St. Jacques Conquers Another Equitation Final At The Washington International

Oct 28, 2017 - 9:35 PM

 Washington, D.C.—Oct. 28

Emotions run rampant when it comes to announcement of the final three of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Washington International Horse Show Equitation Final. While the first two rounds have an open numerical score, the scores from the final work-off remain a mystery.

So when Oliver Kennedy announced that McKayla Langmeier took second, Taylor St. Jacques and the team at Heritage Farm experienced the full run of emotions. Andre Dignelli pumped his fist in the air triumphantly; Di Samorano was smothered with pats and kisses, and St. Jacques found herself crying.

It’s honestly a feeling that I can’t describe to win on my own horse,” said St. Jacques. “I’ve never cried before, and I honestly cried.”

The team from Heritage Farm (from left) Dottie Barnwell-Areson, Patricia Griffith and Andre Dignelli were thrilled when Taylor St. Jacques (mounted) won. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

St. Jacques is fresh off of a win in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final (Pa.)  two weeks ago aboard Heritage Farm’s Charisma, but since that horse had a hard couple of weeks at other equitation finals, she decided to bring her own Di Samorano to Washington, feeling that it would suit the gelding best.

St. Jacques purchased the gelding as a perspective equitation mount last year, and he’s stepped up to the plate this season. While Charisma came out to compete in the big shows, “Samo” was the horse St. Jacques rode to qualify for all of the finals.

“When we got him, he had just come over – funny first time I ever saw him, I said ‘Oh, he’s not a very cute horse,’ ” St. Jacques said. “He wasn’t really the favorite at the barn. He went in and did his job, but nobody really thought that he would turn out to be a big, fancy horse—”

“Except for me!” interjected Dignelli.

Taylor St. Jacques won the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Washington International Horse Show Equitation Final. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

While in the Medal, St. Jacques, 18, led from start to finish, a victory here wasn’t a forgone conclusion. She was seventh after the hunter phase when “Samo” was feeling a little fresh, and in the jumper phase she took ninth to sit sixth going into the final work off.

“I thought the first round, my horse went in, and he opened his eyes a little bit, which is understandable, this is his first final,” said St. Jacques. “But he really held himself together. I know it wasn’t my absolute best round, but I thought I put in a good round, came back in a good spot. I thought my round today was really, really nice.

“In the second round, my horse performed incredibly,” she continued. “He did his job. He jumped amazing. He did everything that I asked. For the final round, I just wanted to give it my all and go for it. It worked out, and I’m over the moon.”

Taylor St. Jacques rode Annabel Revers’ mount Contigo in the work off to take home the win. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

St. Jacques, Glen Allen, Va., traded onto Annabel Revers’ Contigo, and that’s where she really shined—earning a 94 and 92 from the judges—Jimmy Clapperton, Scott Williamson, Chris Wynne and the 2004 winner Brianne Goutal.

“These kids rode amazing,” said Wynne. “Any of the three of them could have been the winner, and I’m sure watching it, you could have made reasons why they should have been in front of the other one. We just had to come up with decisions and go with our gut and our score. All three of them  were unbelievable and such good horseman and such good riders.”

Washington marks the end of McKayla Langmeier’s equitation season, as she already took the win in the ASPCA Maclay, so she was thrilled to have a strong final performance.

I wasn’t in the top positions, but the scores were so close together,” said the 17-year-old from East Granby, Conn. I almost had to think on the swap that I rode to just simply. The horse was so lovely and simple that I had to almost calm myself down to go through the motions a little bit slower. It’s incredible—just to be in the top three is incredible.”

McKayla Langmeier rode Skyfall to second. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

It might be Sam Walker’s first season contesting the equitation finals, but the 15-year-old from Ontario, Canada, has made a name for himself. He was third in the Medal in Pennsylvania, and he repeated that finish again this week after sitting second after the first two phases.

Speaking more about the equitation, my horse came out day one, and he was fantastic,” said Walker. “He was second in the hunter phase. He came out day two in the jumper phase; he was also fantastic. We were a little low; we were tenth but still in the running.

“I went back into the top ten second so I had the privilege of watching, going last and really going back with a real game plan and focus to see if I could maybe move myself up that extra spot,” said Walker. “I got a very, very nice horse in the test. He was great. I think that any one of us good have come out on top.”

Sam Walker and Waldo placed third. Photo by Kimberly Loushin.

Ava Sterns, who lead after the first two rounds, had a minor mistake in the first line of the work-off that was just enough to drop her to sixth.

IMPORTANT LINKS:  All the COTH Washington International  coverage  |  What You Need To Know  |  live results/order of go  |  live streaming  |  show website

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