With victories in the Platinum Performance/U.S. Equestrian Federation Talent Search and last weekend’s Pessoa/USEF Medal in his pocket, T.J. O’Mara of Rumson is looking ahead to the Washington International’s equitation championship this weekend and the ASPCA Maclay finals at the National Horse Show in November.
His equitation horse, Kaskade, is enjoying some turnout R&R, and this weekend T.J. is coming back to New Jersey from the University of Kentucky, where he is a freshman, to practice with trainers Max Amaya and Stacia Madden.
T.J. is part of the first brother/sister combo to win the Medal (his older sister, Meg, took the title in 2012, but her best Talent Search finish was second place.)
If he can take the next two championships to cap off his equitation career with four in a row, T.J. will make history. He never in his wildest dreams thought he would be so successful at this point, though.
“As the year went on,” T.J. said, “I got some confidence. I knew I could have a chance at one of them (the championships), but I never imagined winning two.”
Being the favorite to take the two remaining titles is a lot of pressure, however.
T.J. concedes that, but notes as he head to Washington, “I’m going to treat it like another class and hope for the best. I would just be happy with getting a ribbon there again.” He finished 10th in Washington last year.
Looking ahead to the Maclay, he said those finals “will be emotional” as his last time competing Kaskade, who will be for sale as his equitation career ends.
“It would be nice if she could go home to New Jersey for a little bit,” said T.J., who would like to spend a little time with her after the Maclay before she heads to a new home.
When her career is over, he’s hoping she will return to him and perhaps become a broodmare. It likely will be a while before that happens. He started with her when she was seven, and now she’s only 10, which is young considering that many equitation horses continue competing until their late teens.
“I don’t know how long she’ll be showing for, but I for sure would like to be a part of her retirement and keep her in the family,” said T.J.