Jessica Champagne of Pine Point Equestrian

Here at Schneiders, we love supporting the professionals who work hard to keep this sport going. We decided to showcase these Professionals in a monthly blog post so that you can hear their fantastic stories and advice, too. We sat down with Jessica Champagne of Pine Point Equestrian to hear about her experiences.

Q: Tell us about your business? What services do you offer?

A: I own and operate Pine Point Equestrian out of central South Carolina. When I moved to South Carolina, I was based in Aiken, but have since moved to Columbia and service both locations and the towns in between. I offer riding lessons, training rides, horse sales, and horse sourcing. While my competition background is mainly in eventing, I have experience in various fields, including dressage, jumping, and hunters. My teaching and training philosophy is centered around facilitating trustworthy and confident connections between the horse and rider, so I pride myself on being able to service a wide variety of disciplines and ages.

Jessica Champagne

Q: How did you get your start in the equine industry?

A: Like many other young girls, I immediately fell in love with horses the first time I stepped in a barn. My grandmother bred Appaloosa horses throughout her life and fostered this love of horses in my sister and me from a young age. She took us to her friend’s farm for lessons, and I watched my older sister ride while I fed the ponies treats until I could start lessons at 4 years old. I have been hooked ever since. My introduction to being part of the industry came from being heavily involved in the United States Pony Club. In high school, I started teaching for my club (Tamarack Pony Club) and region (Northeast). This gave me a strong foundation of knowledge, management, riding, and teaching skills that I used to start as an assistant manager at my childhood riding school in high school, to barn manager of the barn I worked at in college, to barn manager of a show barn in Florida after I graduated, with many other learning and working opportunities in between. I branched out completely to start Pine Point Equestrian in 2020.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: One of my career goals is to compete again, but this time, dabble in more disciplines. Most of my competitive career has been in eventing, so I would like to branch out and focus more on jumpers, dressage, and maybe even some western disciplines like western dressage and ranch riding. I’ve taken about a 3-year hiatus from competing, and I’m ready to get back into it again.

My second career goal is to become a certified therapeutic riding instructor and incorporate equine-assisted learning programs into my business. I have volunteered for therapeutic riding centers on and off since college. I have found a passion for helping people of all ages and abilities experience the rewarding benefits of connecting with horses. Not only does working with horses contribute to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with disabilities, but it also helps anyone and everyone develop more confidence, better problem-solving and decision-making skills, think more critically, and communicate better.

Jessica Champagne

Q: What advice would you give a young equestrian that wants to be a professional trainer?

A: Do not undervalue yourself. I struggled for so long with what my services and time were worth before figuring out they were only worth the price tag you put on them. Do not be afraid to wait for clients that will pay what you’re asking for your services because you offer something unique to this industry, and the clients that want to work with you will pay you what you’re worth. Know your worth, then add tax.

Q: What have you learned in this industry?

A: I feel as though the question should be, “what have you NOT learned”! I feel fortunate to have grown up in the equestrian industry and found a career. Besides gaining horse care and riding knowledge through valuable experiences, I have learned much about myself and grown as an individual over the years. I have learned how to be a better communicator and critical thinker. I have learned how to create and execute an efficient schedule. I have learned how to be more patient, empathetic, and compassionate. I have learned that only today is guaranteed, so make the ones you love and having fun every day a priority.

Jessica Champagne

Q: Tell us about the horses on your team right now?

A: Knox My Socks Off (Knox for short) is my personal horse! He is a 13-year-old bay OTTB gelding. He’s had most of the past year off while I’ve been pregnant, but before that, we were schooling first-level dressage and jumping around the 1.0-meter ring. I’m excited to get him back into work again soon!

Cracker Jacks is my lesson horse extraordinaire, with whom I often also have fun. He is a 10-year-old Paint pony gelding. When I got him 3 years ago, he had never been ridden outside the round pen. In just 8 months, he turned into my beginner lesson pony and is a total love bug! His favorite things are watermelon and a very thorough grooming session.

Remy is my recently acquired project. He is a 4-year-old Mustang whose tattoo is not completely legible! He was started under saddle before I bought him but needs a good amount of groundwork to make him a solid citizen. He has been super fun to work with, as he’s very curious and loves to work! He will most likely be available for sale this winter.

Jessica Champagne

Q: What’s your favorite horse care item?

A: My current favorite horse care item is the HandsOn® Grooming Gloves. My horses LOVE being groomed with these gloves because they can scratch all of those hard-to-reach itchy spots. They are firm enough to thoroughly curry their entire body, yet still soft enough to get the dirt off their face and legs and scratch those sensitive ears.

Q: What’s your favorite stable item right now?

A: My current favorite stable item is the Dura-Tech® Heavy Duty Feed Bag. My horses live outside in groups, so having a safe way for them to be able to finish their grain and supplements is imperative. I use the heavy-duty feed bags over the mesh version because my horses are hard on equipment - I often find them trying to pull each other's feed bags off once they’ve finished eating, and the heavy-duty feed bags stand up much better than the mesh ones to this kind of use.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a professional trainer?

A: My favorite part about being a trainer is seeing the confidence and happiness that my clients grow into! My training and lesson program focuses on developing the relationship between the horse and rider, giving each skill that builds a solid, trustworthy foundation. When my clients have one of those “lightbulb” moments and are smiling from ear to ear or have finally been able to relax and have fun while in the saddle, those are my favorite moments.

Jessica Champagne

Q: At Schneiders, fit is important to us. As horse owners, we want our tack and blankets to fit our horses and our stable supplies to fit in our barn. How and why would fit be important to you?

A: Fit is important for safety, and safety makes working with and riding horses more fun! The fit of saddles, bridles, boots, and other equipment, for both the horse and rider can determine whether or not you have a successful ride. In terms of relationship, a proper fit between the horse and rider can also differentiate between a positive experience and a dangerous one.

Q: What do you wish everyone knew about horses?

A: I wish everyone knew how smart and thoughtful horses are. I have very rarely found that horses behave in certain ways out of stupidity. Every action or reaction has a reason and a meaning. It is our job to figure out what that is and either reinforce that behavior or teach the horse to have a more desirable reaction. I often remind myself and my students to be the horse’s teacher, not a cop.

Contact Info

Facebook: @pinepointequestrian
Instagram: @pinepointequestrian
YouTube: @pinepointequestrian4268