Temecula, Calif. – April 30, 2021 – After warming up their mounts in Thursday’s $10,000 1.40m Speed Classic, jumper riders returned with their engines revved up for Friday’s $5,000 Spruce Meadows 1.35m NEEd for Speed Qualifier. Utilizing the USEF Table III format, riders’ penalties were converted to time faults as they sped around the lengthy 15-effort course in hopes of qualifying for the $22,500 Spruce Meadows 1.35m NEEd for Speed Final held during the Temecula Valley National III, presented by Interactive Mortgage. With the ability to win even with a rail, riders progressively got bolder, faster, and braver as the class neared conclusion. Though 16 horse-and-rider combinations all vied for the fastest time, it was Jamie Taylor and I’m Special who found an extra gear tearing around the course in record time to secure the first place finish.
Taylor, who won last week’s installment of the NEEd for Speed series aboard Cocoliche Of Greenhill Z entered the ring looking to make it two for two, this time with a young mount I’m Special. Only the second horse out of the gates, Taylor pioneered the first of only a few clear tracks of the evening, setting a blistering pace at 83.60 seconds without a single penalty rail. Without the luxury of watching and restrategizing, Taylor left nothing on the table taking as many risks as her mount would allow. Luckily, the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Cheryl Mitts, charged confidently toward the fences and galloped through the turns. Their round proved to be the target time for the rest of the pack to attempt to overcome.
After numerous failed attempts to outdo Taylor and her long-time mount, Kaitlyn Campbell appeared up for the task. She needed not just pace, but luck to beat Taylor’s near uncatchable lead. No stranger to speed, Campbell blazed around the ring making tighter turns and attempting to shave time off of every fence with La Osita Farms’ 11-year-old Dutch Sporthorse gelding, Lucky Luke. Though the pair turned in a clean round that was in contention with Taylor’s ride, the pair’s luck ran out and they settled for second with a time of 89.70 seconds.
As the pack drew thinner and thinner, Taylor still managed to cling to the lead with Campbell sitting comfortably in the second place position. With nothing to lose, Michelle Parker was locked and loaded with Dana B Nemeth’s 8-year-old Holsteiner stallion. It would prove to be a stallion showdown as Parker geared up for her round gaining speed as she approached the first fence. She and the speedy grey were efficient around the track and left all of the rails intact. Though their ride was quick, it was not enough to unseat the leader, and the pair fell just short of second place as they tripped the timers at 90.81 seconds earning them the third place honors.
International show jumping competition at the Temecula Valley Premier Series, presented by Interactive Mortgage comes to a dramatic conclusion with the $40,000 Grand Prix sponsored by Interactive Mortgage, Saturday, May 1. The two-week series concludes Sunday, May 2, with the JR/AO/AM Classics as well as the amateur-owner hunter divisions.
$5,000 Spruce Meadows 1.35m NEEd for Speed Qualifier
Horse / Rider / Owner / Faults | Time
1. I’m Special / Jamie Taylor / Cheryl Mitts / 0 | 83.603
2. Lucky Luke / Kaitlin Campbell / La Osita Farms / 0 | 89.702
3. Lutalo / Michelle Parker / Dana B Nemeth / 0 | 90.811
4. Ecco / Allison Kroff / Dana Narayanappa / 4 | 88.026
5. Zero G / Janet Hischer / Janet Hischer / 0 | 94.144
6. Colin / Carly Richardson / Carly Richardson / 4 | 90.635
7. Quiwiti / Jenny Vaughan / Jenny Vaughan / 8 | 90.021
8. Hha Padden / Kristen Holwick / Kristen Holwick / 8 | 90.879
9. Isaac / Ashley Stannard / Ashbrook Farm L.L.C. / 4 | 98.096
10. Culumbus / Simon Schroeder / Rebecca Lewis / 0 | 103.511
11. Comanchero M / Rachel M. Torok / Rachel M. Torok / 12 | 93.541
12. Midnight Hour / Stephanie Gershon / Lisa Piasecki / 12 | 94.099
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Jamie Taylor – $5,000 Spruce Meadows 1.35m NEEd for Speed Qualifier winner
On her performance:
“I’m Special did this class for the first time last week and he was really good. He’s a young stallion and is easily distracted; he had one rail down last week which made him just slow enough to be out of the ribbons. This week, he was not going to make that mistake again. He was absolutely on his game with a good gallop and it worked tonight.”
On I’m Special:
“My good friend in Las Vegas, Denise Finch, found him for a client. She saw him in a video free jumping in England. I think he had jumped undersaddle once or twice when they bought him, and they thought he looked like an incredible athlete and that they could develop him into a derby horse. He started in the hunter ring as a 4-year-old and about midway through his 5-year-old year he made the transition to the jumper ring, and he’s never looked back. He missed a lot of his 7-year-old year due to COVID-19, which is unfortunate but it didn’t slow him down. He’s amazing. With him, my goal is to keep progressing. I’m so grateful to his owner for allowing me this journey and I would love to go as far as he can take us.”
On their partnership:
“It’s been a really long partnership together. I rarely have a horse for a long period of time but I’ve been riding I’m Special since he was four years old and he’s eight years old this year. He’s a horse of a lifetime and unbelievably special. He keeps developing every year and getting better each class!”
On showing at Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“It’s an incredible horse show and the environment is like nowhere else. It’s such a mature property with a lot of character which is nice. For this class specifically, a faults-converted speed class, having footing that holds you up galloping and turning is great. You don’t find that everywhere out here and it makes all the difference in a class like this. You don’t have to play it safe. You can take risks because you know the footing is never going to let you down. I for sure tested every part of that ring and it’s solid!”