He’s been trying since 2012, and today T.J. O’Mara finally won the Platinum Performace/U.S. Equestrian Federation Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East.
Riding his reliable Kaskade, the mare with a heart of gold, the University of Kentucky freshman moved up from third after three phases to finish on a score of 355, ahead of Sophie Simpson (daughter of U.S. Equestrian Team veterans Will Simpson and Nicki Simpson), Vivian Yowan (347) and Daisy Farish (246). Daisy, who was at the head of the rankings after all three initial phases over two days, had a refusal with her own horse in the first round of the final four, and then the low score in every round thereafter.
Each of the top four competed over a shortened course on their own horses, then rode each of the others’ mounts over the same route.Simpson won the first three rounds of the final four competition until she got on Daisy’s Ganjana, then cross-cantered at the end of the ring and met the in-and-out in less-than-optimal fashion.
T.J., trained by Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill and Max Amaya of Stonehenge, said winning the Talent Search “has been one of my dreams for my junior career. I’m so proud of my horse.”
Vivian’s mount, McLain Ward’s Clearline, won the Grappa Trophy as Best Horse. The 2015 ASPCA Maclay winner, Mckayla Langmeier, finished fifth.