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Lindsay Lyden and Just Magic

Lindsay Lyden and Just Magic_pose

Astrid Michelson and Beso

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Kicks Off the Holiday Weekend by Crowning Amateur Owner Champions

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-04

Traverse City – July 4, 2015 – Red, white, and blue signified more than just a high placing today at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, as many horses and riders were in the holiday spirit and adorned themselves with the festive colors to honor the nation’s birthday. Although riders were eager to celebrate Independence Day in the picturesque local town on the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay or relaxing on the water of the nearby popular Torch Lake, their priorities lay in kicking off the holiday weekend, hopefully, with a championship. Today the horse owners had a chance to showcase their abilities in the Amateur-Owner divisions, and with both height sections starting the day with a few contenders close to the top, it was important to pull out all the stops to impress on the second day of competition.

Perhaps one of the more stylish horses in the ring with patriotic yarn braided into her mane, Just Magic proved she is also a strong competitor by carrying her rider and owner, Lindsay Lyden, to the champion tricolor ribbon in the Amateur Owner Hunters at the 3’3” height. Coming off two first place finishes yesterday, the two were able to maintain their momentum and claim the title with a win and two second place positions today.

The 8-year-old Zangersheide mare, known as “Magic” in the barn, has been competing with partner Lyden for three years now, and her rider is quick to give the horse praise.

“She is a great jumper and a cute mover, as well as very quiet. That’s what makes her a good hunter,” Lyden commented.
The pair, out of Ohio, will stay in Michigan for the full four-week series, and are considering attending the Kentucky shows in August at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Although Lyden and Magic ultimately came out on top, it was a close race with another competitor, Astrid Michelson and her own Beso. Throughout the five classes of the division, the two duos consistently swapped the one and two spots, fending off the other entrants to ensure that it was, essentially, a two-horse race. Michelson finished in the standings with 38 points, a short 5 points behind Lyden’s cumulative score of 43.

“It has been wonderful to watch him come along. Everything is starting to click and we are figuring each other out in the show ring,” Michelson said of her mount, who she purchased a year and a half ago. She attributed much of their success to the 7-year-old gelding’s impressive scope and nice rhythm, which helped put them on top this week.

“We have really been learning from each other,” his rider noted, hoping that they can garner more success next week, their final week in Michigan, as well as in Kentucky and possibly the Hamptons later this summer.

Beso and Michelson are making their first appearance at the Traverse City show, having never shown on the northern circuit. The pair from Atlanta, Georgia train with renowned horseman Tom Wright out of Uphill Farm, and it proved to be a good day for the trainer, as another of his horse-and-rider pairs finished atop the ranks in the hunter ring.

In the same division with the fences raised to the 3’6” height, it was a near clean sweep for Libretto, navigated by rider-owner Brad Wolf. The winning pair, who also train with Wright, earned the blue ribbon from the judges in four of their five classes, only falling short of first in one of the fences rounds, but still earning the red ribbon. Their impressive performance resulted in a tabulated total of 46 points, a whole 18 points ahead of the reserve champion team of John Ingram and Airport 48.

The first week of competition at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival at Flintfields Horse Park comes to a close tomorrow, but not before more grand champions have been named. Hunter riders will continue to compete for the prizemoney, with the $2,500 and $3,000 Junior/Amateur Owner Classics at the 3’3” and 3’6” fence height as well as the highlight of the ring, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presenting opportunities to take advantage of the last day. In the Grand Prix Ring, the jumpers will vie for the lion’s share of the pot in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City, presented by Meijer.

For more information, results, or to take a look at the schedule, please visit or


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