Jessica Ransehousen to Receive USA Lifetime Achievement Award
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Jessica Ransehousen, who competed in three Olympic Games for the United States almost a quarter century apart, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and the Jimmy A. Williams Trophy from the U.S. Equestrian Federation next month.
Her lifetime of competition, training, judging and leading U.S. teams as chef d’equipe was capped by a return as chef to witness the international success of Steffen Peters and Ravel in 2009. She had been the the USA chef in 1996 at his first Olympics.
She will be saluted by U.S. jumping chef d’equipe George H. Morris and Robert Dover, who rode on six Olympic teams for the USA, at the presentation of the USEF’s highest individual honor to be made at the USEF annual convention in Lousiville, Kentucky, on Saturday, Jan. 16.
Jessica, 71, of Unionville, Pennsylvania, is being honored for her deep and passionate commitment to dressage. Her opinions are informed by a lifetime of experience, direct but typically softened by her keen sense of humor.
Jessica was a founding member of dressage in the U.S. and was among the first to ever ride dressage in America. She was the U.S. Equestrian Team National Dressage Champion in 1956 and 1957.
She competed in three Olympic Games for the USA–in Rome, 1960, Tokyo, 1964 then 24 years later in
Seoul in 1988. She also won team silver at the Pan American Games in 1959.
She was the first USET member to wear the leading rider’s green armband at the prestigious international dressage competition in Aachen, Germany. And she rode at Aachen in what was a freestyle without music, a precursor of the musical freestyle.
Jessica was chef d’equipe for the U.S. dressage team at the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, the World Equestrian Games at Stockholm in 1990 and The Hague in 1994, plus several Pan American Games.
She was also a FEI “I” judge.
Jessica has trained and mentored numerous accomplished dressage and event riders. She trained her daughter Missy Ransehousen, now a successful event rider and trainer at the family’s Blue Hill Farm in Unionville. She coached dressage riders Dorothy Morkis on Monaco before the pair won team bronze at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and Todd Flettrich, 1992 North American Young Rider dressage individual gold medalist and now a successful FEI-level trainer and rider.
Her event-riding students have included Darren Chiacchia and Phillip Dutton, both U.S. team competitors.
She was inducted into the U.S. Dressage Federation Hall of Fame.
Jessica returned as the U.S. chef d’equipe in 2009 at the age of 70 when the USA was wthout a coach or chef d’equipe.
Steffen Peters became the FEI World Cup champion and achieved an historic sweep for an American of the CDIO Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle at Aachen. Germany. She had been chef d’equipe in 1996 when Steffen rode for the first time as a U.S. citizen at the Atlanta Olympics, winning team bronze on Udon.
“Steffen’s ride on Ravel at the World Cup in Las Vegas was exciting and beautiful,” she said. “To witness Steffen’s maturation from 1996 to 2009 was wonderful,
“At Aachen it was even more amazing, to see the whole evolution of a wonderful, melodic and goal-achieving performance. That was one of the high points of my life.”