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Jacqueline Steffens claims top prize in $15,000 U25 Young Rider Development qualifier at Caledon Equ

Jacqueline Steffens and Braveheart de Muze made the most of the final weekend of competition at Caledon Equestrian Park, taking home top honours in the $15,000 Under 25 Young Rider Development class on Saturday (Oct. 1).

Jacqueline Steffens and Braveheart de Muze being presented with the red rosette by the Under 25 Development Series advisor Beth Underhill. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Steffens, who hails from Harriston, Ont., guided Braveheart de Muze — owned by Double C Stables — through a field of 11 competitors in what was the second installment of the Young Riders Development series held at Caledon Equestrian Park on the 2016 season. The class was sponsored by the OHJA (Ontario Hunter Jumper Association).

Lexi Ray rode Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc.’s Carlisco to second place in the class, while Muhammad Itani rounded out the top three riding his horse Tax Free

The Under 25 Young Rider Development Series is the brainchild of Equestrian Canada and Jump Canada and led by former Canadian Olympian, Beth Underhill.

“The Talent Squad Series, which held its finals at the Royal Winter Fair, just wasn’t working anymore,” said Underhill in May. ”And where the sport is going in North America and Europe is that under 25 age group.”

“We’re really trying to start, not just with the group you saw today, but right at the pony level, encouraging kids to get involved in the jumpers and really strive to start building their experience and competition level throughout the jumpers,” she added.

In all, there were seven Canadian dates in the series inaugural season between May 21 and Oct. 1, including two at Caledon Equestrian Park. The top 16 Canadians move onto the championship at the Royal Winter Fair next month. There are also four international wildcard spots up for grabs.

Ireland’s Daniel Coyle won the Canadian debut of the series at Caledon Equestrian Park on May 21.

With Saturday’s victory Steffens and Braveheart de Muze, who sat eighth in the overall rankings prior to the win, assured themselves a spot in the finals.

Jacqueline Steffens and Braveheart de Muze navigating the course of the $15,000 Under 25 Development Class. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Aurora, Ontario’s Nicole Walker and Deko De Landetta Z, who won the $86,000 Caledon Cup Phase 3 SCI* 2 Jumper Classic, presented by HEP/Aviva/Edge last week (Sept. 25), held top spot prior to Saturday.

Equestrian Canada has not yet released the updated and final rankings for the series, but both have earned enough points to compete for top of the podium come November at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The final week of competition of the 2016 season at the Caledon Equestrian Park also saw Hugh Graham and his mount, Knock Out 3E — owned by Kingridge Stables — win the $5,000 1.35m jumper class, presented by System Fencing on Friday (Sept. 30).

Friday also saw Katie McCowan and her ride Theodore top the prize list on the hunter side in the $3,000 EMG Pony Hunter Classic, presented by Equestrian Management Group.

The 2016 show season will wrap up Sunday with the $25,000 Fall Finale Grand Prix at 2 p.m. in the indoor ring.

Results (Top 5): Horse/Owner/Rider $15,000 Under 25 Young Rider Development Presented by OHJA (Oct. 1) 1) Braveheart de Muze / Double C Stables / Jacqueline Steffens 2) Carlisco / Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc. / Lexi Ray 3) Tax Free / Muhammad Itani / Muhammad Itani 4) Zindiloma / Kathy Dixon / Sean Jobin 5) Cardoso / Valhalla Equestrian / Christine Carlsen $5,000 1.35m Jumper Presented by System Fencing (Sept. 30)

1) Knock Out 3E / Kingridge Stables / Hugh Graham 2) Kodaline / Beth Underhill / Beth Underhill 3) Charming Force B / Kim Farlinger Stables Ltd. / Kim Farlinger 4) Zalandra / Stal Aerts / Angela Covert 5) Count Me In / Sandy Lupton / Beth Underhill

$3,000 EMG Pony Hunter Classic (Sept. 30) 1) Theodore / Katie McCowan / Katie McCowan 2) Crown Ridge Finnegan / Elaine Kilmer-Choi / Lauren Sauriol 3) Stellar Review / Jennifer Lawrie / Alexandra Adamson 4) Remember Me / Kara Wedde / Katie Cohen 5) Majora's Mask / Emily Madeline Moore / Emily Madeline Moore

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