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Press Release


David Beisel and Ammeretto

Donald Cheska and Calvigo

Tommy Brawley and Nando KLT

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Kicks Off With Powerful Performances in Open Jumper Divisions

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-01

Traverse City, MI – July 1, 2015 – Traverse City, one of the country’s premier vacation destinations, boasts sugar-sand beaches, blue waters and, once a year, a four-week horse show series. Stadium Jumping, Inc., the equestrian production company that has taken over the reins at what was, for many years, Horse Shows by the Bay kicked off the much anticipated Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) today, ushering in a new era of competition and top tier shows. Many of the horse and rider combinations have arrived already, and put on powerful performances in the Grand Prix ring for the opening day.

David Beisel was the first to tackle Michel Vailancourt’s $3,000 1.40m Open Jumper track, and one of only three to jump double-clear. Aboard the little 10-year-old stallion Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings, LLC of Traverse City, Beisel set a time that would prove untouchable, leading the class from beginning to end.

“I was just trying to let him go out, have some fun, and let some wind out of his sails without getting too crazy,” Beisel explained. “I wanted to let him stretch his legs. I could have gone without the bucking to the last combination, though,” Beisel laughed. “Hopefully it is a good warm-up for the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City this Sunday.”

Ammeretto is coming off of a fantastic spring and early summer, and today was the first time the stallion jumped in two weeks. Beisel has been riding him for seven years, and refers to his formidable mount as “small but mighty,” standing at only 16 hands, but always keeping his eye on the prize.

Beisel’s jump-off time of 30.312 seconds proved hard to catch, although Beth Underhill of Ontario, Canada, and Viggo came in only three-tenths of a second behind for the second place. Ryan Genn of Lebanon, Ohio, and Cookie Monster picked up the third place finish with their time of 31.737 seconds.

During the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumpers, Donald Cheska rode Calvigo, owned by Erika Baran of Chicago, Illinois, to the first place finish with a double clear effort completed in a speedy 29.012 seconds. Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti captured the second place with a clean jump-off time of 29.773 seconds, while Theo Genn and Asirea Fortuna stopped the clock in 30.497 seconds for the third.

“Calvigo normally gets worked and warm, but we did nothing with him today, and he was just fresh with the cool weather,” Cheska said. “He is a winner. I took him into the 1.35m Jumpers as a way to put some more mileage on him.”

Cheska continued, “One thing I am impressed by is that Michel [Vailancourt] is one of the top two or three builders in the world. It really does a lot for the show, and he always does a good job. He is a worker and he always wants each course that he designs to be really good. He puts 100 percent into it. As a rider, it is important to have good builders, and Michel makes you think a lot and pay attention.”

The courses continued to impress during the $1,250 1.30m Open Jumper division, where a field of 17 competed. Only five were able to navigate the first round course successfully, but it was Texan Tommy Brawley and Nando KLT who rode to the top of the leaderboard. Their time of 31.941 seconds was more than a second ahead of second place finisher Beth Underhill and Count Me In, who finished in 33.911 seconds. Third place was awarded to Javier Berganza Anderhub and Chantal.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the next four weeks of competition. Feature events for this week include the $25,000 Antares Welcome Stake on July 3, as well as the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City on July 5. Hunter riders will also have the opportunity to compete in the $1,00 Pre-Green Hunter Incentive, as well as the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

For more information or to view schedules, please visit or


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