessie, from Broadbridge Heath and now based near Bolney, suffered a broken shoulder and tendon damage when her horse was spooked and fell into a ditch last February.

Recovery and rehabilitation kept 21-year-old Jessie out of action until August, by which time she only had one shot remaining at retaining her place on the British Equestrian Federation World Class Development Programme - geared to developing the equestrian teams to compete at the next Games.

She enthused: “It’s an awesome achievement. We did not have any time to do it and if I did not get on it would have been heartbreaking because I have been involved since I was 14.

“I was out for five months and I could not ride at all for a month.”

It all came down to one competition for Jessie, the All England Grand Prix at Hickstead in September.

Jessie and her mount Baloufina recorded four clear rounds in the 1.40m Open class, meeting the qualification criteria.

She added: “Everyone else had a year to do it, so it worked out really well.”

The Development Programme gives Jessie access to UK Sport funding as well as world class coaching and mentoring as Team GB aims to build on the success of the five medal haul at London 2012.

“It gives us an opportunity to be the best rider we can,” Jessie added. “But you only get out of it what you put in.

“That (Rio) is my aim and I have two horses which are capable.”