Toronto, Ont., - Neil Badcock, 44, of King City, Ont., won the Jump Canada Talent Squad Final on Saturday, November 8, at Toronto's Royal Horse Show. The 10-day international equestrian competition is held as part of the 92nd edition of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair from November 7-16 in Toronto, ON.
Held over two days, the Talent Squad Final competition opened on November 7 with the $8,000 Alfred Rogers National Talent Squad Series Championship, Phase I, where Badcock and Jessie Bonisteel's seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Corrido, were victorious in the opening speed competition.
The pair returned to the Ricoh Coliseum the following day to come out on top in the $10,000 Alfred Rogers National Talent Squad Series Championship, Phase II. With back-to-back wins and the most points over the two days, Badcock was declared the 2014 National Talent Squad Final Champion.
"It is the first time with this horse at this level," said Badcock. "He is a very young horse at only seven years old, and I'm just really impressed with how he handled everything, including the crowds. I really have to thank my great support team and owners for making it all possible."
Susan Horn, 30, of Bolton, Ont., claimed the Reserve Champion title riding Balintore, Kingsfield Farm's 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Finishing in third place in Phase I and second in the Phase II class, earned the duo the honour.
"This is really exciting," said Horne, who has only ridden Balintore in five classes including today's competition. "Neil was absolutely unbeatable, but I can't complain. My horse is eight years old, and I have only had him for a month. This is our second show together, and I had no expectations coming in. I just wanted to go around and be clean, and this result is amazing."
The Jump Canada Talent Squad Series is a means of recognizing up-and-coming riders who are preparing to enter the grand prix ranks and gives them a platform to demonstrate their ability to become future members of the Canadian Equestrian Team.