Jennie Brannigan grew up in Galena, Illinois, originally riding a variety of horses under the instruction of Jane McGirk. Jennie became interested in Eventing at age 13 when she became a working student for Allison Springer. Eventually, Springer went on to work for Karen and David O’Connor riding their young horses, and Jennie headed to California where she worked for Natalie Rooney, who happened to be pregnant at the time. This gave Jennie the opportunity to ride many of Rooney’s clients’ horses. Later, Jennie worked for acclaimed show jumper Susie Hutchinson, where she developed as a rider and a horsewoman while she improved her show jumping skills under the watchful eye of one of show jumping’s greats.
Balancing show jumping with competing her Advanced event horse, “Kozma” proved a challenge, squeezing in events around her jumping schedule. When Mike Winter sent Jennie a text message asking if she would like to work for him while his wife Emma was in England, Jennie jumped at the opportunity to follow her eventing dreams. The timing was ideal, so she packed her things and made the move to Georgia. Emma Winter was out of the country for several months, during which time Jennie rode horses and taught lessons at the Winters’ Wayfarer Eventing in Newnan, Georgia. After Emma returned from her travels, Jennie went on to work and ride for Olympian Phillip Dutton at True Prospect Farm, where she was the assistant trainer until November of 2013. It was here that Jennie built her business from the ground up and made a name for herself as a trainer, rider, and coach. She is now enjoying growing her own business, Brannigan Eventing, of DD Matz’s farm in Unionville, Pennsylvania.
Jennie has established herself as one of the country’s top equestrians and eventers under the watchful eye of some of the greatest horsemen known to the sport of eventing. Her unique background in show jumping and eventing paired with her natural talent as a rider make her the choice for many looking to train or sell their horses. As an ICP certified instructor, Jennie enjoys teaching clinics and lessons to share her passion for eventing with others. Jennie has been fortunate enough to have an incredible group of horses and owners who have made her career and taken her to the top levels of the sport. Jennie’s long-time partner Cooper, who she purchased in 2006 from Kelli McMullen-Temple as a four-year-old going Beginner Novice, quickly climbed the levels with ease. This world-class horse won nine out of ten events at the Intermediate level from 2007-2008, landing himself and Jennie firmly atop the 2008 Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Leader Board. That same year, Cooper and Jennie represented California at NAJYRC bringing home double gold for their team and as an individual combination. After another terrific season together in 2009, with Jennie and Cooper well on their way to qualifying for Rolex and potentially the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Cooper sustained an injury at Fair Hill in the fall of 2009. Jennie was ultimately faced with the heart-wrenching decision to euthanize her magnificent partner.
Thanks to the support from her fellow riders, owners, friends and family, along with her admirable work ethic and love of horses, Jennie has stayed true to the sport she cares about. As any good professional athlete knows, there is great importance in your ability to dust yourself off after hard times and persevere back to the top. Jennie did just that, and only a year after losing Cooper, she and her partner Cambalda, owned by Nina Gardner, became the talk of the country on their way to earning the title of 2010 Horse of the Year! “Ping” and Jennie continued to garner top finishes in 2011 and 2012 at the Advanced level, winning the CIC3* at the Fork, taking 2nd at Richland and 3rd at Jersey Fresh. Together Jennie and Ping were named to the 2013 USEF High Performance List and were also named as featured riders for Rolex 2013. At the start of 2014, Jennie and Ping placed 9th at the Red Hills CIC3* and an impressive 3rd at The Fork CIC3*! Jennie and Ping appeared at Rolex and had a terrific 4* cross-country round together. They won both the Richland Park Advanced and the Plantation Field Advanced, and rounded out the 2014 season by being named the National CCI3* Champion and winning the Fair Hill International CCI3*. Jennie was the 2014 10th Ranked Rider of the Year and Ping was the 2014 10th Ranked Horse of the Year. In 2015, Jennie and Ping had a tremendous year winning both The Fork CIC3* and Great Meadow CIC3* along with a 2nd place finish at the Richland Park CIC3*. Together they were the the traveling reserve for the U.S. Team at the 2015 Pan American Games. In 2015, Jennie was the USEA’s 13th Overall Rider. Jennie has continued her successful ways throughout the 2016 including developing an impressive string of upper level horses and attaining many more impressive accolades, such as being named the National CCI2* Champion at Fair Hill International with Stella Artois and being named one of the overall top 10 riders of the year.
In 2017, Jennie was invited to compete in the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase, where she placed 6th with her longtime partner, Cambalda, and 12th with Ibella. At Red Hills International in March, Jennie finished 2nd in the CIC3* with Cambalda, as well as finished 3rd and 4th in the competitive Advanced division with Ibella and Stella Artios.
Jennie currently has a very talented group of horses, largely in part to her fantastic owners. She has her sights set on representing the United States in the near future and hopes to earn an Olympic medal for her country. In the meantime, Jennie is bringing other talented stars up the eventing ranks, as well as helping students and horses build strong fundamentals. In addition operating her own business, Jennie is enjoying being an exercise rider at Fair Hill Training Center and Vintage Farm for Michael Matz.