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Jesse Drent: “I can’t deal with horses leaving”

Photo: delivered by Jesse Drent

We were lucky to have an interview with the Dutch showrider, trainer influencer, and business owner Jesse Drent. The young star has an enormous follower group on social media and somehow, he stays humble and always prioritizes his horses.

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“The horse does all the work when you ride!”  

This was the answer Jesse’s mom told his sister when she was knackered after a hard day at the local riding school. This resulted in the sister insisting on the mom coming along and Jesse went as well to see what the fuss was all about. Since that day, Jesse’s life didn’t look the same. He knew horses were going to be part of his life forever.  

He started coming regularly to the local riding school along with his sister and they soon got a pony to share. “Luckily for me, my sister fell off and broke her shoulder quite badly and she never really got back into it. So, then I didn’t have to share the pony anymore.”  


“I was just a city boy”  

Having a passion for horses, when you grow up in the city, isn’t always combinable. “I never imagined it was possible to live with my horses, or even work with horses.” To make his dream come true, Jesse moved out of the city, and he now rents a beautiful stable with space for 18 horses. Jesse is looking for a new place he can buy and call his own and hopefully live there for a long time. But living out your dream is not necessarily easy and having your own place will increase the amount of work you need to do around the place.  

“Every week something breaks down. It's always like: ‘Oh finally everything works’ and then something else happens.” But to the young influencer, having the horses at home is worth all the extra responsibility. “It is a lot of work, but it is very nice to have the horses close to you. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”  

“It’s all about knowing your horses”  

Part of Jesse Drent's training philosophies with the horses, are the connection and bond you share. Living with his horses has increased that aspect a lot. “I think I get so much closer to the horses. Now I live with them I feel a much stronger connection and bond with them.” He explains how he observes so much more of their behaviour which he utilizes in their training. He gets a deeper insight into their personalities, traits, and behavior patterns.  

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“You can have a lot of good training skills, but if you don’t spend time together, it doesn’t become the same.”  

Jesse Drent explains that he didn’t realize this until he started spending a lot more time with the horses, which needs to be a positive time. “My main aspect in the training is to focus on everything that goes well and keep it positive.” 

It means he will always reward the horse for trying, even though it gave the “wrong” answer. He thanks the horse and tries to ask the question in another way. This way he will most likely get a different answer. If this is the “correct” answer, he will show his happiness and reward the horse. 

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“Everything that you put your energy into will grow.”  

This statement goes both ways. If you focus on things that don’t go well, the result won’t be the desired, but if you do the opposite, you get closer to your goal.  
The experienced trainer says that it isn’t always easy. Humans have a tendency to focus on the negative and the things that go wrong, but it is necessary to change this habit if we want to strive towards training like Jesse Drent does. He underlines the importance of trying to keep any frustration, impatience, and uncertainty out of the equation when you spend time with the horses.  

Creating a life-long bond  

Jesse Drent explains how part of his training is building this special bond with each horse. But to do this correctly for him, it must be a long-lasting bond. And that has some consequences: “I don’t have any training horses anymore, because I couldn’t deal with them leaving.” 

The bond is everything. Photo: delivered by Jesse Drent

Jesse Drent elaborates on how he differs the training slightly from horses he has short or long relationships with. “If I know I have to sell or train a horse, I work with them differently, because I cannot open up my heart in the same way, as if I know the relationship is forever. Otherwise, I will be heartbroken after.” 

The young trainer explained how he trained horses a few times, but quickly realized that is not the way he wishes to work with them. He felt he had some sort of blocking, not allowing the partnership to develop fully. Therefore, he focuses on his own horses now. 

To work with horses, you need to work on yourself  

The mindset is something that the popular influencer values highly. We cannot expect the horses to be overbearing with us humans and our flaws. Firstly, we need to work on ourselves, to not become frustrated when things do not go our way, or not become impatient if the horse does not respond immediately. This is something we can easily practice in our daily lives and not just at the stable.  

“If you go with a mindset of ‘the horse is just not getting it’, the chances of the horse actually solving the task is very unlikely,” explains Jesse Drent. Trying to imagine that the horse will solve whatever task you are asking that day, is a good practice.  

“It has to be fun”  

“For me, it is very hard to do one thing for a long time, so I like to do a lot of different things with the horses,” says Jesse, who performs in many shows worldwide. This variety in the training with the horse can be essential for both horse and rider. The mental and physical aspects of combining groundwork, play, and ridden work in a variety of tack can be motivating for both horse and rider.  

Having fun is essential for Jesse Drent and his horses. Photo: delivered by Jesse Drent

“I think any horse can do anything as long as it has four legs and a head and is healthy. Every horse prefers different things, but with all my horses I try to ride with a neck rope, a bitless bridle and sometimes I ride with a bit,” says Jesse Drent. 
Changing up the equipment requires the horse to be more aware and to think. It challenges the responses the horse has to give to the rider’s aid. 

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“I believe people should do more different stuff with their horses.”  

For Jesse Drent there is no news in the fact that he does things a bit differently than most other horse people. Yet a lot of things in the equestrian world have changed since he started. “People used to think I was this crazy guy who gives their horses treats for doing stuff.” Lately, it is becoming more acknowledged to use rewards instead of punishment in horse training.  

A lack in the tack market  

The popular influencer has recently expanded his business and started a brand of his own. He experienced a lack in the market for people like him, who used to ride a lot of competitions as well as doing the shows and practicing more tack-less riding. His goal was to develop horse tack that could suit all types of riders.  

“I always wanted to be a bit in between with using a bit or bitless riding and I didn’t want to be put in one box, which I often think it is. Either you ride with a bit or bitless, but I think these things can come together much more.”  

Jesse Drent developed his own riding equipment. Photo: delivered by Jesse Drent

This is why he decided to develop his design, where these two worlds can come together. He was hoping to be able to develop something, that could combine the sport and tack-less riding much more than it was when he started. This way, his products needed to be compatible with what was already on the market for regular bridles. Jesse Drent explains his thoughts on developing his brand.  

A lot of the bitless bridles looked a bit outdated I think. It wasn’t something I thought people in the sport would like to try. I didn’t think most of them were comfortable for the horse. So, I created something that I would like to use myself, hoping others felt the same. Then I realized how well the horses reacted to it, my horses and others.”   

One of the first things Jesse developed was the iconic bitless bridle which is currently shipped all over the world. He explains, that even Olympic riders have started using them for training and trail rides. His goal was to develop something comfortable and suitable for the horse and not only the looks.  


“A lot of people think: ‘Oh my horse could never go bitless’. But I feel like a lot of horses give you different things when you ride bitless.” Jesse Drent has accumulated plenty of experience when it comes to bitless riding and he helps many riders on all levels alter between the bit, bitless, and a neck rope. He explains that you always need to introduce new equipment in steps, but the rider will quickly see what the horse has to offer under the different types of tack.

Jesse’s best advice  

We asked the experienced trainer, what his best advice would be, if you wanted to work with horses, in a similar way to what he does. He explained, how people had always told him there was no work to be found in horses, how he wouldn’t be able to make a living from it, and that he needed a “real” job. But the young man never took this to heart and strongly believes, that if you are motivated enough, there will be work to be found. He says: “If you put the time and work into it, then there is definitely work for you out there.”  

He notes that he works seven days a week, so you also have to be willing to work hard for it, but it is his passion, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything else. “I am really grateful and appreciative that I get to do what I love every day.” 

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