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, before starting her own business; 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-Pitts’ 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 Kozmo 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 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 with Olympian Phillip Dutton at True Prospect Farm, where she is the assistant trainer today. Here she built her business from the ground up and made a name for herself as a trainer, rider and coach.
Jennie has established herself as one of the countries top equestrians and eventers under the watchful eye of one of the greatest horseman 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 Kelly 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 CA at NAJYRC bringing home double gold for their state 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 WEG, Cooper sustained an injury at Fair Hill in the fall of 2009. Eventually as a result, Jennie was 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 has done just this, and only a year after loosing Cooper, she and Cambalda owned by Nina Gardner became the talk of the country on their way to earning the title of 2010 horse of the year!
Jennie currently has a very talented group of horses, largely in part to her fantastic owners. She has her sights set on representing the U.S. in the near future and hopes to earn an Olympic medal for her country. In the mean time, Jennie is bringing other talented stars up the eventing ranks, as well as helping students and horses build strong fundamentals and training techniques.
Written by Lisa Thomas, Amber Heintzberger and Athletux .
Jackie Imholte: Working Student
From northern Virginia, Jackie Imholte  started riding at age 11. She was introduced to eventing through Difficult Run Pony Club and has been hooked ever since. Jackie had been a long time admirer of Jennie and her accomplishments. So at 17, after graduating high school in June of 2011, Jackie moved to Pennsylvania with her horse, Fernhill Frolic, to be Jennie’s first working student.
After much bad luck with Frolic’s health, Jackie was given many opportunities to remain competitive due to Jennie’s vast connections. In November of 2011, Jackie leased and then eventually purchased Asterix , Nick Cwick’s seasoned 3 star horse. Together, Jackie and Asterix had several wins and numerous top placings at training and preliminary levels. Despite Asterix sustaining an injury early in the season, the pair still ended 2012 as USEA 3rd place preliminary young adult rider.
In 2013, Jackie is grateful and looking forward to continuing with Jennie’s mentorship and is excited to have the ride on Patricia Brannigan’s Dutch gelding, Vamor. Although she would love to stay and work for Jennie forever, Jackie must take a break to attend college in the fall of 2013. ” I love working for Jennie because she is very inspirational, fun-loving, and so appreciative. She is family.”