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Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida

No April Fools Here, O’Mara is on the Money

Jenna Sudol

Reporting from Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida
Friday, April 1, 2016 :: Posted 09:46:29 AM EDT

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© :  T.J. O'Mara bested another competitive equitation class

Wellington, Fla. – April 1, 2016 – Last week’s George Morris Excellence in Equitation class champion, T.J O’Mara, has been crushing the equitation classes in the final weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). During weeks 10, 11 and 12 alone, O’Mara secured blue ribbons in the ASPCA Maclay, Pessoa Medal, USEF Talent Search 2*, and on Friday, he claimed top honors in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3* competition aboard his favorite mount, Kaskade.

Exiting the ring with another blue ribbon in hand and grin on his face, O’Mara enthused, “It feels awesome to come out on top of that tough class. I think the George Morris class really boosted my confidence in Kaskade and myself, allowing us to fire on all cylinders. When I’m confident, she feeds off of that and it really sets us up for success.”

© : T.J. O'Mara and Kaskade

He continued, “I think the George Morris win and the effort that went into preparing for that event really sparked something in the two of us. Just walking into the ring today, I knew we were on the same page. Honestly, I was a little worried today. I just came off of that big win last week. I wanted to end on that, but my trainers decided that I should do the 3* to end the season and see if I could get qualified for USET. So walking in I was hoping to continue the win streak so I could end on an even stronger note. After today’s outcome, I’m thankful my trainers made me do it.”

During a Week 10 interview, O’Mara mentioned he had higher expectations for himself regarding his performances at WEF and that he had been working tirelessly to improve his position and connection with Kaskade. The team piloted Friday’s course like a well-oiled machine, completely in sync. It is apparent that O’Mara’s hard work and fine-tuning with trainer Stacia Madden has paid off.

© :  T.J. O'Mara

On that topic of strengthening his riding, O’Mara said, “Once I noticed that I hadn’t been getting the results I would like to, I started really working harder and doing more work on my position, a lot of no stirrup lessons. I’ve also focused on making Kaskade happier and feeling better. Our connection in the ring has certainly improved. We’re riding more like a team at this point where previously Kaskade would kind of get in the ring and take the wheel at times. I really think the bond that I have worked on over the circuit really has contributed to my wins over the past few days. I’ve said this before but it’s all because of this mare. I couldn’t ask for a better horse.”

Although O’Mara has his freshman year of college on his horizon, he has a full show schedule to conquer first. “I’m going to do Old Salem, then Devon, Lake Placid and Kentucky, and then I may be skipping the Hamptons this year because of college. Although I am gearing up for school, I still plan on coming back and getting practice rides on Kaskade to get ready for indoors.”

O’Mara joked that the most pressing item on his agenda is a short break for Kaskade and himself. “We’ll definitely give her two weeks off following the conclusion of WEF. All the horse’s head back Monday and return home to New Jersey around Wednesday so I’ll be taking this upcoming week off as well and then Kaskade can have some well-deserved rest and relaxation in the paddock.” He said.

© : Lucy Deslauriers and Class Action

Friday’s course took place in the Denemethy ring of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The intricate 3* course designed by Michel Ismalun boasted several tricky roll backs, a triple combination to a large oxer up the diagonal and a daunting water fence that tripped up less experienced horse-and-rider teams and veterans including Lucy Deslaurier alike. Although the course bested quite a few teams, three young talents stood out from the pack and jumped to the top of Judge Jack Towell and Robert Crandall’s score cards, those riders were T.J O’Mara who rode away with the win, Louisa Brackett and Efendi who took home second place honors and rounding out the leaderboard was another student of renowned equitation trainer Stacia Madden, Madison Goetzmann, aboard familiar mount, Play It Again.

Stay tuned to for accurate and timely WEF Rolex Week 12 coverage including Saturday’s $500,000 CSI 5* Grand Prix and $50,000 USHJA Hunter Derby.

© : Louisa Brackett and Efendi

© :

Madison Goetzmann and Play It Again

© :

T.J. O'Mara and Kaskade

Other articles of interest
Hoft, Cohen, Ellis and Kurtz Conclude Week Nine with Equitation Wins
Karen Polle and With Wings Fly High to Win $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate CSI5*
Tori Colvin Cruises to First and Third Place in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Kat Fuqua Pilots Somekindawonderful to $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship
Scott Stewart and Kelley Farmer Claim Championship Titles in Professional Hunter Divisions During WE

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