JN Exclusive: Junior Jorja Jones Jumps Ahead at WEC

While most seventeen-year-olds are preparing for prom, Jorja Jones is making a name for herself in the Grand Prix ring. Having started off 2018 with a win in the $25,000 WEC Winter Classic 3 Grand Prix at the World Equestrian Center aboard Light Show, Jorja aims to continue on with her consistency in the ring with ‘Quandro’ and pursue some bigger classes. JN caught up with Jorja to see what the ambitious young rider has in store for her last Junior year.

An Unusual Set Up for Success

The Memphis, Tennessee native grew up surrounded by horses, both her mother and her sisters all ride. Jorja can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t in the saddle.  As she grew, Jorja began to make connections that would later have a big impact on her riding career.

“I catch rode a small pony for Diane Masters when I was 11 at a Germantown horse show and I have just stuck with them ever since. It has allowed me unbelievable opportunities,” Jorja shared with JN. In the summer of 2015 — with the support of her family — Jorja left her hometown in Tennessee and moved to Columbus, Ohio to live with her trainer, Diane Masters of Masters Show Stables. “At times it can be a little difficult because you have all of this support around you, but its not the normal family atmosphere. But at the same time it was definitely an opportunity I could have never passed up.”

Photo by ESI Photography

Since making that move, Jorja has been able to place her entire focus on riding and traveling to compete at various circuits thanks to the immense amount of support she receives from both the Masters family and Andrea Simpson. “The horse I ride now [the Masters’] actually imported for me that same summer that I moved. Before they imported him, I had never jumped bigger than the Low Children’s Jumpers,” shared Jorja.

Making Big Leaps with Quandro

Little did Jorja know, but that horse would take her far beyond her wildest dreams in a short period of time. The nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quasimodo Z goes by Quandro at the barn, but shows under the name Light Show. “He is a very sweet horse, but when he first came over his personality didn’t come out at first. But when I got to know him and be around him every day, he has really opened up and he is a very caring horse.”

Quandro enjoying some relaxation time. Photo by Jorja Jones

During their debut show together, Jorja and Quandro competed in the High Childrens despite Jorja’s lack of show record at that height. “He went around like a champ, he was way up over the jumps! He took me around and it was great. I have never been nervous going into any of my classes with him. People look at me and say, ‘You have to be nervous,’ and I always say, ‘I have nothing to be nervous about.’”

Together, the pair would go on to achieve some phenomenal results together. Last February, Quandro led Jorja to her first Grand Prix win at WEC. They would also snag the red ribbon in the big Junior Jumper class at Devon, third in the Grand Prix at the Germantown Charity Horse Show, and later take home sixth in the $50,000 Grand Prix at the Raleigh, North Carolina Jump for the Children show.

Jorja and Quandro competing at Devon. Photo by Peter Pham

Starting off 2018 Right

The pair turned up the heat during Week Three of the WEC Winter in the Midwest circuit and contested 24 other riders in the Grand Prix . “Three had already gone clear and I was 15th or 16th to go, but going in I just decided to ride it like any other class.” Quandro and Jorja were the last pair to go clear in the class, freeing up their mind for the jump-off. Despite being last in the order of go for the jump-off, Jorja was focused on the ride ahead. That focus paid off as the pair put in the ride to secure the blue ribbon.

They followed up that win with a third place ride during Week Four, falling just behind professional rider David Beisel who took home both first and second. “Quandro jumped great,” shared Jorja. “The first six of the class were clear and I was the last one to go clear again, so I was last in the jump off like the week before.” After watching David Beisel go clear and fast on both of his horses, she knew she would have to step up her game. “When I came out of the ring David told me, ‘you made me very nervous,’ because I was so fast!” And their efforts paid off, David’s winning time was 35.2, followed by his second place time of 35.4, and Jorja came in a close third with a time of 35.6.

Jorja and Quandro strutting their stuff during the WEC circuit. Photo by Samantha Hill

The pair hopes to continue showing a few weeks out of each month at WEC and then make their way to Atlanta. With the end of her Junior year just around the corner, Jorja aspires to take a gap year and ride in Europe before pursuing her college education. While she has had serious thoughts about going Professional one day, right now she is just focused on the ride. “David Beisel told me once before I went into the ring to ‘just go and have fun.’ I think that is the biggest and best thing to remember.”