by Marcella Peyre-Ferry
Young horsemen are in the minority in the carriage driving world, but 15-year-old Taylor Nedurian from Muncy, PA is a success at the reins in 4-H, driving, and Arabian showing.
With her National Show Horse, SA Outrageous (Rage), Taylor was this year's Arabian East Coast Champion in saddle seat equitation and saddle seat pleasure and Native Costume Champion the previous year, as well as Reserve Champion in driving.
Taylor has been riding since before she can remember. "My mom says it was ever since I could sit up," she said. "I started off with western, then my mom forced me to do huntseat."
Although Taylor admits she learned a lot from hunt seat riding, she didn't enjoy it as much as western. Then she found something new. "We were at the East Coast show and I saw an (Arabian) native costume class."
Taylor then watched the high action horses in their saddle seat classes and decided that was what she wanted to do.
Taylor participated mainly in Arabian horse shows until she joined 4-H. "All my friends at the Arabian shows did 4-H," she explained how she came to join Mainville 4-H. Since joining, she has twice been state champion in driving and twice state champion in saddle seat pleasure.
When Taylor first got Rage, she didn't drive, although he did. "We found him at a show. We were looking to get a really good riding horse for saddle seat. We put him in the cart and he loved it," Taylor said. "It was a spur of the moment thing."
It was family friend Larry Bason who first drove Rage, and along with his wife Charlotte, taught Taylor to drive. She also got practical experience in driving with Linda Handling. "We'd get together every Thursday of the summer and drive," Taylor said.
Taylor competes at 4-H, American Driving Society and open shows in carriage driving. Most recently, she was the overall Reserve Grand Champion at the Brandywine Valley Carriage Driving Show, as well as Champion Junior Driver; and High-Score Arabian/HA/AA. In addition, she won a very large Ride and Drive class showing saddle seat--a rarity for a class populated by hunt seat riders.
This was Taylor's second time at the Brandywine show, held at Ludwig's Corner Horse Show Grounds. "When I was at Brandywine last year, someone came up to me and told us there is a scholarship for young drivers," she said.
That scholarship took Taylor to driving Mecca Southern Pines, NC, where she worked with some of the world's best combined drivers. "They allowed you to take your own horse, but it was too far away. It was so cool!" she said. "Every day they switched you to be with new people. I'd never even heard of combined driving when I first got there."
Taylor particularly enjoyed the chance to be a navigator for one of the drivers, and she might try CDE's if she someday has a suitable horse for the sport. But for now, she is staying with Rage and what he does best. "I have so much fun doing the pleasure driving," she said.
Rage is not just a driving horse now. "His two favorite things are native costume and pleasure driving," Taylor said. "I think my favorite things are the same as his."
Taylor lives on Buck Kill Farm with her mother Beth Crissman, stepfather Jim Snyder and her sister Alexis Nedurian. She is starting tenth grade this year at Hughesville High School, where her favorite subjects are art and gym, and she competes on the basketball and track teams. She plans to attend college to become a teacher.