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Press Release


Cole Battershall and Rogelio

Vivian Yowan and Character

Mimi Gochman and Romance

Sophie Gochman and World Time_champ

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New and Repeat Winners in the Junior Hunters at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-11

Traverse City, MI – July 11, 2015 – The youngest members of the hunter ring took center stage once again during the penultimate day of competition at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival II, and while some competitors were able to overtake the initial division leaders, others would prove no match for the winning horses and riders. At the end of the day, some champions will have to make room in the tack trunk for more prizes as winners for the second week in a row, while other breakouts solidified their presence with a first-time win this week.

Kicking off the morning in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, the Junior 3’6” Hunters, generously sponsored by Hillside Farm, the Bloomfield Hunt Club, and Heather Irvine, returned to conclude the second half of the 15 and Under section of the division, with Claire Azar and her grey gelding Lucky Times hoping to maintain their top spot. Unfortunately for the leader, Cole Battershall and Rogelio, owned by Rolling Acres, came back with a vengeance today, riding their way to two blue ribbons in the over fences classes and the second place finish in the under saddle. Yesterday the pair stayed consistent with two third position placings.

“He has been a really good boy so far and I’m getting along with him very well,” Battershall said of Rogelio, whom she just began leasing during the HITS Ocala circuit this past winter.

The Traverse City horse show has been a staple on the Michigan-native’s calendar each summer, having made the travels up north for the past five years.

“I like this show a lot up here, and it is probably my favorite show to come to,” the champion reflected.

The pair will attempt to add to their collection of ribbons with a win in tomorrow’s $5,000 USHJA National Derby, sponsored by Camping World, and will continue to compete at Flintfields Horse Park for the final two weeks of the series. Following this show, the duo will travel south to the Kentucky Summer Series, and later in the fall, Battershall will try her hand with another mount at the ASPCA Maclay and Pessoa Regionals.

Although she lost the lead position, Azar and Lucky Times were able to place well enough to clinch the reserve spot just behind Battershall and Rogelio.

Next in the ring to take on designer Danny Moore’s natural track, were the 16- and 17-year-olds who hoped to accumulate enough points to overtake the lead or, in Vivian Yowan’s case, retain it. Unlike the prior division of the morning, this one didn’t result in an exchange of the lead as Yowan continued to reel in top placings with Boggs Hill Farm‘s Character. The pair repeated their efforts, having also earned the champion honors last week in the same division.

Yowan is a steady contributor to the success of Boggs Hill Farm, the Lexington-based business owned by Tim and Kelly Goguen. Over the course of the past two weeks, the farm has racked up numerous tricolors and solidified themselves as formidable competitors on the showgrounds both in the hunter and jumper rings. The team only has one more day on the property though, as they will head back to their hometown for the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park. Yowan and fellow rider Emma Wujek will compete on the Junior Show Jumping team for the United States.
Martha Ingram and her family horse Absolut, only a few points behind Yowan and Character, claimed the runner-up position, an honor they earned last week as well. The partners earned the first, third and sixth place to round out the division.

Horses and riders entered in the final Junior division of the day, the Junior 3’3” Hunters, returned to the ring faced with the task of trying to surpass the sisters of Sophie and Mimi Gochman, who navigated their way to a commanding lead the prior day. Proving that their short stature contrasts with their big talent, the two sisters easily maintained the lead, even taking the top placings in both over fences classes and the hack this afternoon. The eldest sister, Sophie, won the champion tricolors with her mount World Time, while younger sister Mimi kept it in the family with the reserve honors aboard Romance. Both horses are owned by their father, David Gochman.

“I’m so excited. It’s a very tough division with a lot of competition, so it’s a big accomplishment to win this,” noted the champion. World Time, aptly given the barn name ‘Dove’ because of a dove-shaped facial marking, is in his second year with Sophie. The horse is only a year older than his rider at 13 years of age, and the pair hopes to have more victories in the future.

Expressing her love for not only the equestrian sport but the horses themselves, Sophie acted older than her age as the 12-year-old claimed that her favorite part of the equine lifestyle is “connecting with the horses. I like that the longer you know them the stronger the bond you have.”

Although the young riders took the utmost honors aboard World Time and Romance, the sisters performed well atop a few other horses as well, with Sophie riding the dark bay Mythical and Mimi in the irons aboard the chestnut Touchdown.

Week II of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will conclude tomorrow, but not before the highlight hunter events of the week take place. Following the naming of the champions in the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions, the $5,000 USHJA National Derby, sponsored by Camping World, and the $10,000 3’6” Great Lakes Hunter Classic will attract entries hoping to end the week with a win.

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