Gladstone, N.J.—Oct. 7
It’s been a long day for competitors in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final—East, and things only get tougher from here on out.
First riders endured a grueling 30-minute flat phase, where the judges asked for all the usual suspects, plus haunches in, a flying change in front of the judges, lengthening at the canter on the long side of the ring and collecting on the short side. Oh and about a third of the work was performed without stirrups as the sun beat down relentlessly.
Judges McLain Ward and Jimmy Torano took their job so seriously and kept riders working so long that show officials moved Phase 2 of the competition back half an hour.
That phase, the gymnastic portion, counted for more than the flat (there’s a multiplier of 1.5) and riders had their work cut out for them there, too. Though the jumps weren’t maxed out in height, riders had to demonstrate how their flatwork translated into the jumping ring, with demands to lengthen and shorten stride throughout the track. Riders had to ride one line in five strides the first time and six the second, and four in-and-outs of varying distances comprised of oxers, verticals or a mix of both posed another challenge.
But one rider shone all day long: Taylor St. Jacques. The Glen Allen, Va., rider scored an eyebrow raising mark of 94.0 in both phases aboard Charisma, putting her a full 7 points ahead of Jordyn Rose Freedman. Alexandra Pielet and McKayla Langmeier round out the top four.
Tomorrow everyone comes back in reverse order for the final two phases: a jumping round and then the final phase, in which riders all ride the same track four times aboard each others’ horses.
Check out photos from today, and stop back tomorrow to check out how things ended up.
USEF members can watch the live stream on usefnetwork.com, where you can also find results.