Emily Smith and Quantum Jazz - An American Dressage Success Story

Thursday, August 13, 2020
Posted by Lynndee Kemmet


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Over the past years, the United States dressage community and equestrian organizations have invested heavily in programs aimed at developing future American riders and horses. If you wonder if such efforts are worthwhile, Dianne Georgian-Smith and her daughter Emily Smith answer that question with a resounding ‘yes.’

photo: © Joanna Jodka

Emily Smith is a product of those programs aimed at developing young riders and her newest partner, the 11-year-old gelding Quantum Jazz, is a product of the U.S. young and developing horse programs. And, as new partners, they are out to prove that all these U.S. efforts are paying off.

“Both the horse and my daughter have grown up through the American system,” Georgian-Smith said. “This is what the U.S. wants to see. We are putting a lot of time and sweat into breeding and developing horses and riders. And this is an example that it can work.” Smith, who grew up in the Northeast and is now based in Florida, started her dressage path through Lendon Gray’s youth dressage programs.

“My showing career started because of Lendon Gray’s Dressage 4 Kids and Youth Dressage Festival. It was my first real dressage show and I was 12 years old showing my rescue pony at training level. This was also the first show where I saw teenagers riding in double bridles and showing over third level. Before the Youth Dressage Festival in 2008, I thought you had to be an adult to show over third level. That was also when I learned about the FEI Junior and Young Rider programs, along with the North American Youth Championships, known at the time as the North American Junior Young Rider Championships,” said Smith, who now competes in the Under 25 competitions. “I have been very lucky to grow up doing many youth programs. I am also very grateful to have parents who have supported me through all the different avenues I have gone down.”

While Smith, 24, was developing her skills as a rider through young rider programs, Quantum Jazz, which she found this spring through her current trainer Endel Ots, was developing his skills as a dressage horse through U.S. young and developing horse programs.

“Quantum Jazz has qualified for our Young Horse and Developing Horse Championships most every year and competed with excellent results,” said Leslie Waterman, who originally purchased him in utero from American breeder Judy Yancey. “I thought the breeding of Quaterback with Judy’s fabulous Danish mare Tamarinde – Jazz x Matador (Wynton’s) – full sister would be phenomenal. I was not disappointed. At his inspection everyone gasped as he trotted by... almost flying.”

Through most of his riding and competitive career, Quantum Jazz was partnered with trainer and rider Emily Miles. “Raising and developing Quantum Jazz has been a joy and a privilege. He has always had a tremendous work ethic and a genuine honest character. With Jazz in his blood, he is a lot of horse, so it was very important that he be in the right hands” Waterman said. And that combination of the right trainer combined with U.S. programs aimed at helping develop American horses has been a key to the successful development of Quantum Jazz.

“Our United States Young Horse and Developing horse program is so important as our sport moves forward. It recognizes and rewards talent for the future and sets the standard for international competition,” she said. “At every level, our athletes learn to differentiate good from excellent and excellent from extraordinary. There is more in this than whether you earned a 7 or a 10 for your trot. It is about the correct classical principles of training that develop a top athlete combination. We are so lucky to have the dedicated leadership of Christine Traurig at the helm of our program. And, more than ever, I am grateful for our judges who do not fall for flying front legs and lagging hindquarters, who kindly tell us to go home and work on balance and thoroughness and rhythm. This standard of true harmony ensures that our young horse champions will be healthy and prepared for a future of International competition.”

Both Waterman and Miles have been thrilled to see the new partnership between Quantum Jazz and Smith. “Emily and I could not be more happy than to see our (Quebert) now carrying Emily Smith, his proud new owner, to compete for the Brentina Cup,” Waterman said.

“I was incredibly grateful for Leslie investing in Quantum Jazz and me, as I learned a lot from him and the opportunities that he gave me. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that he is with someone who will continue to develop him and learn with him and also get opportunities,” Miles said.

Smith is now focused on competing in next year’s Brentina Cup competition with Quantum Jazz. She started her journey as a junior rider with her father’s horse Augustus (Gus), earning a bronze medal at 14 and silver at 16. From Gus she moved on to Dublin, with whom she competed in the North American Junior Young Rider Championships in 2015. In 2016, she was accepted into Lendon Gray’s Winter Intensive Training Program.

“That program opened up so many doors for me and was truly an intensive course on barn management, training from basics to FEI, and getting to speak with some of the top professionals in our sport,” Smith said. “Thanks to that program, I was able to get in touch with the USEF Young Rider coach, George Williams. Then, in my final year as a young rider, Dublin and I were able to compete at both NAJYRC and the Festival of Champions.”

It is with Dublin that Smith also earned her gold medal two years ago. Now, she is continuing her journey with Quantum Jazz and mother, Georgian-Smith, is grateful for all the people who worked so hard to create programs that help American riders and horses.

“As a mom, I say thank you to all those people. If these programs had not been in place, my daughter would not have had these opportunities,” Georgian-Smith said. “I appreciate the opportunities provided to Emily for her journey in dressage. I understand that all of the U.S. Equestrian Federation and U.S. training programs are a result of devoted people who have spent countless hours developing a broad net of support.”

And that network of support, she said, has combined to give her daughter an opportunity she would have never otherwise had. “If the first trainer wasn’t so good, Quantum Jazz wouldn’t be so good now. And that trainer (Miles) is grateful to the owner and breeder for supporting her. And if someone hadn’t created these developing programs, the horse wouldn’t have had that mileage under him and been more ready for my daughter. A result I see from all of this is that my daughter has a growing self-confidence with this horse. As a mom, I want to see her grow up to be a confident young woman, in whatever she might do.”

“As Emily’s Mom, I appreciate the opportunities provided to Emily for her journey in dressage. I understand that ALL of USEF and US training programs are a result of devoted people whom have spent countless of hours developing a broad net of support. This also applies to the USEF Developing tests that have helped to bring the horse up through the levels, for the development of two successful US dressage trainers, Emily and Endel, and now my daughter, who is benefiting from everyone’s efforts. Emily and I thank all whom have developed horse and rider training programs….ALL within the U.S.!”