Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 2
As Upsilon De La Liniere peaked over second to last fence in the jump-off for the $25,000 Hollow Brook Wealth Management Show Jumping Hall Of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix, Taylor St. Jacques planted her right hand in the gelding’s neck and didn’t let go until he’d whipped around the tight space in front of the first fence.
And as she began the long gallop to the final fence, her heels came off his side like a little kid encouraging a stubborn pony. When he crossed the timers .8 second faster than Tanner Koroktin and Armagedon, she showered him with praise.
St. Jacques could hardly believe it when her time held up for two more rounds, and she was crowned the winner. With a clean sweep of the three classes this week, they were named champions in the junior/amateur-owner jumpers at the National Horse Show.
“Typically I don’t go very fast with this horse,” she said. “The first day, Thursday, was amazing that I went the fastest; yesterday was even more amazing that I was the fastest time, and today I just thought, turn as fast as I possibly can.
“[My trainer Molly Ashe Cawley] and I were talking before the jump-off, and she told me to be like her at Harrisburg, throw style out the window and turn and kick and just kick all the way down to that last jump,” she continued. “I honestly, after watching Tanner, the tail end of his [round], I thought there was no shot I was beating him, but I turned, I pony-kicked the whole way down, and to my surprise, and probably a lot of people that know me and that horse, I can’t believe I beat Tanner.”
St. Jacques purchased the 11-year-old Selle Français gelding (Tinka’s Boy—Firenze VH Waterschoot, Querlybet Hero) a year ago. French rider Pierre Cimolai campaigned him before McLain Ward imported him in 2018 and showed him at the national level while Annabel Revers did him in some junior jumper classes.
St. Jacques got the gelding to use as a stepping stone into some of the bigger international shows, and they’ve had some mixed results as they’ve gotten a feel for one another.
“This summer I started riding with Molly Ashe, and we kind of made him a priority to figure out our partnership, figure him out and really make us a successful partnership,” she said. “It started out a little rocky of course, but as the summer went on, each show, each week, each day got better and better and better, and the last show we did this summer we jumped clear in a three-star grand prix, and that was a huge accomplishment for myself especially.”
“Louie” had a bit of a break as St. Jacques went back to Auburn University (Alabama) where she rides for the NCAA team and studies business. They ramped back up as the National approached. She jumped once in Florida just to get another class under their belt before heading to Kentucky.
“He went incredible,” she said. “Every time he comes out we figure each other out and it becomes better and better. I’m really excited for the future with him.”
Don’t miss all the Chronicle’s online coverage, with behind-the-scenes stories, lovely photos and more! Follow the Chronicle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Chronofhorse and check out the Nov. 18 issue of the magazine full analysis of the competition.