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HITS hunter competition is Taylor-made for Jamie

Special to the Horsetrader - March 7th, 2013 - Show & Event News

Flying Horse photo

Jamie Taylor was queen of the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, Feb. 23, winning both first and second. Here she takes Grand Noir to the top.

THERMAL — It was twice the talent and double helpings of prize money at the top of this weekend’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix class results as Jamie Taylor of Tarzana rode to first place on Grand Noir, owned by Inspiration Farms, and second on Natasha Ledon’s Conteros. Taylor Ann Adams of Calabasas notched third and fourth on Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Affair and Small Kiss, respectively.

The 28-year-old Taylor, assistant trainer at Huntover, points out that both Grand Noir and Conteros are former jumpers introduced to the hunter ring within the past few months.

“Grand Noir was started in the hunters late last year and this was his second horse show,” Taylor said. As a pair, they were remarkably consistent, scoring 86 in round one and 87 in round two, tallying 173. Conteros, a stallion Huntover acquired from El Campeon Farms and sold to the Las Vegas-based Ledon about two months ago, scored an 84 and an 85, for a total of 169.

“His previous career was as a grand prix horse for Eva Gonda,” said Huntover’s Mark Bone. “His new owner is competing him in the 2’6” to 2’9” hunters. She’s still a bit of a green rider, but he is probably about the most docile stallion you could imagine. He’s very laid back.” When asked if Huntover is making a specialty of converting show jumpers to the hunter ring, Bone laughed and said, “We are this week!”

Desert Circuit IV saw both Taylor and the 19-year-old Adams, a recent transplant from Florida where she was a regular presence at HITS Ocala, collect multiple division championships. Taylor was the rider of two of this week’s champions: Queen Latifah in the Second Year Green Hunters, and Marion Lowry’s Dolce in the Performance Hunter 3’3” – a division in which she also achieved Reserve Champion with Conteros.

In the Pre-Green Hunter 3’ Adams rode to the Championship on John French’s Crockett, as well as earning Champion in the Performance Hunters 3’6” with Small Affair. She also rode Small Affair to Reserve Champion in the Second Year Green/High Performance Working Hunter division.

“It was a good week,” said Adams, who in January began working for Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly’s hunter-jumper barn in Agoura, Makoto Farms, and who spends a lot of time coaching their eight-year-old daughter, Augusta, in the pony classes. In the Devoucoux Hunter Prix, she and Small Affair received an 81 in the first round, and an 86 in round two, for a total of 167 and third place. On Small Kiss, it was an 83 and an 82 that propelled them to a total of 165 and fourth place.

“It’s really easy to do well when you have incredible horses and when you have Liz, Chris and John French sitting next to you. To compete on horses that John usually rides was a huge honor,” said Adams, who grew up in Tennessee, riding horses as far back as she can remember, and moved to Florida to ride with Don Stewart as a junior.

“Our horses are incredible,” Adams said. “They want to win more than we do! They get braided and they’re like, ‘Let’s go! We’re winning today.’ They’re my team mates,” said Adams.

Fifth place went to Bridgeport Farm’s John Bragg, riding Lucy Anderson’s Riesling. Although he scored a formidable 85 in round one, a switched lead in round two saw him bounced down to 79, for a total of 164.

The riders in the $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix rode the same course with the jumps set at 3’. “I was kind of nervous,” said Chloe Green, of how she felt before her winning ride. “I hadn’t done the bank before, but we went in and it was a good experience.”

The 14-year-old of Bend, Ore., scored the blue ribbon with Carlos, a horse she has leased for the past year from Leslie Kogos of Larkspur Farm in Connecticut. They scored 79 in round one and an 81 in round to, for a combined 160. Green trains with Catherine Cruger of Some Day Farm in Bend.

“It’s a big win for her,” said Cruger. “She’s been very successful in hunters and equitation on Carlos and a horse she had last year called W.G. Hopskotch. She’s just a great kid, who works really hard, rides five days a week and will ride any horse. She’s very dedicated, and she has a great attitude. If she makes a mistake, no big deal, she fixes it. She has the ability to maintain her composure so well, so even when she’s really nervous she doesn’t show it.”

Friday was one of the days she hid her nerves well. Her braider arrived late, dashing her plans to hack the Outside Course prior to the big class. In addition to that, a scratch resulted in her being first to go.

“She got on and went in and he marched around like a perfect gentleman,” Cruger said. According to Cruger, Green said she enjoyed the Outside Course enough to come back and try it again. “I think we’ll do the prix next weekend and some more 3’ classes,” she added.

Ashley Cedillos came in second, riding Allison Taylor Reynolds’ Gettysburg to a score of 159. Third went to Madison Crader, riding her own European Blend to a final score of 158.5.

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