GLADSTONE, N.J. — Four solid rounds on four different horses put 17-year-old Daisy Farish on top of the 2018 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East, held Oct. 6-7, 2018, in Gladstone, N.J.
“This is one final I’ve been close to winning before, but I had yet to put it all together,” Farish said. “That was very special to me, that I was able to show how I’ve grown as a rider this year and win it. It means so much to me. I’ve been working to get to success like this with my trainer Andre Dignelli and everyone at Heritage Farm. I’m so grateful to them and to Jordan Girard and her family, who own the horse that I showed, for letting me ride him.”
Farish (Lexington, Ky.) stood in third on the first day of competition after the flatwork in Phase I and the gymnastics in Phase II, where she scored an 89 and a 90 riding JMTT Girard LLC’s eight-year-old Selle Francais gelding Arsouille des Etangs.
A good performance in Phase III over the jumping course put her into the Phase IV work-off, where the top four riders from the first three phases started on a clean slate. Farish joined Madison Goetzmann (Skaneatles, N.Y.), Cooper Dean (Fayette, Ala.) and Lili Kaissar (New York, N.Y.) as they rode their own mounts over a shortened course and then took turns riding each of the other horses over the same course.
USEF Talent Search judges, Ralph Caristo (Saugerties, N.Y.) and Chris Kappler (Flemington, N.J.), designed the courses with Anthony D'Ambrosio (Red Hook, N.Y.), serving as Technical Delegate.
“I loved riding each of the other horses,” Farish said. “I was just able to be really consistent and I didn’t have any major errors in my rounds with the other horses. I knew it was going to be close, but I got the same score [of 88] on three of them, so I think my consistency gave me a little bit of an edge.” Goetzmann earned the reserve title, with Dean placing third and Kaissar taking fourth.
Farish is no stranger to riding unfamiliar horses. The only horse she owns is her jumper, Great White, so she’s been riding a variety of horses in the equitation classes all year. “I’ve been able to ride a lot of nice ones, and I’m very fortunate for that, but I haven’t had one consistent equitation horse through the year,” said Farish. She started riding Arsouille des Etangs in September. “He was fantastic all this week, and I’m so appreciative of him and what he did for me.”
For Kappler, Farish’s work-off rides stood out. “Daisy laid down four beautiful, clean, finishing rounds with all four horses,” Kappler said. “She just really did a great job She and Madison and Cooper were neck-and-neck the whole weekend. She just had four really clean rides. She has solid basics and she’s a connected rider, from her seat to her hands to her leg and eyes. She’s a well-connected rider who was able to solve all the questions through the week”
In 2016, Farish led the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East competition after the first three phases, but then had mistakes in Phase IV that dropped her to fourth. “I was a lot greener as a rider, and I was not ready for the pressure,” Farish said. “Two years later, I’ve ridden a lot more horses and been in a lot more of those situations, so I think I handled the pressure a lot better today than I have in the past.”
For the win, Farish received the French Leave Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Gerald A. Nielsen Family. Her trainers, Andre Dignelli and the Heritage Farm team, received the Leading Trainer(s) Award, donated by the late Mr. Hugh J.B Cassidy, III.
Goetzmann was happy for Farish, “I felt the same way as Daisy. I think we were neck and neck the whole time. I knew that I had a slight bobble when it was just us two in the final and when Daisy won, I was very proud. We’ve been dreaming about this for a while and she’s been one of my best friends for a long time. She cried when I won at [2017 ASPCA Maclay] Finals, so I have to cry when she won!”
Two Aces Equestrian’s Salt Lake, the horse ridden by Kaissar, was chosen by the judges as the best horse of the competition and was awarded the Grappa Trophy, donated by Sarah Willeman.
Over the course of the next year, riders all over the country will be working on qualifying for the Talent Search program with hopes of earning a spot at the East or West Final event in the fall of 2019. The Talent Search Program encourages young and junior riders to develop the skills needed to become and effective jumper rider and prepares them to be part of the next generation of international riders.
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