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St Jacques Shines in USEF Pony Medal Final

By on August 11, 2014

Taylor St Jacques.

Lexington, KY – August 10, 2014 – From 7 a.m. until well into the afternoon, talented young pony rider after talented young pony rider trotted into the Alltech Arena to vie for the win in the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Final, but there was one talented rider in particular that stood out from among the 169 entries: Taylor St Jacques.

St Jacques and her mount, Happy Feet, met the opening vertical of the first round course perfectly, setting the tempo for nine more seamless fences, a well-executed simple change of lead down an outside line and a firm halt at the end of her course.

That first round course shot St Jacques to the top of the standby list for further testing, and she would remain untouched in that first place position through to the end of three total rounds, clinching the 2014 USEF Pony Medal Final victory.

“I’m really excited,” said a smiling St Jacques following her win. “This is my second year at Medal Finals, and I wasn’t expecting it to go as well as it did today.”

From the initial course, judges Karen Healey and Stacia Madden called back the top 20 riders for round two: another 10 fence, Richard Jeffery’s designed course. From there, they whittled it down further, calling back the top four for additional testing on the flat.

St Jacques, Camyrn Halley, Ericka Koscinski and Alexandra Pielet demonstrated the walk, trot, canter and sitting trot in the counter-clockwise direction before reversing and performing the same gaits sans stirrups.

The final testing confirmed what the judges had thought all the way through from the first round: that the victory was St Jacques’. Finishing behind St Jacques in the second place position was Pielet, while the third place honor went to Koscinski.

“Going into the second part of the first test I was just focused on staying smooth again, trying to keep my heels down and looking up,” 15-year-old St. Jacques said. “There are usually a few minutes when I get really nervous… but then after I realize that it’s just another trip at another horse show, I’m fine. I try to not let it get to me and just think ‘I’m just going in again for another trip just to be judged again.’ When I start overthinking I really start over thinking, and it goes badly.”

St Jacques trains with Bill Schaub and Molly Sewell at Over the Hill Farm, and she credits much of her win today to their training and to the generosity of Lily Ezrow. Ezrow is currently leasing St Jacques’ winning mount, Happy Feet, and she has allowed St Jacques to show the pony for the past several months.

“I really want to thank Lily and her mom Isabelle,” St Jacques said. “I’m really fortunate to rides these ponies, and I’ve had a great time on them. I’m really happy that they’re happy for me and that they’re letting me do this.”

“They’ve been very generous,” Schaub added. “I’m very proud of Taylor. She’s worked very hard and learned a lot. We just really emphasize keeping the basics strong and working on exercises, and then it all makes everything fit together. Pony Finals isn’t really something you can practice for. You’ve got to learn all of your skills so when you’re thrown out there you can do whatever test they ask of you.”

St Jacques has handled any and all tests thrown her way this week at the USEF Pony Finals with ease. In addition to her win today, St Jacques was reserve champion in the Large Green Pony Hunters with Empire’s Victory, champion in the Medium Pony Hunters with Finders-Keepers and the recipient of the 2014 Mindy Darst Perpetual Trophy. The trophy was presented to St Jacques as the rider the judges deemed the most likely to become a top professional rider.

Perhaps making her final USEF Pony Finals win today a little bit extra special for St Jacques was being able to finish on top alongside some of her closest friends.

“My top three closest friends were us three that got the top three [St Jacques, Pielet and Koscinski],” Pielet said.

Pielet made one of the biggest moves up the rankings throughout the three rounds, climbing from ninth after the first round to the eventual second place spot.

“I was really nervous because [Secret Love] kept wanting to go faster as he got closer to home. I was like ‘no, no,’ and I was really nervous,” Pielet said of her first round course. “Then it was a lot quieter and smoother the second one. I was just so concerned about making (the second round]. Then I just relaxed… and it was fun.”

The USEF Pony Finals fun comes to an end today, but competition continues this week at the Kentucky Horse Park with the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show beginning on Tues., Aug. 12.

To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, please visit www.ponyfinals.org, and to find out more about all of the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Kentucky Summer Series Fast Facts

Events:
Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, USEF National Pony Finals, Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and KHJA Horse Show, and the 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.

What:
The Kentucky Horse Show LLC’s 2014 series includes five weeks of top competition throughout the summer. These premier hunter/jumper competitions host the Hagyard Challenge Series with seven grand prix competitions that culminate with a Leading Rider Award, as well as the Hallway Feeds National Derby Series.

Where:
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Home to the United States Equestrian Federation.

When:

NORTH AMERICAN JUNIOR & YOUNG RIDER CHAMPIONSHIPS – July 15-20, 2014
KENTUCKY SUMMER HORSE SHOW – July 23-27, 2014
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

KENTUCKY SUMMER CLASSIC – July 29 – August 3, 2014
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix sponsored by GGT Footings
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

2014 USEF PONY FINALS – August 5-10, 2014
BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL HORSE SHOW – August 12-17, 2014
USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals
USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
WCHR Member Event

KHJA HORSE SHOW – August 20-24, 2014
$10,000 Hagyard Welcome Stake
$30,000 KHJA Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

Sponsors:
A special thanks to the generous sponsors of the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows: Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Hallway Feeds, Audi of Lexington, GGT Footing, Equestrian Services International, Johnson Horse Transportation, Farm Vet, Dietrich Insurance, Take2 Thoroughbred Program, Sleepy P Ranch, and the Official Hotel The Clarion

Hours:
8am – 5pm daily

Parking:
Horse Show Exhibitors may purchase a weekly parking pass at the main Horse Park entrance for $15.00. Dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash.

Directions:
The Kentucky Horse Park is located 8 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

Information:
Before Show – (859) 233-0492, Email: hakshows@earthlink.net
During Show – Telephone: (859) 254-3343, Fax: (859) 231-6097
Stabling – Email Tom Blankenship at tomblank@bellsouth.net
Stable office – Before Show: (843) 269-4737, During Show: (859) 255-0605
Prize List Advertising – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Vendors – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709

Shownet – www.shownet.biz

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Ring Dimensions/Specs:

The Stonelea Ring, Murphy Ring, Walnut Ring, Stonelea/Murphy Schooling Ring, the Alltech Arena and the Rolex Stadium have Otto Sport footing consisting of fine sand and synthetic fiber on pvc mats. The Claiborne, Annex, and Covered Arena (old) rings’ footing consists of a sand cushion on limestone base. The dimensions of the competition areas are as follows:

Stonelea: 140′x 280′, Murphy: 135′x 280′, Stonelea and Murphy Schooling: 110′x 400′
Walnut: 300′x 370′, Claiborne: 140′x 270′, Annex 130′x 250′, Covered Arena (old): 145′x 285′ Rolex Stadium: 360′ x 384′, Alltech Arena: 132′ x 265′

Shopping:
Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located adjacent to the Stonelea Ring.

Hotels:

CLARION HOTEL (Formerly Holiday Inn North) – 859-233-0512 – Approximately 4 miles (OFFICIAL HOTEL)
Discover the place where elegant comfort in an ideal location meets excellent service and affordability. At the Clarion Hotel Lexington, you’ll find well-appointed accommodations with options of double/doubles, double queens, king rooms or suites, exceptional amenities such as our free hot breakfast buffet, and Southern hospitality at its finest. The best hotel for Keeneland – located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region – home of the Kentucky Horse Park, the Lexington Convention Center, University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – our Lexington hotel is on Newtown Pike at Exit 115 on I-75, close to all the big attractions, and is the perfect place to stay whether you’re here to get down to business or have some fun. Best of all, bring your furry friends for any trip because the Clarion Hotel in Lexington is also pet-friendly.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS:
Reservations may not be made through the Horse Show office. To reserve a campsite at the Kentucky Horse Park for any of the horse shows, please call the Campground store at (800) 370-6416 or 859-259-4157 or email Sherry Logan at sherryd.logan@ky.gov. Be specific as to the show name and the dates you wish to stay. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. and check-out is 12:00 noon. You must make arrangements with the Campground store if you plan to arrive earlier than 2:00 p.m. or stay later than 12:00 noon. Vehicles that are not removed from a campsite by check-out time will be towed.

Management:
Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC
P. O. Box 11428
Lexington, KY 40575-1428
859-233-0492 (phone)
859-233-0495 (fax)
email: hakshows@earthlink.net
website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12230 Forest Hill Blvd.
Suite 214
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
www.phelpsmediagroup.com

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