3 year old equestrian returns to Winter Classic

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Whoever said age is nothing but a number must have had Jillian Gillis in mind. She's a three and a half-year-old equestrian. But, this year, the little rider has a side-kick, her one and a half year old brother Jessie.

"I never could have imagined they would just would love it so much," says their mother Jennifer Gillis.

These two don't let size stop them from riding toward some pretty big goals.

"I'm gonna jump fences," says Jillian.

After two years of riding, like any seasoned equestrian, little Jillian likes to impart helpful hints, especially to her little brother.

"I tell him to hold on," says Jillian.

"I think it's in their blood because I like it so much. I just make sure they're enjoying it when they're out there," says Gillis.

But, ask any rider and they'll tell you it's not always smooth riding.

"I 'felled' (fell) off," says Jillian

During the classic, Mom and Dad had to give Jillian a little love and re-assurance after she took a tumble off her horse.

"I was so scared. For me the world just stopped for minute," says Gillis.

But, after taking a moment to collect herself, Jillian got back on to ride. She had this critique of what led to the incident with her horse Justice.

"Justice was a little spooked," says Jillian.

For their ride around the ring, the two received ribbons. Likely the first of many to come for this pint-size brother/sister duo.

As they ride, either mom, a world championship rider, or dad, Todd Gillis, hold the reins. The horse little Jessie was riding, Mellow, was actually his mom's first horse.  She won numerous competitions with her.

Jillian also rode Mellow during her first appearance last year. Mellow is about 40 years old, that's a little more than 80 in human years.

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