In the Ring with Jordan Gibbs
Meet Jordan Gibbs, an unbelievably talented 3-ring junior rider. She was 3rd at the Washington Equitation Final, champion in the Junior Hunters at Washington, Reserve Champion at the 2022 Gladstone Cup, top twelve at the WEF Equitation Challenge, team gold and individual speed at NAYC Children's competition, and the 2022 USHJA Youth Leadership Award. Now, let's take a glimpse of what Jordan's life is like.
What does a typical day in your life look like for you?
I wouldn't say that any of my days are the same, or really even similar! It all depends on whether I have school, lessons, if I am just flatting, or showing! That being said, here is what I did on a recent Friday.
I started my day by waking up at 5 AM to go to the gym. I knew I had a busy day, so I wanted to go before I got too tired. I left for the gym at 5:30, and today I decided to work on my upper body strength. I go to the gym about 5 days a week, and I try to do a variety of legs, upper body, core, and cardio.
I left to go home at 6:45 AM. At 7 AM I packed my lunch and got changed to go to the barn. Today I packed a salad, and some pineapple.
At 7:30 I took the golf cart, and drove to the barn. At 8 AM I flatted JDP Dougland (aka Dougie).
At 8:45 I took Ostwind 59 (aka Osty) for a trail ride before his class. Osty is a catch ride that I get to do, and today is my first time showing him.
At 9:30 I walked the course for the USEF Talent Search (USET) and I got right on after, because I went 8th in the order of go. I was happy with how this class went, I showed Cent 15, and this was his first outing of the new year! He was jumping great so I felt ready for the next class, the Washington Hunter Phase.
At 11:15, I showed Cent in the Hunter Phase, and we did amazing together. This is where my day got a little hectic because I had two classes running at the same time.
At 11:30 I walked the course for the Washington Jumper Phase, and at 11:40 I walked the course for the Low Junior Jumpers. After I walked both courses, and knew my plan, I went back over to the equitation ring and showed in the Jumper Phase at 12:00. I was extremely happy with how I rode, and with how Cent felt. We ended up winning the overall Washington equitation medal, and although it doesn't always work out this well, I was very grateful to start off the season so smoothly!
After I wrapped up the equitation, I got on Osty for the jumpers at 12:45. We had a very smooth round, and I was happy with how it went! Once I finished at the jumper ring, I finally had a few minutes to sit down and eat lunch. I met up with my brother, Dominic, at 1:30 for lunch.
At 2:45 I headed back to the barn, and took Cent out to graze for a little bit.
At 3:30 after I wrapped everything up at the barn, I headed home. Once I was home, around 3:45, I relaxed, took a shower, and got cleaned up and ready for dinner with some friends.
I left for dinner at 6:30, and got home around 8:30. By the time I got home, I was ready to go to bed! I was in bed around 9:30, and taking advantage of my sleep before the next show day!
How have you prepared yourself and your horses for this upcoming show season?
I started to prepare myself and my horses by giving the both of us some time off before another busy year! Once it was time to come down to Florida for the season, I started by getting my horses fit and settled in their new Florida home! As far as getting myself prepared, I go to the gym before I ride on most mornings to make sure I am in the best shape for my horses. I also stay on top of my school work so I can eliminate stress when it comes time to show. The last thing I do to prepare myself, is talk to my sports psychologist, that way I have ways to stay calm at the in-gate. This helps me and my horse put down our best performances!
Follow-up question - what are your goals/plans for WEF 2023?
My goal is to move up to the medium junior jumpers, remain consistent and successful in the equation, and become more comfortable riding a variety of horses.
What made you want to become a D1 Rider?
I was interested and excited to become a D1 rider because I felt like it was a great way to keep consistently riding while in college. Further more, I feel like it will overall make me more comfortable on a variety of horses which will serve me well in a career as a professional athlete and equestrian.
What was your process in verbally signing with TCU’s equestrian team?
I started talking to a bunch of different riding schools in June of 2022. I gathered as much information as I could, and narrowed down my top 5 schools. Once I had my top 5 schools, I could start setting up official visits. The NCAA allows a max of 5 official visits, but you can take as many un-officials as you want. I used all five visits, and in the end, although it was hard to decline the other schools, I decided TCU was the best fit for me.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out their college process?
My advice for anyone looking to be recruited is to put yourself out there, and communicate with the coaches as much as you can. It is also important to try and ride a variety of horses, and enjoy the journey!
My sister and I both ride competitively. Riding with a sibling can be challenging but a lot of fun, what has your experience been with riding and showing with and against your brother?
Dominic and I have been doing this sport together from the very beginning, so we share a strong bond. We have watched each other go through ups and downs, and we both try to be as supportive as we can with the occasional jokes. Dominic had an insanely successful junior career, and he is continuing his success as a young professional. As intimidating as that may seem for me, I just keep in mind that I am running my own race, at my own pace. He gives me the best advice, and I really love having him around. It makes all the difference in my life, and I can't imagine doing this without him.
Who has been the most influential person (thus far) in your career?
I could name a very long list (LOL) But I would say some of them include Mclain Ward, Beezie Madden, Stacia Madden, Karen Healy, Anne Kursinski, and Leslie Burr Howard. Some of my past trainers that opened the doors to where I am today include Karen Goodell, and Harriet Bunker. Of course I could not be here without the love, support, and guidance from my parents, family, and close friends including Dana Vollbracht.
What is the best advice you have received, in the equestrian world or just in life in general?
Some of the best advice that I keep reminding myself of everyday is that I am running my own race. I have found that it is very easy to get off track by watching and comparing myself to others, even though I may be in a very different situation than them. Reminding myself that I am doing the best I can in the situation that I am in has always brought me back to reality, and helped me stay focused.
What are some of your future plans or goals? Are you going to go pro? (If yes, why?)
Some long term goals of mine are to represent the US on a team internationally, compete in all of the big FEI grand prixs, and start a business of my own in the horse industry. Yes, I plan on going professional as soon as I am out of college. NCEA and NCAA require you to be an amateur while in college.
3 things you can always find in your ringside bag?
Boot polish, water, and a towel
Favorite thing to do outside of riding?
I love to exercise, and spend time with my friends, family, and dogs
Favorite horse show food?
I go through phases, but right now my go to's are pineapple, almonds, and a salad with chicken, spinach, avocado, pomegranate seeds, apple, and cucumber. But I can always go for a taco from Natalie's at WEF!
If you could play another sport, what would it be?
Before I decided that I wanted to pursue equestrian more competitively, I did competitive gymnastics and track, so I would have stuck with one of those.