Taylor St. Jacques and Di Samorano (©ESI Photography)
Saugerties, N.Y. – The 2017 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast came to a close on Tuesday, August 1, following two days of competition in Saugerties, N.Y. at HITS-on-the-Hudson. More than 178 of the country’s top juniors headed to the Championship to complete three phases in front of the judging panel made up of Ralph Caristo, Todd Karn, and Keri Kampsen over the Rian Beals-designed Classic Round course and Handy Hunter course, both of which counted for 40% of the overall score. The final 20% was earned in Tuesday’s Under Saddle phase, which was judged by Karen Healey, Jimmy Torano, and Andrea Wells. Taylor St. Jacques and Di Samorano posted the best overall score of the 3’6” competition to earn the 2017 Overall Grand Champion title. In the 3’3” Championship, Isha Swani and Park Place earned the Overall Grand Champion honors.
The 2017 3’6” Overall Grand Championship was a highly contested title, with just hundredths of a point separating the Champion and Reserve. St. Jacques, from Glen Allen, Virginia, rode her own beloved Di Samorano, a nine-year-old dark bay gelding, to earn the title with an overall score of 253.350. The pair won both the Classic Round, with scores of 85, 87, and 87, and the Handy Round, with scores of 85, 83, and 80. In the Under Saddle, scores of 84.5, 84, and 84.25 placed the pair in fourth. En route to claiming their overall National Title, St. Jacques and Di Samorano took home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Christina Schlusemeyer for winning the 3’6” Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Championship.
“I think I was a little nervous going in, but once I got in the ring, I had a very, very strong first day. So after that I kind of just thought to myself, ‘Stay the same — it obviously is working,’” St. Jacques said.
The talented St. Jacques also earned the 3’6” Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Championship and USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy, donated by Pam and Wayne Baker, aboard Diana Firestone’s Calou, who topped the Small division with an overall score of 249.400.
Alexandra Pielet and Emma Farber’s Giovanni earned the Reserve Overall Grand Champion Title with a score of 253.300: 86, 86, and 86 in the Classic Round; 83.5, 84, and 83 in the Handy Round; and 85, 80, and 84.5 in the Under Saddle. The pair was also Champion in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under section, winning the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald E. Stewart, Jr. Pielet on Catrine Golia’s Royal Expectation also claimed the Championship for the Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, section, with their overall score of 245.200 and took home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy, donated by Geri and Whitney Roper.
“Alex went first yesterday in the Classic. I thought she had amazing rounds in the smalls and the larges, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got good competition now. I want to be Grand [Champion].’” St. Jacques said of competing alongside Pielet: “I did my small and I won that class, and then the large and I won that, as well. I thought it was great; she is one of my best friends. I thought it was a really proud moment for us to both win all of our classes yesterday. Today, the same sort of thing: we both did amazing and were champions of both of our sections. It was a really great feeling.”
Ramble On Farm’s Rockette, a stunning chestnut mare with a wide white blaze and shown by Kaitlyn Williams, was honored as the Best Overall Mare in the 3’6” sections. She received the War Dress Memorial Trophy, donated by Cleta S. Turbow and Pamela J. Rush, after receiving an overall score of 234.200.
Swani and Shadowfax Equestrian, LLC’s Park Place topped all three of the 3’3” Large Junior Hunter, 15-and-Under, classes on their way to Overall Grand Champion honors in the 3’3” section. The exceptionally graceful duo earned scores of 83.5, 83, and 84 in the Classic Round; 89, 87, and 87 in the Under Saddle; and 77, 76, and 77 in Handy Round to finish on an overall total of 244.800.
Hallie Grimes earned Reserve Overall Grand Champion in the 3’3” section with Can We Keep It, LLC’s Custom Made. The pair won all three sections of the 3’3” Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, with scores of 82, 81, and 83 in the Classic Round; 93, 86, 88 in the Under Saddle Round; and 78, 75, and 75 in the Handy Round to finish with an overall total of 243.000.
Taking home the 3’3” Large 16-17 title was Daybreak, owned and ridden by Leah Swope, with a score of 235.800. The Small 16-17 champion was Nino Nacho, owned by Redfield Farm and ridden by Abigail Russo, with a score of 238.900.
Visit usefnetwork.com for videos from the 2017 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast.
From HITS Horse Shows/US Equestrian