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Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Wrap-Up: July 8-12, 2015

Written by: Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG) http://www.stadiumjumping.com/sj/index.cfm
Release Date: 2015-07-12

Traverse City, MI - July 13, 2015 - Wilhem Genn has won over 100 grand prix in his career, and Sunday he added the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan, presented by the Ingram Family, to his list of accolades. Genn beat out seven other jump-off contenders for the lion's share of the earnings, riding Bugatti to the swift time of 37.900 seconds.

Keith Bollotte designed the tracks for the final day of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival II. He set a galloping track that challenged riders with varying fence heights, a problematic and airy vertical-oxer double combination, and a daunting final white vertical-liverpool. Only eight horse and rider combinations were able to navigate the opening round consisting of 13 efforts, but the rails would continue to fall in the jump-off.

Beth Underhill (CAN) was the first to return for the short course, and she duplicated her first-round effort with her veteran partner Viggo to stop the clock in 39.548 seconds and set the time to beat for the class. Two rounds later, Germany's Wilhelm Genn entered aboard Bugatti, owned by Eduardo Leone and Genn, a horse that while not known for his speed has a reputation of clearing even the most difficult of courses.

Genn was aiming for the win Sunday, legging on the chestnut and following his initial plan to shave the seconds to the third obstacle of the jump-off, the airy white vertical with the liverpool. It was his move to make it down the line with Bugatti in eight strides that gave him the ability to keep a consistent pace through the rest of the course and land 1.648 seconds ahead of Underhill.

"I am very excited for Bugatti because he has not been the same here. He still jumped well, but he wasn't as he has been all winter," Genn explained. "We made some changes this week because he was sound, his legs were perfect, he wasn't lame, so there was not really a reason why he wasn't performing the same. He was still placing, but he wasn't winning."

The already "lazy" horse was feeling especially lackadaisical Sunday, and Genn could be heard entering the ring for the shortened track saying, "Come on buddy, wake up."

Genn recounted, "He was extremely lazy, so I had to ride him really hard. I have to get after him a bit. He is not big strided, so to get eight strides to the liverpool I had to make a good run at it so I could steady at the end. That gave me the chance to run him at it a little and keep the pace throughout the rest. I knew if I did the nine strides I would lose. I took the risk, and he stepped up."

It was only last week that Genn stood in the winner's circle with Welcome COR, and Sunday he wore the same large smile. Remembering taking grand prix wins in Traverse City for over a decade with such well-known mounts as Happy Z, Chantal, and Ariado.

"It's the best feeling to be able to win two weeks in a row, especially with two different horses. A lot of the time when you win on the same horse, people assume that it is just because it is a good horse. When you win on different ones it gives you a little more credibility," he laughed. "It is very rewarding for me to win a grand prix here. We come back every year, and it doesn't matter what group of horses we bring, we usually are at the top or near it. With that being said, I am really proud of my horses, and the young ones we have moving up."

Erin Haas and As Di Chupito, owned by North Face Farm, were the next to challenge Genn's time. They made him sweat as he waited to see if they would catch his speed; however, as the pair landed from the final oxer, the clock read 38.554 seconds, just six-tenths of a second shy of the winning time.

"I am really excited to have a second place finish, I have been doing mostly the High Amateurs with that horse this year, and last week was the first prix I had done with him in a while," Haas explained. "Today he felt like he is comfortable at this height, and that I could go for the speed in the jump-off, and he was right there with me today."

Haas has been riding him for five years, and is who she would consider as her most veteran mount.

"Although I know him really well, he tends to be spooky, and he certainly keeps me on my toes," Haas joked. "There were technical parts that were hard to jump clean, and there were some areas where you could show off your speed. I was prepared for the double combination that saw all the faults because I thought he might spook at it so I was legging him through it while trying not to override it. I felt like today we matched each other."

The combination saw 10 rails from the field of competitors, with four of those rails tumbling down during the jump-off. Only four riders were able to post a double-clear effort, with Hayley Barnhill and Zephire, owned by Barnhill Enterprises, sliding into the third place with the last clear round of the jump-off in 39.370 seconds.

Underhill and Viggo completed the event in the fourth place finish with their path finding time of 39.548 seconds, while fifth place was awarded to Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster as the fastest of the four-fault efforts. Underhill also nabbed the sixth place with Cadermie, while Amanda Derbyshire and Goldbreaker took the seventh place. David Beisel and Ammeretto finished out the jump-off in the eighth place position.

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday - Saturday

The second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival kicked off with blue skies and brisk winds as horses and riders prepared for a full schedule of competition at the destination venue. New faces arrived at the Flintfields Horse Park, offering enticing jumper action as many of the nation's top riders prepared their mounts for the week's approaching highlights. David Beisel started out the second week in winning fashion, dominating the open jumper division with three decisive victories.

Keith Bollotte designed the courses in the Grand Prix Ring, challenging many of the young horses and up-and-coming mounts with a triple combination, liverpool, long lines, serpentine-like turns and rollbacks.

Beisel won the 1.20m Open Jumpers and the 1.25m Open Jumpers early in the day, while also earning the second place finish in the 1.30m Open Jumpers and the third place in the 1.35m Open Jumpers. It was his win with Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investments Enterprises of Mason, Ohio, that proved to be the icing on the cake for a great start to the second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

The course catered well to Call Me Hannes' speed and stride for the shortened track. Beisel rode the grey Holsteiner gelding to the time of 34.779 seconds, following their plan to shave the seconds. They were quick from the opening oxer through the rollback, leaving out a stride to what was originally the opening line and then sealing their victory with a sharp slice to the final vertical with a liverpool.

Beisel has been working with Call Me Hannes for about a year and a half, purchased from Derek Petersen. As an 8-year-old, Beisel worked with him to bring him to the grand prix level, an achievement they gained in Traverse City last summer.

Donald Cheska rode Calvigo to the second place finish in 35.962 seconds with a double clear round. Closing out the clean rounds of the 1.40m Open Jumper class was Beth Underhill with Count Me In, taking the third place in 38.807 seconds.

During the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumpers Liz Atkins of Hampshire, Illinois, navigated Bollotte's jump-off track with blazing speed aboard Esconial, stopping the clock in 31.731 seconds as the last contender of the class.

Atkins of Benchmark Stables is aiming to move the 10-year-old Esconial into the grand prix level during the 2015/2016-show year. She plans to keep him consistent with good placings in the 1.40m Open Jumpers Thursday, and then hopefully the $25,000 Welcome Stake on Friday.

This is Atkins first time showing at the Flintfields Horse Park, taking a leap of faith to show at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival after hearing reviews from her peers and friends.

Sarah Cleary, of Ireland, scored the second place finish with her time of 32.256 seconds aboard Imprimis. As the early leader of the class, it seemed as though her time would hold as even veteran rider Wilhelm Genn and For Fantoms Pleasure finished four-tenths of a second off her time, eventually earning the third place, but Atkins slid into the lead in the final moments.

Two-time Olympic Silver medalist Lisa Jacquin, of BDJ Enterprises in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, rode to the first place finish during the $1,250 1.30m Open Jumpers. She cleared the course in a swift 32.437 seconds with Chapel Z, with David Beisel and Rumorosa finishing just shy of her time in 32.664 seconds. Lauren Bardy and Calvin Het Wuitenshof rounded out the top three with a clear effort in a more conservative 34.773 seconds.

Two-time Olympic Silver medalist Lisa Jacquin has been showing in Michigan for over two decades, racking up wins throughout the state. After taking a year away from the Flintfields Horse Park to recover from an injury, Jacquin returned to the venue to prove on the second day of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival that she is back in top form, winning the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumper victory with Chapel Z.

Jacquin has known Karin Flint, owner of Flintfields Horse Park, for over 25 years. They started their working relationship at the Detroit Motor City Horse Shows when Jacquin looked at one of Flint's young horses and soon after began to train and work with it. Not long after, they began buying horses with the hopes of moving into the larger classes, which is exactly what Jacquin did with Chapel Z.

The 11-year-old Zangersheide Holsteiner stallion first came to Jacquin as a 3-year-old, and she worked to bring him up through the young jumper ranks. He has competed in several grand prix classes, as well as jumped at the 1.60m-level, but when Jacquin shattered her pelvis in 2013 during Horse Shows By The Bay, their training regimen changed.

Jacquin and Chapel navigated Keith Bollotte's 1.35m Open Jumper track as one of only three to master the first round. Their double clear effort in 32.335 seconds proved good enough for the first place finish Thursday.

Caitlyn Shiels and Cavalier II finished four seconds off of Jacquin's time with a double clear ride in 36.585 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire and Lady Maria BH, owned by David Gochman, finished as the last of the clean rides, stopping the clock in a conservative 39.244 seconds.

It has been an amazing two days for Liz Atkins, of Benchmark Stables, at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. After winning the 1.35m Open Jumpers on Wednesday with Esconial, she decided to move the 10-year-old gelding into the 1.40m Open Jumpers in preparation for the $25,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Amberway Equine.

Atkins returned to the ring with Undine, a mare she has jumped in several regional grand prix events with, but is now working on consistency.

Atkins took the first place finish in 35.125 seconds with Esconial, and second place with 35.615 seconds aboard Undine. Third place was awarded to Lauren Bardy and Calvin Van Het Wuitenshof for their clean jump-off time of 36.565 seconds.

The outside vertical-vertical double combination with four strides to an oxer saw several rails fall, but Atkins stayed careful through the line, saying, "Everything rode beautifully."

It was Beth Underhill and veteran mount Viggo that vaulted to the top of the leaderboard during the $25,000 Amberway Equine Welcome Stake at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Friday, winning the highlight event as the fastest of only four double clear efforts. The pair, hailing from Canada, broke the beam in 42.044 seconds to take home the lion's share of the earnings ahead of 22 contenders.

Keith Bollotte designed the courses for the $25,000 Amberway Equine Welcome Stake, testing riders with a fair yet technical track. Faults were incurred throughout the 16-effort course, with only eight able to clear the opening round and move into the jump-off.

David Beisel and Underhill were the busiest riders of the class, each qualifying with two mounts over the shortened course. Beisel was the first to test the 8-effort track with Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings LLC. The pair, known for their speed, did not disappoint in the race against the clock, posting the speedy time of 41.332 seconds. An unfortunate rail at the opening fence would cost them the victory, but give Beisel the opportunity to prepare for his second mount, Call Me Hannes.

Beisel and Call Me Hannes kicked off the week with a win in the 1.40m Open Jumpers, preparing for the $25,000 Amberway Welcome Stake and Sunday's $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan. They duplicated their double-clear effort from earlier in the week, tripping the timers in 42.597 seconds Friday.

Beisel has been working with Call Me Hannes, purchased from Derek Petersen, for about a year and a half. Beisel worked with the horse, then eight years old, to bring him to the grand prix level, an achievement they gained in Traverse City last summer.

Beisel would hold the lead until Underhill entered the ring to challenge his time two rounds later.

Underhill was able to watch Beisel set the time to beat on Call Me Hannes, and from watching his track; she had a general idea of what would work well for her veteran partner Viggo.

Beisel wore a target on his back as Underhill and Viggo picked up the pace and tackled the track, utilizing Viggo's large stride to cover the ground and shave the seconds. They landed from the final oxer in 42.044 seconds, setting a new benchmark for the remaining three competitors to attempt to catch.

Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster, owned by father Wilhelm Genn, also posted a double clear effort, but their more conservative speed would garner them the third place finish behind Beisel in 43.380 seconds. Erin Haas and As Di Chupito posted the final clear effort of the jump-off, stopping the clock in 43.758 seconds for the fourth place.

Wilhelm Genn and Welcome COR, owned by Ann Anastasio, were the fastest of the four-faulters, earning the fifth place with the time of 41.035 seconds as the last to return for the jump-off. Beisel rounded out the top six with Ammeretto with his four-fault ride early on in the jump-off.

Underhill has plans to ride Viggo and barn mate Cadermie in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan on Sunday, which will be their last day competing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

For 13-year-old Emma Wujek, the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic is a new challenge in her riding career. It is only her first year competing in the High Junior Jumper division, yet she is not letting experience hold her back. Saturday afternoon she clinched the victory during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival event with Ugaf in 43.75 seconds.

Keith Bollotte's course proved challenging for the field of riders Saturday as he tested them with an oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination, an airy vertical-vertical double combination, liverpool, triple bar, and distances that demanded rideability. Six riders were able to master the opening track for the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, but none would post a double clean effort in the jump-off.

Kirstie Lynn Dobbs and Barilla were the first to return for the short track, but they pulled a rail at the second obstacle of the course, a white vertical set against the far end of the ring, finishing on the four faults to kick off the course and begin a trend. Wujek was next in to test the track, and although she had the fastest speed of the contenders, tripping the timers in 43.75 seconds, she incurred four faults at the liverpool, heading into the final line of the course.

With four riders following, it seemed as though defeat was in the winds for Wujek; however, each consecutive rider incurred eight faults or more. Wujek claimed the victory with her speedy four-fault effort.

Wujek has been riding Ugaf since the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. She has moved up the ranks with him, and is now gearing up for the 2015 North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Kentucky, which start next week.

During the NAJYRC, Wujek will compete alongside friends Vivian Yowan and Daisy Farish. It will be her first year competing at the annual event, and she is going into it brimming with confidence and excitement. The 13-year-old is also aiming to qualify for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Finals at the CP National Horse Show this fall.

Taylor Reid and Boucanier captured the third place finish as the fastest of the eight-fault efforts. She posted the time of 44.592 seconds, while Laurel McAllister and Cnut 4 followed in the fourth place with eight faults in 46.44 seconds. Ryan Genn and Zenith B concluded the classic in the fifth place position with eight jumping faults and two time faults, while Emma Sargent and No Fear rounded out the top six.

Although Vivian Yowan did not qualify for the jump-off Saturday afternoon, the 17-year-old was awarded the division's championship for her rides throughout the week.

During the $7,500 NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, 21-year-old Emily Reder and Byolga took the win in 38.201 seconds as the only double clear effort of the class. Although she did not have the fastest time of the three qualifiers, it was her clear round that would give her the win.

That is precisely what Reder did. Under the tutelage of David Beisel, Reder was riding to win with a careful balance of speed and accuracy. She stayed careful from fence two to 12 at the opening of the course, aware of the risk in jumping two tall verticals. She stayed tidy back to the yellow oxer and then took a non-negotiable turn inside to the two-stride.

Reder is currently studying Finance and Sales at Baylor University, juggling the schoolwork and riding schedule to the best of her abilities so she can continue pursuing her passion of riding.

Dana Wille and Mach 5 finished in the second place with four faults in 36.677 seconds, while Cathy Rolfs and Coco Chanelle took the third place award with four faults in 39.049 seconds. Rolfs was also awarded the division's championship tricolor for their efforts throughout the week.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday

Following a successful first week of competition, exhibitors were eager to return to the show ring for more chances to take home the blues at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival at Flintfields Horse Park. With nearly 400 more stalls occupied in the barns, the competition gained another element due to the increase in entries. Although they were not attending the first week, the familiar faces of Traverse City veterans Peter Pletcher and Maria Rasmussen were quick to make their presence known in the professional hunter divisions, facing off against last week's frontrunner Tim Goguen and his numerous mounts.

The combined divisions of the Second Year Green Working Hunter and the High Performance Working Hunters, sponsored by PJP Farm, will begin again Thursday with Peter Pletcher at the head of the pack. Pletcher, owner and trainer of the Texas-based PJP Farm, rode Susie Baker's bay gelding Q to the first and second place finish Wednesday morning to earn an initial 16 points in the division. Goguen and Saddle Ridge LLC's Ransom currently sit in the second position with 12 points, having earned the first and the fourth from the judges.

Wednesday's competition consisted of an eight-effort over fences and handy round designed by Danny Moore. The divisions conclude tomorrow with two more over fences portions, as well as the under saddle. Pletcher returned to the ring with two more rides in the first portion of the Green Conformation Hunter division, once again proving why he is one of the premier hunter riders in the nation, with strong showings on both horses. Repeating his efforts aboard Rancho De Los Arboles, LLC's Thanks For The Gold, Pletcher earned another first and second place spot to kick off the division.

"He is our pretty horse, and has been doing great in the show ring. This is a super steady horse," Pletcher complimented of his partner, known in the barn as "Hank." Hank is one of the 20 horses in Pletcher's repertoire that made the trek to Michigan. The farm will continue to be in attendance at Flintfields Horse Park for the next three weeks, with a number of horses making appearances in the week-end derbies. Ashley Netzky's Corporate, shown by Maria Rasmussen, will try to take over the lead tomorrow. The pair is close behind Pletcher and Hank, having been awarded the first and the third position in the fences and handy portions, respectively.

Rasmussen and Pletcher both had other rides in the class-the former riding another Netzky horse, the chestnut Subject To Change, and Pletcher with the ride aboard Cancara. Next on the card, the First Year Green Working Hunters, generously sponsored by Wrenwood Farm, attracted the likes of the morning riders Pletcher, Rasmussen, and Goguen, as well as Hillary Johnson, Meagan Murray, and Geoffrey Hesslink. Goguen started out with the win in the fences class aboard Garland Alban's Capella, followed by a fourth, and also navigated Belhaven Stables LLC's Rookie to a second and fifth place ribbons. Johnson and the grey Moonwalk, owned by Michigan-based Copper Fox LLC, stayed consistent with two finishes in the third position.

Her competitors may still be in the hunt, but it will be Rasmussen leading the field headed into the final half of the division tomorrow. Once again in the irons aboard Corporate, the two improved upon their performance in the morning's Conformation classes, this time claiming the blue and red ribbon to top the judges' cards. Rasmussen and her mounts will stick around for the next three weeks of the series, and plan to give Pletcher a run for his money in the weekly $5,000 USHJA National Derbies and the Week IV $25,000 USHJA International Derby, sponsored by the Gochman Family. The $10,000 Great Lakes 3'6" Hunter Classic this upcoming Sunday may also see an appearance from Rasmussen and Corporate.

In a mimic of the prior day's competition, three professional riders continued to dominate the hunter divisions in multiple rings at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. Peter Pletcher, Tim Goguen and Maria Rasmussen all took turns winning, forming a near unbeatable trio that took both the champion and reserve titles in four divisions all before the afternoon.

Numerous competitors tried to break into the winner's circle, many of which were able to produce high-quality performances, but none proved apt enough to take the wins away from the three frontrunners.

Maintaining his position as leader after Wednesday's first and second place finishes, Peter Pletcher continued to rally with Susan Baker's Q Thursday, claiming three more blue ribbons in the Second Year Green Working Hunters, coincidentally sponsored by Pletcher's own PJP Farm.

Rounding out the top two in the runner-up position was Saddle Ridge LLC's Ransom, ridden throughout the division by Tim Goguen of Lexington-based Boggs Hill Farm.

Off to a great start to the week in only the second day of competition, Pletcher added another win to his name in the Green Conformation Hunters with Rancho De Los Arboles LLC's Thanks For The Gold. Coming off a strong showing Wednesday, Pletcher solidified the pair's top rank with two firsts and the second Thursday morning.

Although the reserve champion did not compete in the under saddle portion of the division, Goguen and Anytime, owned by Boggs Hill Farm, accumulated enough points in the first four classes of the division to earn the second-highest number of points behind Pletcher and 'Hank.'

Next door in the secondary hunter ring, Pletcher mounted aboard another horse, this time Sue Lightner's Sandriano as an entrant in the $1,000 Pre-Green Hunter Incentive Stake. The pair bested a field of 20 competitors to walk away with the champion honors, followed by MTM Friend Request, owned by Ashley Netzky and ridden by Rasmussen, claiming the second place honors.

The First Year Green Working Hunters, generously sponsored by Wrenwood Farm and Jenny Sutton, got underway in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, once again with a number of heavy hitters in the mix. Rasmussen and Corporate started the day with a slight advantage, having been awarded the blue and red ribbons by the judges Wednesday, but fell victim to a downed rail, losing the lead to one of Goguen's two mounts. Taking advantage of their window of opportunity, Goguen and Capella produced two quality rounds and a strong flat performance to clinch the champion title. Capella is a repeat winner as the champion in the same division last week.

Just recently purchased at the end of the Florida circuit, Capella has been carrying momentum in the First Year Green division, having earned numerous champion and reserve rosettes at premier events in both Florida and Kentucky.

Rasmussen was able to regain ground in the flat portion, winning the class to help her and Corporate to the reserve tricolors. Always hot on the tails of the two leaders, Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC's Moonwalk also earned high marks throughout the division, only ever placing below the third position in the under saddle.

The third day of competition served as the first day of showing for the Junior Hunters at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, and although they may be young, a number of select riders proved to have talent beyond their years. Horses and riders still have to return to the ring Saturday to earn a champion title, but the Gochman sisters, Claire Azar, Vivian Yowan and Martha Ingram all solidified their claims as formidable contenders with strong performances resulting in top placings Friday in their respective divisions.

It took the Gochman family approximately 18 hours to make the trek from their home base in New York City to the northern sector of Michigan, but judging by the two young girls' strong placings Friday, it seems the trip was worthwhile. Sisters Sophie and Mimi Gochman, ages 12 and 10 respectively, dominated the Junior Hunters at the 3'3" height this afternoon, riding their way to the first through fourth positions in the first class of the division, as well as three of the top four spots in the second, much to the chagrin of the 11 other entrants in the division.

Five horses were split between the two girls, with World Time and Romance ultimately earning the largest share of the points for the young riders. Sophie navigated World Time to the first and third place finishes, closely followed by Mimi and Romance in the points after a second and fourth ranking by the judges. The girls' affection for their horses, both owned by father David Gochman, was apparent as they praised the geldings following their impressive rides.

The girls have been riding horses since the ripe age of 18 months, following in their mother's footsteps as lovers of the equestrian sport. Although the girls' father doesn't ride, he has his own stake as the patriarch of such an involved equine family, as well as generously sponsoring the four weeks of the Traverse City-based horse show.

In the same division with the fences raised to a height of 3'6", a collection of riders for the 15 and under age group took to the ring hoping to earn the advantage headed into tomorrow's competition. Last week, Claire Azar's grey gelding Lucky Times earned the title of champion with fellow rider Emma Wujek aboard, but this time it was the owner in the saddle. Azar and her mount navigated the over fences and handy rounds to the tune of the first and fifth places to take the early lead in the division.

The high school freshman, out of Indianapolis, Indiana, only recently acquired Lucky Times at the end of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, but has accumulated a number of wins with him in that short time. The pair is coming off a strong performance last month at the Showplace Spring Spectacular in Wayne, Illinois, and they are hoping to qualify for the ASPCA Maclay Finals in the fall. Azar also owns Playboy, who she rode to a blue ribbon in the show ring Friday as well, but chose to only enter him in one of the day's classes. Described as sassy by his rider-owner, Playboy is a relatively new addition to Azar's horses, having been purchased last fall, and is her main mount in the equitation ring. She and "Hef," as he is known in the barn, also hope to compete in the equitation indoor finals later this year.

The eldest age section of the Junior Hunters, the 16- and 17-year-olds, was next to showcase themselves in the hunter ring, and it looked to be a three-horse race between Boggs Hill Farm's Anytime, Belhaven Stables LLC's Character, and the Ingram Family's Absolut. Vivian Yowan had the rides aboard Anytime and Character, while Martha Ingram was in the irons on mount Absolut.

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.

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 Saturday,
riding their way to two blue ribbons in the over fences classes and the second place finish in the under saddle. Friday the pair stayed consistent with two third position placings.

The pair will attempt to add to their collection of ribbons with a win in Sunday'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 showground 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.

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.

With the rain finally subsiding to sunshine in the late morning, an anxious group of hunter riders took their turns navigating designer Danny Moore's natural course with the hopes of earning the largest part of the $5,000 pot in the morning's USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Camping World, or the $10,000 Great Lakes 3'6" Hunter Classic. Moore presented riders with a variety of opportunities to earn points throughout the two-phase competition, especially in the handy round, and while some inside option turns posed difficult for a large number of the competitors, those who were able to efficiently ride their chosen track proved why they deserved top marks from the judges.

The first round of competition served to reduce the field in the USHJA National Hunter Derby from the initial 27 down to the 12 returners with the highest scores. Headed into the handy phase, Martha Ingram and her family's Cayero had the lead with a score of 93, followed by the 91 score awarded to Hillary Johnson and Voyager, owned by Michigan-based Copper Fox LLC. The only two to earn a mark in the 90s, the leaders were trailed by a dense group of scorers in the 80th percentile.

Hayley Barnhill with John and Stephanie Ingram's Ice Time claimed the third spot with an 89, Geoffrey Hesslink and Team Rakowsky Equestrian's J'Adore scored an 88 to sit in fourth, with another Johnson mount, Sorrento, taking fifth with a score of 87.5. Rounding out the top six spots was Greg Crolick aboard Claybrook Farms' Encore CBF, earning marks of 87. With the top six separated by only 6 points, it was anyone's class to win as the second portion of competition got underway.

Riding in reverse order of the standings, the 12th place rider took to the ring first. By the time the sixth-place horse and rider were due to take their turn, the high score was already a 173, which meant that the frontrunners needed to produce a ride equal to or better than their initial scores to have a shot at the blue. Mastering the course better than the rest, Hesslink and his mare earned the highest score of the entire class with a 94, taking all the high options. Although three riders were still to go, Hesslink's cumulative score of 182 would prove high enough to hold onto the lead.

Hesslink and the 6-year-old mare are new to each other, having only competed in the show ring a handful of times together. Regardless of their new pairing, the duo has proven to be a good match early in their career together, putting in strong performances in the Pre-Green Hunters. The champion horse and rider will stay in Traverse City for two more weeks, hoping to earn more top ribbons in the weekly classics and derbies, followed by the travel south to the Pre-Green Incentive Finals in Lexington, Kentucky next month.

Runner-up with a score of 179.5, Ingram and Cayero claimed the reserve tricolors and the second position in the victory gallop. Johnson took both third and fourth place with mounts Sorrento and Voyager, respectively, followed by Maria Rasmussen and Whitney Sinclair's Laredo in fifth. Melissa Donnelly and Corlando 49, owned by Elizabeth Becker, improved upon their first-round placing with a handy score of 87 to move into the sixth spot.

A quick footing drag and a course change later, entrants were prepped to vie for a stake in the $10,000 Great Lakes 3'6" Hunter Classic. Another two-round class, horses and riders had two shots to earn high marks from the judges, and after the first trips, owner-rider Clare Sargent and Coup de Coeur held the top spot with their score of 85. The competition was close, though, with four competitors hot on her tail brandishing tallies of 80 or above. Only one point behind Sargent was Ingram and her grey gelding Absolut, with Kristen Berian and her own Black Gold only one point out of the second spot. Ehrin Rittmueller and Chicago sat in fourth with their score of 82, and Rasmussen and Corporate, owned by Ashley Netzky, held fifth place with an 80-mark.

Tested by the challenges of the handy round, a bit of place-swapping occurred amongst the leaders in the second phase. Only two of the initial top six teams, Ingram and Rasmussen, improved upon their first-round score, with the others falling victim to unfortunate swapped leads, hard rubs, or a downed rail. Ingram took advantage of her opportunity as the second-to-last to ride, knowing that she needed better than an 80 to overtake the lead with only one pair to follow her.

Rising to the challenge, she and Absolut garnered an 87 score, pushing them to the top of the leaderboard with a total of 171. Sargent and Coup de Coeur put in a solid trip as the last to go, but were unable to maintain their initial lead earning an 81.

Rasmussen and Corporate, frequent winners this week in the hunter ring, moved up from fifth to third with their high mark of 84, followed by Berian and Black Gold in fourth position. Sargent and her second mount, Albert, clinched the fifth position just ahead of Rittmueller and Christine Braeutigam's Chicago in the sixth spot.

For more information, please visit www.greatlakesequestrian.com or www.stadiumjumping.com.

 

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