At Trilogy Saddles, President Debbie Witty hand-selects each Ambassador. These riders represent the very best in equestrian sport, with an emphasis on the welfare of the horse and the epitome of horse/rider partnership that our equipment stands for. We hope you enjoy reading about our Trilogy Ambassadors!
Trilogy Saddles Ambassador
As a USDF Gold Medalist and successful former Young Rider, JJ Tate feels that doing things ‘the right way’ has been a big part of her success.
“I’m very proud that I’ve never compromised my principles of classical training. I’ve never taken a shortcut, or put unfair pressure on a horse to achieve my own goals,” she says, pointing out it’s a practice reinforced by her mentor Charles de Kunffy, and one that’s resulted in joyful, willing horses. “Although I’ve had many successes in competition, my biggest accomplishment in life is being able to walk into my barn and have all my horses be happy and excited to see me.”
JJ also emphasizes doing things in the right way with her students, starting with their riding position. “I find it unfair to the horse if the rider’s seat is not correct. If the rider isn’t doing it right, how can one demand that the horse do it right?” she says. According to her, it’s important because nothing in dressage can be beautiful if it’s not correct. “If your position is correct, you’re on your way to finding that perfect sense of balance and harmony, in every moment, at every stride,” she says. “A rider can find this at any level, whether it’s riding a superbly balanced 20 meter circle, or achieving utmost collection for piaffe.”
Trilogy President Debbie Witty says she looks for Ambassadors that exemplify that drive toward perfection. “That’s what we’re seeking, people that push through their own comfort zones and who are always striving to get their horses to perform more fully. Then, when we combine that approach with our saddles, it makes a huge difference in their performance,” says Debbie.
That performance edge is one of the reasons JJ loves her Trilogy Verago saddle. “I love my position in the saddles, and no matter the shape, size, or movement of the horse, in my Verago I have the same position no matter what. I never feel locked into the saddle, and it allows my leg to hang in the right way. When I sit in it, I feel very connected with the horse. It’s like my soulmate of saddles.”
JJ says taking time away from the barn is hard for her, because she gets to wake up every day and do what she loves. “My boyfriend is a horse guy, and he’s helped me find more work/life balance recently, such as going to the beach or to see a movie. I love traveling, and love going to Europe, but it’s usually been related to horse business!” she laughs. However, it’s that strong work ethic and passion for her horses that brought JJ to Debbie’s attention.
“JJ is very hard-working, and she really believes in our saddles; those are some of the reasons I invited her to become an Ambassador,” says Debbie, who also considers factors such as talent, riding ability, and personality, too. “JJ is young, and is on the edge of blossoming. She’s a really good trainer and instructor, and has the ability to accomplish whatever she wants to. We want people that exemplify the class and humility to represent Trilogy in a strong way. JJ has all that, plus she really knows how to handle herself.”
Identifying and assisting up-and-coming top competitors is something Debbie takes pride in, and according to JJ, she makes the time to do what’s needed, even if it’s beyond the scope of horses and saddles. “Debbie’s very accessible and super-professional, but she’s also very kind and supportive. I’ve gone to her for more than just my saddle problems, because she’s a great listener.”
Working towards partnership through a perfect sense of connection is one of the things that JJ lives for, and her Trilogy saddles help her achieve it more often. “It’s such an inspirational moment for me, when I get that feeling of total harmony. I can get the same type of thrill with a row of one-tempis, or a walk/canter transition as a horse really learns to carry me correctly in his perfect balance. That’s a moment of perfection. It’s what keep me coming back for more.”