In Jumper Nation’s first post-win interview, Taylor St. Jacques of Glen Allen, Virginia made it clear that she came to Devon full of warmth for the venue and fire for the win – four wins to be exact. In two days, Taylor and Heritage Farm’s Charisma claimed the top WIHS score out of both phases, the Pessoa Medal, her Maclay group yesterday, and finally the Ronnie Mutch Equitation Championship. While it’s an incredible feat, anything less would not have met Taylor’s expectations.
“It feels incredible. He’s an incredibly special horse,” Taylor said in the press conference following the championship. “I really wanted to make it a special Devon; he’s an incredible horse, and he’s a winner, and so my goal was to win as much as I could here.”
Taylor and all the riders in the final – six elegant young equestrians to be exact – executed nearly without fault a technical course which required both horse and rider to be steady early on, stretch themselves for some forward bending lines in the middle of the course, and finally pull it all back together for the final series of fences. It was Taylor’s event to lose going in, and even with the challenge of going first, she executed smooth lines and perfect striding and distances throughout, ensuring no one would be able to catch her.
“It’s a lot more technical here, you can’t just coast around and if you get lucky, you get lucky…you really have to know how to ride the courses here to be successful,” Taylor said. “That’s how it should be, it’s a top show, you should have harder courses to make the best stand out.”
Also throwing down a nearly flawless round was Reserve Champion and 2015 Maclay Final winner McKayla Langmeier aboard her mother Linda’s Calberon B. McKayla worked hard to get her striding without making it look hard, and no doubt gave the judges plenty to think about with her trip in the final.
“I’ve been coming to Devon for awhile, this is a newer mount for me in the equitation, and this was his first time in the ring here, so I thought he was really amazing,” McKayla said after her ride. “I couldn’t have asked him to be any better, he went in there and performed perfect.”
It’s an impressive accomplishment for a horse who as recently as the end of last year was getting passed around to a lot of riders for several years as a low jumpers mount for both juniors and adult ammies. He had virtually no equitation experience before coming to the Langmeiers (McKayla trains with her parents, Kenny and Linda), and in half a season has become one of the most formidable eq horses in the business.
Annabel Revers and Quax took home the yellow ribbon in the championship, qualifying in the last possible class by winning the C section of the ASPCA Maclay. Annabel and the 16-hand Oldenburg gelding had to stretch to match the strides of the larger horses in spots, but made the steady work look absolutely flawless. The pair have been together for two and a half years and know how to make each other soar.
Hayley Redifer of Barboursville, Virginia and Ballon took fourth in today’s final with a workmanlike performance that got the job done, as did Samantha Cohen of New York, NY, who secured fifth place aboard Kaskade after finding a couple of barely long distances in a field where inches made all the difference.
The only mishap of the afternoon was Cooper Dean’s trip with Kori D’Oro, who it appears just failed to lock on to one of the moss-covered oxers on course and the two had a drive-by, ending their shot at the title. It’s a younger horse at only eight in a sea of veterans who still made a huge impression over the weekend, and we imagine we’ll see back in the eq winner’s circle again this year.
While the equitation classes at Devon are complete, there is still much more junior action to come at Devon in the junior hunter and jumper divisions. Keep it locked on JN for more from the Blue Oval!
*Many thanks to field reporter Kristen Kovatch for her contributions to this story!
- Taylor St. Jacques and Charisma, owned by Heritage Farms
- McKayla Langmeier and Calderon B, owned by Linda Langmeier
- Annabel Revers and Quax, owned by Beechwood Stables LLC
- Haley Redifer and Ballon, owned by Haley Redifer
- Samantha Cohen and Kaskade, owned by Samantha Cohen
- Cooper Dean and Kori D’Oro, owned by Heritage Farms
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