Most riders would agree that you’re only as good as the horses beneath you. But for those young professionals looking to make a name for themselves in showjumping sport, keeping good horses in your stable can often be as challenging as developing them into future superstars. For Jess Dimmock, 24, of Northhamptonshire, U.K., it’s a struggle that hits close to home.

In May, Dimmock made her Nations Cup debut at the Drammen Spring Tour in Norway aboard the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Cybel II, jumping clear and four, and earning the best result for the British team. Cian O’Connor was quick to spot talent in the pair and, before Drammen was over, approached Dimmock about adding the talented Cybel to his string. It’s not the first partnership Dimmock has had to forgo for the betterment of her career and business. But if there’s one thing that’s consistent, it’s Jess’s own contributions to the development of the young horses under her care.

It’s a trend that continued this month at MET Olivia, in Spain, where Dimmock earned top finishes on multiple horses in CSI2* level grands prix. All said, there’s little doubt that the British rider is getting where she’s going in the sport, and can proudly say she did so the old-fashioned way. Here, we sit down with Dimmock to give her our Twenty Questions quiz.

1. At what exact moment did you fall in love with horses?

When I was 10 years old I went to watch my friend ride at a riding school. I begged my parents for lessons and then when I was 12, I finally got my first pony on loan: a chestnut mare with four white socks. I think I spent more time on the floor than I did in the saddle!

2. For riding, do you prefer black boots or brown boots?

I ride in black boots.

3. If you could do any other equestrian discipline, what would it be and why?

I would say polo…I have never played, but I would love to have a go! It looks great fun and very competitive!

4. What is the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

After returning from the Nations Cup show in Drammen [Norway] with Cybel, I went to a local show with one young horse and I got eliminated because I went before the bell! My trainer Tim Stockdale was there, and he has not let me forget it.

5. What is the most inspiring thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

Having the opportunity to compete at the Gothenburg Senior European Championships in the U25 Championship this year. Watching Ireland pull together as a team and win team gold was a special moment.

6. What is your favorite #TwoHearts Moment of recent seasons?

My favorite #twohearts moment this season was being selected to jump on my first Senior Nations Cup Team with Cybel and then going on to jump around for 0/4. I have always had to produce my horses myself, as I haven’t been in a position to buy them at the top level, so having produced Cybel from a young horse made it all the more special.

7. What was the hardest lesson you have had to learn in your riding?

As much as I want to compete at the top level of the sport, I have to sell horses to fund my business. So I have had to learn to follow my head and not my heart!

8. Who is your mentor and why?

Tim Stockdale. Tim has always been someone I’ve looked up to from an early age. He took me on at the start of my career at 16 years old and I have never looked back. I have a lot of respect and trust in Tim; he has has played a huge part in my career to date.

9. If you could ride a horse from the past, who would it be?

Cedric.

10. If you could ride a horse right now that is not your own, who would it be?

Fit For Fun.

11. How do horses keep you grounded in the industry that you live/work in?

Horses are great levelers. One day I’m jumping double-clear in a grand prix and the next day, I am trying to stay on naughty four year olds!

12. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream!

13. When were you most happy on a horse?

When I won the U23 World Class British Championship at Olympia with Capello in 2012. The previous year, I was due to compete, but the week before Olympia, Capello was rushed to Newmarket to have colic surgery. He defied all the odds and pulled through two separate surgeries.

We were unsure as to whether he would ever jump at a top level again, so to come back and win a year later was an unbelievable feeling. He was then sold straight after Olympia, [but] this year, I was lucky enough to get him home to retire. Capello was the first horse that made so many of my childhood dreams a reality, so to have him home to retire is just amazing. I’m not sure if I had a bigger smile winning at Olympia, or riding him for the first time when I got him home after five years!

14. If your horse were a famous person, who would they be?

Cassius Clay would be Zac Efron. He’s good looking, talented, and he knows it!

15. What is one piece of riding clothing or equipment you could never do without?

My Weatherbeeta rugs. The horses have a rug for every occasion.

16. What is your helmet of choice and why?

KASK helmets. It is great to be able to combine comfort and style!

17. Which famous clothing brand do you wish would come out with an equestrian line?

Michael Kors.

18. What is your biggest splurge to date when it comes to your riding and/or horse(s)?

I have just treated myself to a new truck. And horse treats—my horses are very spoiled!

19. What is the best piece of riding advice you have ever received?

All horses are individuals, so try to understand them and work with them, not against them.  -Tim Stockdale.

20. What is your life motto?

Stay focused, keep pushing forward, and the hard work will pay off. And never give up!

Photo credit: Mulyar Stas. All photos courtesy of Jess Dimmock