Updated: Apr 2
My mother told me I asked for a pony about 5 minutes after I was born. So I’d say “equine obsessed” is a pretty accurate and simple description of who I am.
My name is Jess Tanglao. I was born a Buchanan to 2 horse loving parents in Southern Virginia under the shadow of House Mountain in Rockbridge County, part of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
I always loved the horses. I loved the smell of the horses and I loved to ride. My parents bought me several riding horses in my youth. I was always in Pony Club and 4H. I was even on the Virginia State 4H Horse Judging team and won the American Quarter Horse World Championships in Horse Judging. My favorite of all the horses and ponies I was lucky enough to have was a Foundation Quarter Horse I called Ace of Spades. I competed Ace in 4H, eventing, dressage, show jumping, hunters, rode him through the USPC B certification (I graduated a Traditional HA), and fox hunted this special little horse. There was nothing I didn’t try with him.
Ace was certainly the horse that started this passion for me. As I got older in my teen years I found I was particularly fond of Dressage and I focused more there in college. I had the opportunity to work with Lauren Sprieser in college and ride her very special PRE Stallion, Karateka III.
I also evented a lot and rode my horse, Oronoco’s Whisperwill, with Phillip Dutton through college as well.
But there was a carriage company in town that I was always drawn to. It looked so cool. People riding the carriage getting a history tour from the driver. The horses were so beautiful and well behaved. The people on the carriage always looked entertained. I wanted to do that SO badly. I bugged the owner of Lexington Carriage Company for a job. I wanted to learn to drive the carriages. Finally, Shana, the owner, agreed to give me a job, teach me to drive, and teach me how to give tours.
I guess you could say the rest is history. I found my true calling in life. I drove for Lexington Carriage Company for almost 10 years (even through the death of my biggest fan, my mom, when I was only 22) by the time I got married and moved away. Even after I first moved to Maryland I would commute back to Lexington, Virginia, to work at Lexington Carriage Company because LCC wasn’t just my job, they are my home. They are my family. There’s no way I can truly describe how being apart of Lexington Carriage Company changed my life.
I found the sport of Combined Driving through my friend Jenni and her coach, Paul Maye. There I was able to embrace my competitive nature. I got to groom at the national and international level from Advanced Single Pony to an Advanced Horse Team with Paul. I learned how to break the horses to driving and how to improve my driving. It was here I first experienced horse four in hand driving and that’s when I knew I wanted to build my own team someday.
So now, here we are. My dad passed away in September last year and the only family I have left at “home in VA” is my sister, but here with my husband and daughter in Maryland I’ve built my horse team four in hand and I’m living my best life. I have my dream job training driving horses and running a carriage company tour business of my own. I even bought my first commercial carriage from Lexington Carriage Company. I couldn’t be more blessed in my life and I really do have a dream job.
I hope this gives you a little insight into my life, who I am, and how I came to be here :)