How did a Galway maths teacher become the hottest new name on the international showjumping circuit? Jennifer Donald finds out
Eighteen months ago, 27-year-old teacher Jessica Burke closed the classroom door to embark on the journey of a lifetime. After six years in an increasingly busy job, the Galway native decided to take a career break to focus on her passion for showjumping, a move that has already paid unbelievable dividends.
Despite the turbulent times, Jessica has gone on to win her first international grand prix, landed a position at the prestigious Arion Stud in Hampshire and Irish selectors have clocked her team potential. This is a seriously talented rider whose showjumping career looks poised to go stratospheric.
“I look back at this year and think ‘wow’ – it’s been a difficult time for so many people, so I feel really lucky to have achieved so much in my own career,” says Jessica, whose soft lilt reveals her roots in the west of Ireland.