Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC claimed the 2015 Jump Canada National Talent Squad Series Championships after back-to-back wins over two rounds of competition that wrapped up Nov. 7, 2015 at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.

During Phase 1 on Nov. 6, which saw 15 entries go head-to-head in a speed format, Lapierre took over the lead late in the class by a margin of over two seconds aboard Cescha M (Diamant de Semilly x Calando IV), an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Écuries de la Chaudière.

Lapierre was the last to return to the Ricoh Coliseum the following afternoon for the $10,000 Alfred Rogers National Talent Squad Championships – Phase 2, and with only one clear on the board from Susan Horn of Bolton, ON, the pressure was on to force a jump-off. Lapierre rose to the challenge, delighting the crowd with a faultless performance over the challenging track set by FEI 4* course designer Richard Jeffery of Great Britain.

Horn re-entered the ring for the shortened jump-off track first, putting in a fast round in 44.35 seconds, but incurring four faults at the ‘a’ portion of a double combination with Balintore (Vincenzo x Lux), a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kingsfield Farm.

Lapierre appeared to be going for a slightly conservative clear round in the jump-off, however, once a rail came down mid-way through the course, she ramped up the speed, and after a big gallop to the final fence, clocked in at 43.65 seconds to win Phase 2 and secure her spot as 2015 National Talent Squad Series Champion.

“It feels good (to be Talent Squad Champion),” said Lapierre after the award ceremony. “The funny thing is, I won it 15 years ago with a horse that has the same breeding, so I guess talent runs in the family.”

Of her current champion, who she has been paired with for three years, Lapierre commented, “She is a true winner in the ring, she will try everything. So it’s always fun to go in and know you have a chance to win. Even if I make a mistake she’s there, and if she makes a mistake she knows I’m there also, so it’s a good team I think.”

“I’m happy because she is a very young horse – that’s the reason why I’m doing Talent Squad this year,” continued Lapierre. “You have to give them mileage in the ring before you do the big classes. So for me, I think the Talent Squad is a good class for young riders, but it’s also a good class to produce young horses.”

Two-time Equine Canada Junior Equestrian of the Year Award winner, Billie Derouet of Bromont, QC was the 2015 National Talent Squad Series Reserve Champion, having earned second place on a time of 71.10 in Phase 1, and third place in Phase 2 after being the fastest four-fault performance. Her partner was Bonaparte VP Wisbecq (Copin van de Broy x Ueleme de Longpre), her eight-year-old Anglo-European gelding.

In addition to the national championship, the 2015 Talent Squad Series Division Champions have been named. The Eastern Division championship went to Grant Field of Stouffville, ON, who finished the season with 39 points riding his 10-year-old Polish Warmblood gelding, Baffin (For Keeps x Bachus). The winner of the Western Division for 2015 was Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC, who earned a total of 13 points partnered with Hermelien VD Hooghoeve (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Thunder van de Zuuthoeve), her eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare.

The Jump Canada National Talent Squad Series was created to provide a stepping stone for up-and-coming riders preparing to enter the grand prix ranks, giving them a platform to demonstrate their potential as a future member of the Canadian Equestrian Team.