Tori Jeffress lives and works on her Dad’s sheep and cropping property in central west NSW. After getting her first pony at the age of two, her love for horses never really blossomed until her mum sold that same pony when she was 7 years old, because she was not one bit interested! From that moment on all she wanted to do was ride! As a youngster, for the initial first few years of pony club Tori grew up spending more time with her face in the dirt than she did on the horses back, push button ponies were never a thing, you rode what you were given and you learnt to hang on… or fall off! Tori says it’s these ponies that taught her resilience- your either “Give in, Give up or Give it all you’ve got”.
Thankfully after a few unsuitable ponies she was blessed with one she stayed on, a little more regularly at least! At age 13 Tori started open level eventing and at the age of 16 left school to work for eventing rider Natalie Blundell, competing and also grooming at CCI competitions both in Australia and New Zealand. At the age of 18 Tori’s focus was more or dressage, this is also when she found Rocco! That’s where the story really starts, the beginning of one very big, expensive but rewarding learning curve and irreplaceable knowledge. Rocco experienced some soundness issues and spent a ridiculous amount of time at the vets, nerve block, after x-Ray, after cortisone injection. He was sound for short spurts and then would go lame again.
It was just by pure luck that in 2014 Tori met Jose and Fay Mendez, who opened her up to the idea of classical dressage. Tori remembers that in one of her first lessons with Jose he said something like “why follow the crowd, strive to do something different”. This little phrase was the seedling for her inspiration to ride bridleless. In 2017 Tori started training under classical trainer Belinda Bolsenbroek, who she says has been an amazing mentor and coach for her and still is.