Spotlight On: Equestrian Drill Team

Alabama Horse Talk amplifies conversations in the horse world, highlighting equine activities, events and resources.  Spotlight On:  focuses on a particular person, discipline, sport, association, breed, etc. in order to provide information for horse lovers and promote the joy of being involved with horses.

Alabama Horse Talk had the pleasure this week of interviewing a very bright and accomplished young lady, Jessie Nichols, about the team sport of equestrian drill team and her business, Alabama Extreme Equine Productions.  Drill can be seen in action this weekend in Montgomery, Alabama at Crawford Arena for the Alabama National Fair Equestrian Drill Team Competition:

Alabama Horse Talk:  What is your role in Alabama’s horse world?

Jessie:  At Alabama Extreme Equine Productions (ALEEP), we want the rider and horse to gain the utmost respect for each other. We offer extensive training and coaching in many riding disciplines, whether it be Halter, English, Western Pleasure, Timed Events, Drill, Rodeo Pageantry, you name it, we have it! Our goal is for the rider and horse to get the most out of their experience!”

Alabama Horse Talk:  What inspired you to develop your business?

Jessie:  The desire to help youth and adults gain knowledge about the many different riding disciplines in the equine industry and most importantly, safety. Also the desire to teach people who have no working knowledge about horses and what needs they may require, such as diseases, common health care, and the basic knowledge of owning a horse!

Alabamahorsetalk.com Jessie Nichols

Jessie Nichols riding drill

Alabama Hores Talk:  How long have you been doing drill team activities, and how did you get started?

Jessie:  In 2009, ALEEP began hosting the annual Alabama National Fair Drill Team Competition. In 2010, a new era began for ALEEP with the addition of coaching riders and training horses in multiple disciplines!

Alabama Horse Talk:  What exactly is drilling and why does it attract you?

Jessie:  The sport of equestrian drill is a fast paced sport that requires a minimum of four riders who can perform intricate maneuvers at great speeds. It requires a quiet, well mannered horse who responds quickly to its rider, and can move easily to light pressure! The sport of equestrian drill not only gives you an adrenaline rush, but is a sport that requires, responsibility, discipline, and a well mounted rider!  The sport of drill interests me due to the fact of its diversity and ability to give you a rush!  I have been involved with the sport of drill for over 10 years now.  I love the sport of drill, and hope to never give it up!

Alabama Horse Talk:  Why is your business and the sport of drill important to you, and why is it important for others? 

Jessie:  The sport of drill is important to me because it’s a team effort by not only me and my horse but with other riders.  It is a great opportunity for other riders to work with one another, make it through the hard times, and figure out certain things together!  Many people can benefit from the sport of drill because it makes you overall, a better rider, and most importantly, leaves you with life lessons that you can take with you for the rest of your life.  ALEEP is important to me due to the fact that it is a job in a job. When riders or horses come to ALEEP for help, ALL of us have to work. It is not just a one-person job. It is a job that teaches responsibility, patience, and most importantly time management to the horse, the rider, and myself.

Alabama Horse Talk:  What would you say are the 3 key elements for success of your business and drilling activities? 

Jessie:

1. Responsibility
2. Patience
3. Time and money management

Alabama Horse Talk:  How do you use technology and social media in your business/activities? 

Jessie:  You can find ALEEP on Facebook by searching JN Farm-ALEEP or Alabama Extreme Equine Productions. ALEEP can also be found on the web at www.alextremeequine.net.  These explain our services more in-depth, posts upcoming events, and has contact information for any questions that you may have!

Alabama Horse Talk:  What is your greatest achievement to date in the horse world? 

Alabamahorsetalk.com Jessie Nichols 4-H Champion

Jessie Nichols, 4-H Champion

Jessie:

2012 PLHA Halter Reserve Champion
2012 AL. State 4-H Over-All Champion Horse Judging
2012 State 4-H Oral Reasons Champion
2012 State 4-H Horse Judging Team Champions
2011 NBHA World Championships Qualifier
2011 NBHA AL District 3 4-D Champion
2011 Alabama State 4-H Geldings Halter Champion
2011 RRHC Clinician
2010 Jr. Miss SLE Rodeo Queen
2010 USEDA All Star Rider
2010 USEDA Apprentice Judge
2009 4-H Southern Regionals Top 10 Finish
2009 PLHA Judged Champion
2009 PLHA Reserve Timed Events Champion
2008 PLHA All Around Champion
2008 PLHA Judged Champion
2008 PLHA Reserve Timed Events Champion
4 Time Southern Regionals Qualifier
4 Time Little Boots Rodeo Pageant Winner

Alabama Horse Talk:  What kind of horses do you (or folks participating) use in this business/activity?

Jessie:  American Quarter Horses and Appendix Registered Quarter Horses.

Alabama Horse Talk:  What have you learned about horses, and what have your learned about horse people?

Jessie:  Too much to list! . . .  Health, attitude, common knowledge, etc. (goes for both)

Alabama Horse Talk:  What is your best advice for families just starting out with horses?

Jessie:  Start with something simple.  Find a good vet, farrier, and know what you’re getting into before you take on the responsibility of horses.

Alabama Horse Talk:  Who is the person in the horse industry who inspires you the most, and why?

Jessie:  Betty Roper. I have known Betty Roper for several years, and I had the opportunity to take my horse out to Oklahoma for a week this past summer and work with her. She is not only a great horsewoman, but a great all around cowgirl! She is in her late 60’s, still training horses, running barrels, and still has the unending title of “Betty Roper 6-Time IPRA World Champion High Money Earner!”

Alabama Horse Talk:  How would you describe a successful day in your life with your horse?

Jessie:  Getting the job done right the first time!

Alabama Horse Talk:  What are some of the best resources for your business and drilling?

Jessie:  Knowing companies/contacts in the equine industry that are able to sponsor your company/business when you are trying to accomplish a goal that is set.  The best resources for starting up a drill team would be researching USEDA (United States Equestrian Drill Association)!  They hold coaches clinics and judging clinics for the sport of drill and can help you get on the right path to starting up a drill team!

Alabama Horse Talk:  What are some suggestions you have for Alabama Horse Talk fans and someone wanting to start out in this activity?

Jessie:  Have a set goal, and once that goal is met, set a higher one. Remember, “Work now, play later!” Of course with horses, work is playing!  As for drilling, my advice on starting up a drill team is that, if you are the person who is the coach of the drill team, DO NOT let there be too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Many times, people often find themselves in a predicament due to that reason. Be forceful, but at the same time encouraging. Remember, you are the coach, you are the one who makes the final call.

Alabamahorsetalk.com Jessie Nichols barrel racing

Jessie, barrel racing

Alabama Horse Talk:  What does this year have in store for you and your business?

This upcoming year has quite a bit in store for ALEEP! We hopefully will be starting up a week-long barrel racing camp out at the facilities during the summer, and a possible three-day “All Discipline” clinic! In addition to this, we also hope to spike the number of students to an all time high!  As for drill, this year I hope to achieve many new things by moving on up from riding on one team to coaching with another, and adding many new roads to my map as a drill master!

Alabama Horse Talk:  What is the take home message you want to get across to horse people? 

Jessie:  You can accomplish anything with hard work, blood, sweat, and the occasional tear. The question is, are you dedicated enough to follow your dreams, and make them come true?

Alabama Horse Talk:  How can folks contact you? 

Jessie:  People can call me at 334-322-7060, email me at jessnichols@bellsouth.net, reach me through our website at http://alextremeequine.net, or find us on facebook:  JN Farm- ALEEP, or Alabama Extreme Equine Productions.  Also, ALEEP will be hosting the fourth annual Alabama National Fair Drill Team Competition on October 13th at the W.O. Crawford Arena in Montgomery, Alabama. Events will begin at 8:30 that morning and awards will begin around 5:00 o’clock that afternoon! Be prepared for the thrill of a lifetime as you watch teams bring their best to the pen, perform to their favorite music, and perform heart-stopping moves that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Folks can come out on Saturday to meet and talk to us at the Alabama National Fair Drill Team Competition!

Alabama Horse Talk thanks Jessie Nichols for sharing information about the team sport of Equestrian Drill Team and her company, ALEEP!

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About Becca Salamone

Becca Salamone, a life-long lover of horses, is the founder of Alabama Horse Talk, amplifying equine opportunities and conversations in Alabama. Becca is the mom of two and wife of Frank and known throughout Alabama as the Voice of Alabama Horse Talk Radio.

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