BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search Discovers Top Young Riders

BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY (Aug. 29, 2001) - Brian Walker of St. Lazare, Quebec, and Derek Braun of Bridgehampton, NY, were the top riders in the two sections of the BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search Tuesday (August 28) at the 26th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show. 
Designed to discover the top young talent in the country, the BET/USET Talent Search classes challenges riders under 21 in two phases: The riders are judged on their ability to control their horses on the flat and over a course of fences from 3'6" to 3'9" tall. With 59 entries in the class, it was divided into Sections A and B.
"It's a nice confidence builder for the Calvin Klein (equitation championship) later this week," said Brian, 17, who rode Grappa, a Hanoverian gelding, to first place in section B of the Talent Search. "It's a nice way to start off the horse show and prep for the big class this weekend. Grappa's won every major equitation final. He's a great horse." His win in Section B of the Talent Search was a personal goal for local rider Derek Braun of Bridgehampton, NY, who was second after the flat phase going into the over-fences phase. He rode LeGrand, a 17.3 Dutch warmblood gelding, whom he also plans to compete in the $10,000 Calvin Klein Equitation Championship on Saturday, Sept. 1.
"It's great to win at a show like this because it's so prestigious," said Derek, 16, who first competed at The Hampton Classic in the short stirrup classes when he was 8 or 9. "I really like the BET/USET because it's got the flat part and the jumping, two different disciplines." 
Although the riders who make it to this level of competition are very experienced, anything can happen when it comes to horses. Local rider Logan Marie Fiorentino of Lloyd Harbor, NY, was first in Section B after the flat phase of competition, but her lead vanished over fences. The 17-year-old was competing on a horse with whom she was unfamiliar, a junior jumper named Satchmo, because her regular equitation horse, Caravelle, is being readied for another competition.
"He was overjumping, but it wasn't his fault," said Logan Marie, who plans to compete Caravelle in upcoming regional Maclay finals. "It was the second time I had jumped him, and he just jumped a little too wide for me. I was a little upset, but my trainer was happy with the way I rode."