Jamie Taylor Bests $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby with Balko D’Elle

Jamie Taylor Bests $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby with Balko D’Elle

Jamie Taylor was lucky enough to get the ride on a student’s horse for Desert Circuit 1 and she made the week count, riding to the win in Friday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, sponsored by Vogel. Aboard Balko D’Elle, owned by Carolyn Becker and leased by Taylor’s student Allyn Marie Creel, she rode to two high scores, moving up on the leaderboard and taking victory.

After round one, Taylor’s score of 89 put her in third, and Dustin Goodwin had the pole position with Repuration, owned by Kalli Heffner Gay. The two were separated by Sarah Moberg and Caramba, owned by Alice Li. But after the handy round, the results were shaken up. Though they all stayed in the top three, Taylor propelled to the top with a handy round score of 94. Goodwin claimed second, while Moberg was third.

“In the handy, I was the only one to do a bit of an awkward jump to the trot jump, and I did it with both horses,” Taylor explained of what her strategy was to set herself apart. “But with [Balko], he nails it every time, so I was able to take a risk there and it seemed to pay off. He’s a blast and a half to ride and I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity this week.”

Taylor isn’t the usual rider for Balko, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly. “Balko D’Elle is a horse I have with a client,” Taylor, of Las Vegas, NV, explained. “A good friend of mine owns him and my client leases him. He does primarily the equitation but he has been very successful in the past in the derbies so we let him have fun sometimes. This week Allyn Marie tweaked her knee and let me borrow Balko, and we had a great time winning today.”

The horse has plenty of qualities that make him the ultimate hunter, and Taylor recognizes he’s one of the most special horses at the show.

“Balko is really fun to ride. He’s intuitive and he sort of reads your mind,” she shared. “He’s best with his kid, he reads her the most, but he tolerates me just fine. He’s super scopey and a beautiful type. His rhythm never changes, his jump is always the same, and you can’t help but love watching him.”

Later Friday, it was time for the juniors and amateurs to have their turn in the derby ring, and it was Lauren Kolbe who took top call in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, sponsored by Brown Advisory, aboard Jetstream, owned by Karina Winkler. Despite their seamless bond in the ring, their partnership is still brand new, and Kolbe was navigating new territory bringing Jetstream into the ring.

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Jamie Taylor Bests $5,000 USHJA Hunter Derby with Balko D’Elle | Desert International Horse Park (deserthorsepark.com)