Taylor Kraft rode Volt du Thot to victory in the Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper National Championships Phase I. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Harrisburg, PA – October 14, 2021 - Taylor Kraft clinched the first show jumping victory of the 75th-anniversary Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Thursday, October 14, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. The 18-year-old kicked off the 10-day horse show by speeding to the top of the leaderboard in Phase I of the Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper National Championships aboard Volt du Thot.
A field of 38 of the country’s top junior jumpers contested the Phase I speed track set by Manuel Esparza, and when Kraft entered the ring as the 26th to jump, the time to beat had been set at 62.461 seconds by Carlee McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected.
Thanks to Volt du Thot’s large stride and a well-executed track, Kraft made shaving more than seven-tenths of a second off of McCutcheon’s time look easy, stopping the clock in 61.725 seconds.
Hannah Hoch of Whitefish Bay, WI, was the very next to jump, and she and her own Shariva slid into second place with a time of 61.948 seconds. With none of the remaining riders coming within two seconds of Kraft’s time, her and Volt du Thot’s victory was secured. Hoch took home second place, and McCutcheon, of Aubrey, TX, rounded out the top three.
“I'm really grateful to be able to be here!” said Kraft, who hails from New Jersey and is competing at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show for the first time. “It definitely feels amazing to start out with a win. It’s one of my first times showing in an indoor like this, so it was really fun to be able to challenge myself a little bit with this new type of course. The environment here is so nice, and they put on such a beautiful competition.”
Taylor Kraft and Volt du Thot. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Kraft will now set her sights on the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States Team Championship and Individual Championship Phase II on Friday, October 15, beginning at 4 p.m.
Following the conclusion of Friday’s modified Nations Cup format class, the top 60 percent of riders will advance to the Individual Championship Phase III on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. There, the rider with the lowest number of combined penalties after all three phases will be crowned the 2021 individual champion.
“I’m feeling a little bit hopeful heading into tomorrow, and I’m definitely ready for the next two phases!” concluded Kraft.
From October 14-23, the 75th-annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show will host more than 1,200 of the best hunter, jumper and equitation horses and riders from across the nation. In addition to the Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper National Championships, highlight events of the 2021 horse show include the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final on Sunday, October 16, and the $100,000 Grand Prix de Penn National on Saturday, October 23. To learn more, visit www.PAnational.org.