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Future stars shine in Burbank

From Horsetrader staff reports - October 21st, 2010 - Feature Article, Show & Event News
Taylor Adams

Flying Horse photo

Taylor Adams - Champions Twice

BURBANK — While the stars were out in the two FEI classes at the LA International, future stars were making their presence known in the Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search Finals West. This is the only national equitation championship held on the West Coast, and there was no shortage of talent in the 45-entry class.

Taylor Ann Adams made the trip from Florida to ride in the West Coast version of the Finals. “My trainer, Don Stewart, always goes to Capital Challenge, and that conflicted with the East Coast Finals, so we decided to come to California,” explained Taylor, who leased El Toro (Lindsay Anderson, owner) and had Karen Healey step in to coach the talented rider.

Basics and fundamentals were the traits judges Ralph Alfano and Ellen Raidt rewarded throughout the multi-phase competition.

Taylor sat 10th after the Flat Phase with a solid score of 76.50, and after a strong performance in the Gymnastics Phase she found herself in sixth going into the Show Jumping Phase. Her strong show jumping performance vaulted her to second and a position in the Final Four in her first time contesting the challenging Talent Search Finals. Jocelyn Neff (Karen Healey, trainer), Jennifer Parker (Benson Carroll, trainer), and Caroline Ingalls (Hap Hansen, trainer) all joined the final four where each rider competes on the each of the others’ horses over a shortened course.

Although the temperatures soared to unseasonably hot weather, the four girls kept their cool and rode proficient rounds on the different horses. Unlike previous years, no one horse stood out as an absolute favorite nor as the most difficult. Favorites were spread out, but in the end the judges deemed El Toro as the Best Horse with his rider Taylor Ann Adams as the overall champion.

“It was so exciting,” Taylor recounted. “It was a last minute thing—I decided to compete just three days before, so it was a little stressful with the last minute arrangements, travel, the time change and not knowing what horse I would ride. When I made the top four, it was already better than I expected to do, and all the riders were really good. However, I felt really comfortable changing horses because I’m a catch rider so I’m used to riding different horses. Karen Healey knew all of the horses in the top four, so she helped me a lot.”

Seventeen-year-old Taylor is a senior in high school, although she “home schools” so she can devote a large part of her day to riding. She looks forward to entering her last season as a junior rider next year.

“I hope to keep riding in college,” she said. “I’ll always have animals in my life.”

Karen Healey was awarded Best Trainer with two riders, Taylor and Jocelyn (Neff), in the Final Four. Karen is one of the top equitation coaches in the country and has coached numerous riders to wins in the Talent Search Finals.

“It was amazing,” Taylor said of working with Karen. “Karen is very patient and understanding. She explains every step to every student in the way that’s best for them. She’s such a great rider and trainer, and working with her was the chance of a lifetime!”

While Taylor Ann Adams was savoring her Talent Search win, the other Taylor Adams, from Texas, was gearing up for the Modified Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic. She is spending a large part of her junior year in school living in California to train with Steve and Jenni McAllister and is diligently taking various honors and advanced placement courses online.

Taylor and her talented 7-year-old, MTM Lester, were last to go in the jump-off. “Steve asked me if I wanted to ride for a clear round or if I wanted to take a chance and win. I told him I wanted to do both!,” said Taylor, who shaved shaved a 10th of a second off the leading time and led the victory gallop. With only four years of riding under her belt, the talented and focused teen has her eyes set on the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

“I showed in Kentucky this summer and we were there during NAJYRC, so I watched most of the show jumping,” explained Taylor. “I know I have to get a lot of experience and part of that is showing where it is really competitive. I have taken some clinics from Steve (McAllister) and when they offered me a chance to come to California, my parents were supportive. We made arrangements for my academics and to allow me to really grow as a rider.”

Stablemate Brittany Albrecq captured the Children’s Jumper Classic in her first time showing Majascule (Christina Caruso, owner), and Kris DiCarlo took over the riding duties of all the open horses while Jenni recovers from a riding accident sustained a few weeks ago.

“Kris did such a good job on both the hunters and the jumpers,” said Jenni. “I almost didn’t mind being on the ground and not in the irons.”

The USEF Zones 8,9,10 Regional Finals for both junior and adult riders attracted strong fields. The adult riders led off on Friday morning with Elsa Horrigan (Chris Iwasaki, trainer) taking the lead after the first round. However, the second round saw a big change in the leaderboard, yet consistency reigned. Kara Sheely (Penny Wahler, trainer) was second in both rounds and went into the work off in the lead, with Shannon Davidson (Jeni Brown, trainer) on her heels.

A polished work off test gave Kara the victory in one of the most prestigious adult equitation finals in the country. Chris Collman designed masterful courses that allowed the advanced riders to demonstrate their skills, and less experienced riders to choose options they were comfortable with.

“This course was good for me because it had a variety of different roll-backs and stride options, which is always good on my horse because he’s extremely adjustable and turns very well,” said Kara, who is studying business at San Diego State University and is in her first year as an amateur competitor. She plans to do the WCE Medal Final in November, and then concentrate on jumpers while juggling the demands of school with riding.

While Kara enjoys her first year competing as an adult, 17-year-old Cayla Richards (Archie Cox, trainer) is nearing the end of her junior career. An unfortunate error in the flat phase of the Talent Search knocked her out of contention, so she turned her focus to the Junior USEF Regional Final. The senior at Chaminade College Preparatory was in third place coming out of the first round.

“It felt really great to win this class, especially before I go indoors. I was only behind by two points after the first round, so I knew if I had a strong second round that I would have a chance to move up.”

Move up she did, winning the second round and the top spot in the class. “The courses were great. They used some hay bales and fences without standards. The courses were nice and flowed well, and allowed me to open up my horse’s stride and have a fluid round. It was also good that the class took place over two days and we were able to show our consistency throughout the weekend.”

More results: see website http://bit.ly/1010B_LAI

One comment has been made on “Future stars shine in Burbank”

  1. Sandy Harrellson Edlund Says:

    Could anyone please help me located Darla Bryant? I am an old friend of hers and I was told she is involved with horses. I would be so grateful, thank you.

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