Jessica Burke exclusive after scintillating performance in Mullingar International

Jessica Burke exclusive after scintillating performance in Mullingar International

Jessica Burke, Ireland’s premier female showjumper, showcased her formidable talent and tenacity by clinching the 1.45 National Science Park Longines Ranking Class at the Mullingar International Show.

Riding African Affair, she delivered a performance that left the audience on the edge of their seats and reaffirmed her position at the top of the equestrian sport after some cracking results this year. She is on fire.

Muireann O'Toole Brennan, our head of Media here at Equitas caught up with Jessica just after her electrifying win in beautiful weather this evening to discuss the jump-off, her partnership with African Affair, and the support system that fuels her success.

"I'm absolutely delighted," Jessica began, the thrill of victory evident in her voice. "That horse has been consistently placing second, third, and fourth in ranking classes recently. Today, I just gave it everything. It was a bit wild to the last fence… I went back to my pony days, my hunting days. Nine strides felt like a long way for that horse, but we got there in the end."
This victory was the result of talent, sacrifice and of course a deep bond and mutual trust between rider and horse. "I had a good feeling today," Jessica continued. "He’s been putting in clear rounds and brilliant performances. Sometimes, you just know it’s the day to throw caution to the wind and go for the win. And we did. I’m over the moon."

The Pillars of Success: Sponsors and Team Effort

Burke’s success is supported by a strong network of sponsors and a dedicated team. "I’m incredibly fortunate to have amazing sponsors—Renaissance Saddles, Freejump stirrups and the Air Jacket, Make Be for clothing, Tucci for the boots, GAIN, and Equine Products Ireland for supplements over the last couple of years we've built them all up," she acknowledged. "Building these relationships over the years has been crucial."

Her gratitude also extends to her team. "My grooms, the girls at home, and Alia, who has traveled with me to every show, are all fantastic. It truly takes a village to achieve these successes."

Jessica highlighted the vital role of her owners. "Louisa Church from Arion Stud owns African Affair. She’ll be ecstatic about this win," Jessica said, her phone buzzing with calls from excited supporters. "Louisa is incredibly supportive and would be an inspiring speaker for the younger generation."

She also mentioned Liam Nichols’ promising grey 8-year-old, expressing excitement for its future after an incredible first round. "He is actually a horse I am very excited about across the next 12-18 months, he is a special little horse".

A Personal Victory

Winning at Mullingar held special significance for Jessica, especially with her family present. "It was wonderful to have my mom here today, along with my aunt, uncle, and cousins," she shared. "Coming back to Mullingar after five years and seeing all the improvements the Fagan family has made is fantastic."

Jessica’s competitive spirit and drive for excellence are clear. "Winning has always been a top priority for me. People might call me hungry, but if you can't be competitive, what's the point? I thrive on competition and absolutely love winning."

The Significance of Irish Showgrounds

Jessica emphasised the importance of international shows in Ireland and the quality of facilities like those at Mullingar. "I asked about the ground here because I wanted to bring my best horses, and it’s superb. We need these show centres," she noted. "For young riders, seeing top competitors in action is invaluable. I’m based in England, but there’s no better place to compete than here against such talented riders."

She praised the excellence of Irish riders and the strong support system in Ireland. "The support system in Ireland is one of the best in the world. Being part of this community and supporting it, I think is important".

Jessica Burke’s victory at Mullingar not only highlights her own extraordinary talent but also underscores the strength and vitality of the Irish showjumping community.

Jessica's unwavering commitment, big ambitions, incredible focus and the robust support from her sponsors and team promise even greater accomplishments on the horizon. What a performance. What a result. Jessica Burke is on fire.

Check out her winning final round in the Jump Off below.



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