Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 13
Jayna Lee grew up competing on an Appaloosa in eventing, but dressage was always tough for them. “Our one issue was dressage,” she said. “We could never do it, and I hated dressage. It was always so frustrating to me. I could never get him on the bit.”
But when she met Orans Gold Fortune six years ago, Lee learned to appreciate and work towards success in the sport. Now she’s competing at her first U.S. Dressage Finals on the 18-year-old Saddlebred-Arabian gelding (Orans Continuo—Heiress Jordan).
“He just opened my eyes to the world of dressage and how truly incredible it is and how there’s so much more to it,” said Lee, who’s also 18 years old. She leases “Fortune” from his owner, Molly Abrams-Ryan.
The 15.2-hand gelding might be diminutive, but he’s talented, taking Lee to the Prix St. Georges level this season. They competed in the junior/young rider fourth level championship at Finals, scoring a 62.17% for 10th place on Sunday.
Lee credits her trainer, Katherine Abrams, with her success in dressage. She currently works as Abrams’ assistant trainer at Harmony Hills Equestrian Center in Pembroke, Virginia, while also studying animal science as a freshman at Virginia Tech. “I would not be here without her,” she said. “She’s talked me through this whole sport. Recently I’ve started teaching lessons on her farm. I teach a lot of lessons on Fortune. If anybody asks, ‘How can I get better?’ it truly is, teach somebody on your horse.”
The pair almost didn’t make it to Finals after Lee had a medical issue that caused her to miss one of her qualifiers. She made it to another one, but still wasn’t feeling 100 percent, so she had Abrams help with Fortune at the show, then she hopped on for a short warm up and got her scores.
“I was very winded and had a hard time feeling decent,” she said. “I got on him for five minutes and went and did my test and got my qualifying scores for GAIGs. To me, that just shows Fortune, that he’s able to do that. Even though I was unwell, he was still able to stand out and do better and help us get those scores. I’m just shocked we made it here. I just want to have a good time. Both of us have never been to a venue this big or a show this big. I’m just grateful we’re there.”