Saugerties, N.Y.—July 30-Aug. 1
Taylor St. Jacques left the USEF National Junior Hunter Championships—East with quite a load of trophies. Not only did she claim the overall 3’6″ junior hunter grand championship aboard her own Di Samorano, but she also topped a field of 90 entries to win the USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic—East riding Heritage Farm’s Charisma.
St. Jacques has been riding Di Samorano for just a year, and she’s shown the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding in the hunters, USHJA International Hunter Derbies, jumpers and equitation classes. They spent the majority of the summer in the equitation ring, but St. Jacques showed Di Samorano in the high performance hunter division at the 2016 National Horse Show (Ky.).
St. Jacques and Di Samorano topped the large junior, 16-17 section on the way to the grand championship. Alexandra Pielet claimed the large junior, 15 and under tricolor on Giovanni, boosting them to the overall grand reserve championship. In the small junior divisions, those two riders also dominated—St. Jacques earned another tricolor by riding Calou to the 16-17 section and Pielet rode Royal Expectation to the 15 and under section.
Isha Swani earned the overall grand 3’3″ junior hunter title on Park Place.
Watch St. Jacques and Di Samorano’s classic round from the USEF National Junior Hunter Championships—East:
And watch an interview with St. Jacques and her friend, Alex Pielet, who was the reserve grand overall champion on Giovalli:
With a total of 272 points (an average of 91), the 17-year-old talent from Glen Allen, Va., dominated all three rounds of the Hunterdon Cup. Earning a 90 in Round 1 and a 92 in Round 2, St. Jacques had a strong lead heading into the final round where she clinched the win with another impressive score of 90.
St. Jacques, trained by Andre Dignelli, and Charisma are a proven equitation team with wins across numerous high profile equitation classes. She earned top honors at Devon earlier this year with wins in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, WIHS Equitation Classic, Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunt Seat Medal, the R.W. “Ronnie Mutch” Equitation Championship and her group in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class.
According to St. Jacques, her trusted mount wanted this win too, “He had his ears forward, his head up as if to say, ‘I’m here and ready to win,’” she said.
Watch her round on Charisma:
The USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic is a unique class that combines the precision of equitation and the handiness of hunters and appropriately named after George Morris’s farm, Hunterdon. The class entails a classic style hunter course as round one, a handy hunter style track in round two for the top 20 scorers, and a work-off designed by the judges for the top four to 10 riders, who switch horses to complete the final test.
The 2017 judges for the East Coast class were Karen Healey and Jimmy Torano. They were impressed with each rider’s composure in the work-off and thought they handled each of the courses well, all of which were designed by Rian Beals of Saugerties.
“This was a great class, and the scores after Round 2 were close with the top three riders scoring 90, 89.5 and 89 respectively,” Torano said. The judges brought back six riders to swap horses and complete a straightforward course.
“In the final round, Taylor didn’t take it easy or take the safe way out. She rode as well on a new horse as she rode on her own,” said Healey.
St. Jacques rode fifth place finisher Grace Boston’s mount Startin’ Monday, owned by Donald Stewart, in the work-off. She prepared for the final round by keeping to herself to stay focused. She used the two-jump schooling opportunity to get as much of a feel for the horse as possible.
“I tried not to overthink it, and I didn’t watch too much of the class,” St. Jacques said.
Daisy Farish, 16, of Versailles, Ky., also trained by Andre Dignelli, earned the second highest work-off score of 86 aboard Charisma. Getting to the final round was significant because Cantaro M, the horse she rode in Rounds 1 and 2, was her mount for less than 24 hours. As of 4:00 p.m. Sunday, she didn’t have a horse to ride. Troy Hendricks of Glenmoore, Pa., offered up Cantaro M, and it proved to be a good match.
“I was going in a little blind. He was a simple, straightforward horse to ride and gave me his best,” she said.
Third place finisher, Brian Moggre, 15, of Flower Mound, Texas, trained by Michael McCormick, and fourth place finisher, Natalie Stoyko, 16 of The Woodlands, Texas, trained by Berry J. Porter, entered the work-off sitting sixth and third, respectively. Heading into the work-off, Moggre knew he was at the bottom of the score card and had an opportunity to move up.
“I thought I could only go up from sixth,” he said. “I tend to get really nervous, but think I overcame some of that today.”
The horse Efendi, owned by Donald Stewart and ridden by Natalie Stoyko, was voted Best Equitation Horse by the judges upon the conclusion of the class.