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Press Release


Wilhelm Genn and Welcome COR

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Wrap-Up: July 1 - 5, 2015

Written by: Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-05

Traverse City, MI - July 6, 2015 - For Wilhelm Genn the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival at Flintfields Horse Park holds nostalgic memories. One in particular flashed across his face Sunday afternoon as he won the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City, presented by Meijer. It was a decade ago that Genn rode his veteran partner, Happy Z, to her first grand prix win in Traverse City, and Sunday he donned the blue ribbon again, but this time aboard future hopeful Welcome COR.

Canada's Michel Vailancourt designed a large first round track that only eight horse and rider combinations mastered. David Beisel was the first of the field to clear the course with Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings, earning the first spot in the return order when Genn followed consecutively with another clean round.

"I was pleased with Ammeretto's first round, as he jumped it as well as I could have asked him to. He gave me some good efforts for the back rails of the combination, which were hard," Beisel acknowledged. "I went as fast as I thought I could manage in the jump-off, knowing that there were a lot of horses behind me still to go."

Beisel laid down a blazing round, slicing the turns and keeping consistent speed across the shortened track. He knew that he would be wearing a target on his back as he broke the beam in 33.942 seconds. As he exited the ring he sighed and said, "now the hard part-waiting."

He did not have to wait long as Genn returned as the second of the eight to challenge Beisel's time. Genn used Welcome COR's natural speed to his advantage, letting her go fast for the first time in their year-and-a-half partnership. They were a hair faster than Beisel through the first three obstacles, and then stayed quick through the right turn to the double combination. He knew he was going to lose time to the liverpool when he had to steady to compensate for his mare's rideability, but he picked up the pace coming down the home stretch. The win was made even more special by the memories it brought back to the Genn family and Happy Z's first grand prix victory, as well as the fact that he was recovering from a broken fibula bone in his leg that only fractured three weeks prior.

"At first, I wasn't planning on going that fast only because I am just coming back," Genn explained. "I didn't know how good she was going to hold up going fast. When David went so fast, and he has the fastest horse in the class, I thought that I would give it a shot-I'd rather go fast than go slow and have two rails down. It worked out beautifully. She is not quiet when she goes fast, she tends to get revved up, but she held up all the way, so I am really proud of her."

He continued, "I know my mare can go fast. I know I can go for it with her. She is not an easy mare, she has the talent I saw originally, but she is much tougher than I thought she would be. She is very stubborn, but has so much talent. Sunday was a good test for her."

Beisel finished in the second place position, while Hayley Barnhill and Beezie, owned by the ISB Group, took the third place finish. Beth Underhill and Viggo finished out the double clear efforts with a time of 35.312 seconds and the fourth place. Tommy Brawley and Nando KLT were awarded the fifth place as the fastest of the four-fault efforts, while Barnhill and her second mount Zephire rounded out the top six.

Beisel said of his eventual second place finish, "I thought that we had a great jump-off ride. I knew that I would have to go fast with all the people behind me, and really put on the pressure. There is nothing specifically that I would do differently. He jumped fantastic Sunday."

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday – Saturday

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) Wednesday, 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.

Ammeretto is coming off of a fantastic spring and early summer, and Wednesday 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.

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 Grand Prix ring is the stomping grounds of champions, as well as the beginning to many horses’ international careers. For Theo Genn, the Grand Prix Ring at the Flintfields Horse Park ushered in the start to a fantastic first week of competition at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. The Ohio-native captured the 1-2 finish during the $3,000 1.40m Open Jumpers, riding Asirea Fortuna and Castiel to the top placings, respectively.

Genn has been riding Asirea Fortuna, owned by Eduardo Leon of Houston, Texas, for four years, bringing her through the young horse ranks. Known for her quick foot speed, the grey mare has proven both her accuracy and speed on courses throughout the nation. The 10-year-old has a tendency to get a little wound up, however, and Genn made the decision to step her down a couple of levels to help improve her reliability. His plan worked well, leading the class from start to finish with the trailblazing time and clean effort posted in 39.872 seconds.

Genn and Asirea Fortuna were the only two to clear Michel Vailancourt’s first round track. He brought the class full circle with Castiel, owned by Patty Genn, ranking second as the last horse and rider combination of the day. Although they incurred three time faults, Genn was all smiles as he picked up the top spots with his mounts.

David Beisel picked up both the third and fourth place finishes just behind Genn. If it was not for an unfortunate rail, Beisel and Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC, may have caught Genn in the jump-off.

Only three horse and rider combinations were able to clear the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumpers, but it was Beth Underhill (CAN) and her own Count Me In who took the win as the fastest of the field. Michael Morrissey and Torino Q, owned by Rae Martin of Wellington, Florida, were the first to clear the course, immediately moving into the jump-off. Their time of 34.927 seconds set the pace for the remainder of the competitors, and it seemed as though he had the win, until the end. Ryan Genn and Zenith B, owned by father Wilhelm Genn, fell behind Morrissey with a double-clean effort in 40.627 seconds.

Underhill swept in as the last to go, breaking the beam in 34.139 seconds. She has only been riding him for about a year and a half, yet he has continued to impress. She already has the 2016-edition of the Great Lakes Festival on her calendar.

Hayley Barnhill has competed at the Flintfields Horse Park for four years, riding to the top of the ranks, but always falling just shy of the first place finish. Friday afternoon, that all changed during the opening week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festval. Barnhill posted the only double clear ride of the $25,000 Antares Welcome Stake with Zephire, owned by Barnhill Enterprises, LLC, riding to the top of the leaderboard ahead of her fellow 25 contenders.

Michel Vailancourt (CAN) designed a tricky and technical track, seeing faults throughout the entire course, with eight rails falling at the second airy vertical. A large emphasis was put on the fourth obstacle of the track, a tricky triple combination composed of an one-stride oxer leading to a two-stride vertical-vertical. Out of the 26 horse and rider combinations, only two would master Vailancourt’s opening round—Hayley Barnhill and Vivian Yowan.

As the pathfinder of the class, Barnhill was the first to jump off. She took a conservative approach, riding for a clean round, hoping that Yowan would find error in an attempt to catch her pace and clear the course. Barnhill and Zephire stopped the clock in 38.257 seconds.

It was the penultimate rider, 17-year-old Vivian Yowan and Vornado van den Hoendrik who challenged Barnhill for the much desired first place finish. Unfortunately, two rails would separate the two riders, and Yowan would settle for the second place this time.

Yowan continued, “I went in there and knew that there was nothing to lose since there was only the two of us in the jump-off. You either get first or second, and making it into the jump-off was a feat in itself.”

Yowan has competed in several grand prix recently, moving up the ranks and aiming for the bigger classes. She is looking forward to the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Kentucky, in only two weeks, planning to bring Vornado van den Hoendrik as her top mount.

She will conclude the first week of competition with the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. She is thankful to the show management at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival for the additional classes, prize money and amenities as she prepared for the NAJYRC and the SJHOF Finals.

Barnhill was awarded with not only the blue ribbon, but also an Antares Classic Jumping Girth, Antares helmet and English Riding Supply’s stirrups.

Javier Berganza Anderhub and Chantal, owned by Doublethink LLC, were the fastest of the four faulters, landing the third place with a speedy first round time of 74.032 seconds. David Beisel and Ammeretto finished in fourth, while Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster captured fifth. It was another Barnhill ride, Beezie, owned by the ISB Group of Nashville, Tennessee who rounded out the top six.

As barbeques and parades got underway throughout the nation to celebrate Independence Day, a different type of gathering was unfolding at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival with the patriotic colors of red, white and blue donning the tricolors of the day’s jumper classic champions. Erin Haas and Coachella captured the win during the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, while Emily Reyder and Byolga collected the rosette for their speedy jump-off during the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.

Michel Vailancourt of Canada designed a technical track for the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic. Only two riders were able to navigate the opening course without fault, and coincidentally, they were the first two riders of the class.

Vivian Yowan was the first to put in a clean first round score, but when she returned for the shortened course, she made a crucial error that would knock her out of the first place finish—she missed a white vertical, the fourth obstacle of the track. Her mistake would earn her and Vornado van den Hoendrik, owned by Stone Hill Farm of Las Angeles, California, the second place position. Yowan laughed as she accepted the second place classic ribbon, noting, “I was so proud of our tight turn from the oxer to the double combination. It would have been a great turn, it was fast.”

Yowan also collected the third place finish as the fastest of the four-fault efforts aboard Ultimate Z, owned by Saddle Ridge LLC of Darien, CT.

Knowing that she had nothing to lose, and all she had to do was cross the finish, Erin Haas took the opportunity to teach the 9-year-old mare Coachella a little bit more about turning and taking the inside track during the jump-off.

Not usually a fan of mares, Haas originally declined Darragh Kenny’s request for her to try Coachella last year. He convinced her that this mare was different, and she never looked back after sitting on her.

Haas is currently working with Coachella to become more consistent in the High Jumper divisions, and although she is not aiming for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Championships, held at the CP National Horse Show in the fall, for this year, she hopes to have several qualified for the 2016-edition. Between working as an equine veterinarian (North Face Equine Services) and juggling her riding schedule, Haas is taking everything one day at a time.

During the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Emily Reder, of Cincinatti, Ohio, and Byolga finished first with the blazing time of 29.581 seconds. Addison Piper and Halbi D’Ariane, owned by No Trump Farm, LLC, held the lead for most of the class, but their time of 33.003 seconds would no longer hold water after Reder tripped the timers. John Ingram and Lord Lancer 003 picked up the third place just behind Piper in 33.176 seconds.

The $1,500 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship Qualifier saw David Beisel and Vigilante take the win in 32.211 seconds, with Beth Underhill and Kodaline finishing second in 32.767 seconds. Wilhelm Genn and Dieta took the third place in 33.339 seconds. Beisel also won the 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship Qualifier on Friday with EOS M.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday – Sunday

Great Lakes Equestrian Festival made its debut Wednesday at the Flintfields Horse Park, the prior home of the Horse Shows by the Bay series, with the new Stadium Jumping, Inc. management continuing their reputation for excellence as the new face of the showgrounds. It may be under a new name, but the “destination show,” as many have dubbed it, has already garnered favorable reviews from competitors and spectators. In spite of the unseasonably cold weather, a number of challengers came into the hunter ring intending to set the bar high, and started the first day of competition strong with top placings.

Kicking off the hunter classes in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, the combined divisions of Green and Regular Confirmation hunters brought a few entries to the table, each hoping to gain the lead in the point standings headed into the second half of the division Thursday. With a fences and handy round on the agenda for the morning, horses and riders had two chances to prove themselves in front of the judges. Earning the two coveted first place spots was Jennifer Nadalin and Samantha Gajoch’s Catango V, followed by David Beisel aboard his own Salem, and Tim Goguen with Boggs Hill Farm’s Anytime, both of which earned a second and third between the two classes.

In for the Regular Conformation Hunters, “Tango,” as he is called in the barn, began competing in the Conformation Hunters just last year while in Traverse City, earning a tricolor ribbon in his premiere appearance in the division. His rider seemed just as pleased with him Wednesday, praising the horse for his easy way of going.

Although it was only the first day of showing, Nadalin was happy with the show and its new management, speaking of high hopes for the future.

In the Second Year Green Working Hunter and PJP Farm High Performance Working Hunter divisions, which were combined to allow for a larger competition base, only a few points separated the top three pairs. Snapchat, owned and ridden by Tommy Brawley, earned second and third positions; Laura Stern and her own Harrison rode their way to a first and third; and Tim Goguen aboard Saddle Ridge LLC’s Ransom proved to produce the best rounds, earning them first and second place finishes.

Typically riding eight to 12 horses a day, Goguen continued his streak of good rides in the irons aboard two mounts in the Wrenwood farm-sponsored First Year Green Working Hunter classes, his third and fourth horses of the day, all before noon. Thwarting the efforts of the other exhibitors, he and Capella topped the judges’ cards with two first place finishes. Rookie, Goguen’s other ride, also put in a strong performance, headed into Thursday’s second half of the division with a second and third under his belt.

“I was happy with the way my horses went Wednesday,” Goguen noted. Unlike Catango V, Goguen’s horses had a slightly different reaction to the footing, although you wouldn’t it based off their strong showings this morning. “Most of these horses haven’t jumped on sand in a long time, which caused them to be a bit funny Wednesday. It gives them a different push, and they aren’t quite used to it. It took some of them a round or so to understand the different dynamic the sand provides.”

Goguen and Boggs Hill Farm, the Lexington and Wellington–based stable he co-owns with his wife Kelly, will stick around the showgrounds for the first two weeks, after which they will head to Lexington, KY, for the North American Junior Young Rider Championships taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Hot on the tail of the leader and hoping to surpass him in points Thursday, Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s grey gelding Moonwalk navigated their way around Dean Battaglia’s course well enough to garner a second and third place finish, tied for points with Goguen and Rookie, owned by Belhaven Stables LLC.

If the first two days of competition are indicative of what is to come the rest of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, then Tim Goguen and Hillary Johnson are pegged to have successful showings throughout the series. Goguen began his day with an easy sweep of the first three divisions of the morning, claiming three champion honors and the reserve championship, while Johnson stayed busy with multiple mounts in the $1,000 Pre-Green Hunter Incentive and Performance 3’6” Working Hunters.

An 8:30 a.m. start time brought the combined Conformation Hunter divisions to the forefront, with Jennifer Nadalin and Catango V, owned by Samantha Gajoch, hoping to retain their lead position after two blue ribbons in the first classes of the division yesterday. Unfortunately for that pair, Gougen and his Boggs Hill Farm’s mount Anytime gained momentum and were able to overtake them in the point standings due to three first place finishes Thursday. Combined with Wednesday’s first and second, the duo just edged out Nadalin in the rankings.

Next on the schedule were the combined divisions of the Second Year Green Working Hunters and the PJP Farm High Performance Working Hunters, and Goguen had his eye on the prize once again. He and his mount Ransom, owned by Saddle Ridge LLC, added another win to the résumé by beating out the competition with a near-clean sweep of the day’s classes, only falling short of the first in the hack.

The champion attributed much of his success to his wife and the rest of his team, stating that “they do a great job prepping the horses for the ring, and I just try to do my thing when it counts.” He continued on, noting that the horses seem to be settling in to the facility and the unpredictable Michigan weather.

Laura Stern and her personal horse Harrison were able to hold on to the second-place position after strong performances both days. Rounding out the top three was Tommy Brawley and his own Snapchat.

Still not relenting, Goguen rode his way to yet another tricolor in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, this time aboard Capella in the First Year Green Working Hunters, sponsored by Wrenwood Farm and Jen Sutton. As if that was not enough, the champion had another horse in the running. Belhaven Stables LLC’s Rookie carried Goguen to the reserve championship honors, just a few points behind his counterpart.

Capella is coming off a number of impressive placings at top-tier venues in both Florida and Kentucky as a new addition to Goguen’s repertoire of horses, having just joined the rotation this past season at the end of the Florida show circuit.

Geoffrey Hesslink and Salim Radi’s Jos Van Kouterhoeve, Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Moonwalk, and Sarah Mechlin in the irons aboard Mary Otto’s Enterprize all also provided solid trips, consistently place-swapping in the third through fifth positions.

Another standout competitor for the day, Hillary Johnson, was a common sight in the side-by-side hunter rings. With 13 horses in the barns this week, and expecting 8 more to arrive in the following weeks, Johnson definitely keeps busy.

Riding her way to a score of 84, the Michigan-native and Copper Fox LLC’s Sorrento produced the highest score of the all the entrants in the $1,000 Pre-Green Hunter Incentive.

Johnson and Sorrento took the win above the second-place finisher Goguen and Clever, another of his Belhaven Stables LLC rides. It was a good day for Copper Fox LLC as another one of their contending horses finished in a top placing, with Voyager and Kendall Meijer clinching the third spot above the rest of the field.

Dismounting one horse only to climb aboard another, Johnson took the ride on Rolling Acres’ Rogelio for the final classes of the Performance Working Hunters at the 3’6” height. The division proved to be a close race, with all the competitors vying for points and exchanging placings during their five opportunities to gain the favor of the judges. With each passing class, a different competitor topped the judges’ cards, keeping the door open for anyone to break out of the pack and take the lead headed into the point tabulation. Ultimately, Rogelio came out on top.

Reserve champion to the winning partners was Salim Radi’s Jos Van Kouterhoeve with Geoffrey Hesslink in the irons. The pair accumulated enough points with Thursday’s fifth and third place finishes, combined with the prior day’s second and third place positions, to claim the runner-up spot.

Stadium Jumping, Inc. has gained recognition not only as a premier horse show management company, but the family-owned business is now able to add a championship tricolor to their list of Traverse City successes, as well. Tiffany Morrissey, the wife of Matt Morrissey, co-manager of the show and a prominent contributor to Stadium Jumping, Inc., led the hunt of 17 entries and came away with the win in the Pre-Green Hunter division, never placing below third in Thursday’s competition. Morrissey rode East Wind Farms, LLC’s Belucci.

Junior Hunters took center stage in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring Friday at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, and with the age and size groups combined, competitors needed to outshine the rest of the pack in order to come out on top. Expertly navigating the hunter tracks presented to them, a few select riders were able to do just that to take the division’s rosette.

The young riders entered in the Junior division at the 3’6” height, sponsored by Hillside Farm, were the first to have a crack at the tricolors, with Vivian Yowan and Emma Wujek heading into the second day of Junior competition with more than one advantage above the rest. Yowan and Wujek not only had multiple mounts entered in the classes, but also consistently placed at the top of the judges’ cards. The California split-division had entrants competing in two jump classes yesterday, with Yowan earning firsts in both portions of the handy round aboard Ransom, owned by Saddle Ridge LLC and Character, owned by Belhaven Stables LLC. Wujek held her own as well, claiming first in the over fences and the second in the handy aboard Claire Azar’s Lucky Times, among other placings. Four more horses were split between the two riders, including Laura Stern’s Harrison, Amanda Foard’s Julian, Boggs Hill Farm’s Anytime, and Crackerjack, another Saddle Ridge LLC horse.

Friends Yowan and Wujek, both out of the Lexington-based Boggs Hill Farm operated by trainer Tim Goguen and his wife Kelly, both took more top-three placings to secure their leads, and ended up sharing the spotlight as champions.

Yowan seems to have found a few trusty mounts to carry her for her last year as a junior. Although they have only been partnered together for a few months, Character effortlessly helped her to the champion honor Friday.

Ransom and Yowan also took the runner-up position in her section of the split division, earning her both tricolor ribbons.

Look for Yowan later in the month at the North American Junior Young Rider Championship in Kentucky as a part of the Junior Show Jumping team. She will be riding Vornado van den Hoendrik, owned by Stone Hill Farm. The pair was one of only two clear rounds in the $25,000 Antares Welcome Stake this afternoon, ultimately earning the second place.

Champion in the second group of the Junior 3’6” Hunters, Emma Wujek and Lucky Times earned 36 cumulative points to best the rest of the horse and rider pairs. Coincidentally, the grey horse has a tie to the show itself, as it is under the training of Abby Blankenship out of Carmel, IN, the wife of show manager Tom Blankenship.

A few points behind Wujek and “Lucky,” Absolut and Martha Ingram rounded out the top two placings. Absolut is owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC.

Bringing the jumps down just a few inches to the 3’3” height, a new group of riders took their turns under the watchful eyes of the judges. Earning a first and two seconds Friday, Kandis Wrigley’s Friend Request, with Helen Voss in the irons, navigated his way to the top of the leaderboard. The pair earned a total of 38 points, ten points ahead of the second-best entry, to take the win.

Voss and the gelding have only been together a few weeks, but the rider has quickly taken a liking to him.

As for Voss, she plans to continue showing this summer, mainly focusing on the equitation, and will appear at her respective Maclay Regionals and Medal Finals later in the year. Texas A&M University will gain another rider to their equestrian team in the fall in the soon-to-be freshman. Although she looks forward to the upcoming events, Voss is happy to be in Traverse City.

Claiming the second position overall, Gg Equine Holdings’ Zekiel and Sarah Mechlin also put in two strong trips top end up with 28 points in the division standings.

Red, white, and blue signified more than just a high placing Saturday 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. Saturday 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 Saturday.

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.

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 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival saved the best for last as accomplished hunter riders took to the ring for a chance to end the week leading a victory gallop in one of the Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics or the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. A few select riders are going to have to make room in their tack trunks for multiple GLEF champion coolers and scrims, as more than one weekly division winner added another accolade to their résumé with a top placing Sunday.

Both the $3,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Classic and the $2,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Classic consisted of two rounds over designer Dean Battaglia’s natural track. The 3’6” horses and riders were the first to go for the blue, with numerous grand champions from the prior days of competition hoping to continue their winning streaks Sunday morning.

Headed into the second phase of the Classic, two riders were neck-and-neck at the top of the standings. Martha Ingram and John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s Absolut scored an initial 88, followed closely by Emma Wujek and Claire Azar’s Lucky Times’ score of 86. In the third position with an 82 was Boggs Hill Farm’s Anytime, with Vivian Yowan aboard, and Cole Battershall and her own Wayfarer rounded out the top four with a score of 76.

Ultimately it was Wujek and the grey gelding who came away with the highest cumulative score, earning a second trip tally of 88, boosting their score to a 174, two points ahead of Ingram and Absolut, who earned a second-round score of 84 for a total of 172.

The champion impressively just picked up the ride this week on Azar’s horse, as the owner was unable to attend the first week of the series. Still, that didn’t seem to slow them down any; the pair also rode to the champion tricolors earlier in the week in the Junior 3’6” Hunters.

Michigan-native Wujek has made the trip to Flintfields Horse Park five times in the past, and had kind words for the new management of Stadium Jumping, Inc.

Wujek will remain in Traverse City for one more week, followed by an appearance at the North American Junior Young Rider Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, as a member of the Junior Show Jumping Team for the United States.

Yowan retained third place with Anytime, while Battershall also held on to fourth with her mount Wayfarer.

The 3’3” entrants were invited to the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring next, again with weekly winners vying for the largest share of the prize money. In the end, it seemed as if the results could have been pegged after only the first phase, as all of the top four riders earned scored that maintained their position after their second trips. Just Magic and owner-rider Lindsay Lyden, champions yesterday in the Amateur-Owner Hunter division, bested the field to earn the blue ribbon, followed by Kandis Wrigley’s Friend Request and Helen Voss, champions in the Junior 3’3” Hunters earlier in the week.

Bocelli, with owner Marianne Giovenco in the irons, clinched the third position with two strong performances, while Isabel Hermelin and Gg Equine Holdings, LLC’s Zekiel claimed fourth.

Next on the agenda was the highlight of the day, the $5,000 USHJA National Derby, attracting 18 eager competitors. Formatted slightly differently than the morning’s Classics, the Derby still entailed two rounds, but only the top 12 highest-placing pairs were invited to return for the handy phase.

Battaglia’s creation presented riders with a number of inside track opportunities, as well as four high options that allotted for the potential of up to four extra points to be added to the handy score. Most riders took the higher fence options, but spectators were treated to a variety of differing turns taken by the competitors.

It was still anyone’s class to win as the handy phase got underway, with 10 of the top 12 riders garnering scores of 80 or above. Greg Crolick and Lugano, owned by Courtney Schwabauer, led the class with the high score of 90. Tied for the second spot was Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Voyager and Martha Ingram and her family’s own Tenacious, both awarded score of 88 from the judges. J’Adore, owned by Team Rasakowsky and navigated by Geoffrey Hesslink, sat in the next spot with an 86-score, with Addison Piper and Cory Olson’s Billy the Kid and Tiffany Morrissey and East Wind Farms’ Belucci close behind with scores of 85 and 84, respectively.

With the points so close, the handy round opened the door for competitors to either gain ground on their counterparts or falter to mistakes. Taking advantage of the opportunity better than the rest, with only a few trips remaining, Ingram and Tenacious earned the highest second-round score of 90 to take over the lead. Two more riders would enter the ring hoping to take control of the class, but their efforts would prove fruitless.

The champion horse Tenacious has been owned by the Ingram family for nearly four years, and the horse has proved to be versatile as both a hunter derby winner and a successful equitation horse. Ingram rode the gelding in the WIHS Equitation class, the Pessoa US Hunt Seat Medal, and the ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay earlier in the week, never placing lower than third.

This is Ingram’s first show back in the saddle after a hand injury thwarted her riding plans, and it was “exciting to get off to such a great start this summer,” according to the rider. Even more fitting is the fact that Ingram’s first show of the season is in Traverse City, where she has been coming every summer, since she was a small pony rider, to compete. The pair will once again be on the showgrounds next week, later travelling to the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show in North Carolina and then the Hampton Classic.


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