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Press Release


Ehrin Rittmueller and Lockhart

Peter Pletcher, Ellen and John Eakin, and Thanks For The Gold

Peter Pletcher and Q

Peter Pletcher and Thanks For The Gold

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Peter Pletcher Duplicates Championship Efforts During the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival III

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-16

Traverse City, MI – July 16, 2015 – Professional hunter divisions wrapped up the second day of competition at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week III, and Traverse City veterans proved to be eager to win. With only one more day of showing before the $5,000 USHJA National Derby, many horses and riders took advantage of their time in the ring to prepare for the prize money class taking place Friday afternoon in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring.

For the second week in a row, Peter Pletcher and Thanks For The Gold, or Hank as he is more affectionately referred to, are able to call themselves champions in the Green Conformation Hunter division. The lofty 3’6” obstacles proved to be no trouble for the pair, earning two blue and two red ribbons in the over fences classes, complemented by a win in the under saddle.

“Hank had a bit of a fun start to his career with us, but knock on wood the horse is always game now. He really likes his job and likes being taken care of. He wants to be the best looking horse in the barn,” Pletcher said. Although he is a stallion, Pletcher and the horse’s owners mimicked each other, both claiming that he is “not stallion-like, and is actually very sweet with a great disposition.”

Owned by John and Ellen Eakin of Rancho de Los Arboles, LLC, Hank put on a good show for his owners today, who made the trek from Texas to northern Michigan.

“This is a great show and we are very proud of Hank and Peter. They are a great team together and the partnership has been fantastic,” the owners commented.

“All in all, the horses have been good, right from the start. I like the courses here and the jumps are pretty. They give you enough to look at, but they aren’t too spooky,” Pletcher reflected on his past two weeks on the showgrounds. He and his Texas-based PJP Farm are no strangers to Traverse City, and have been attending the show for a number of years.

Reserve championship honors in the division were awarded to Maria Rasmussen and Ashley Netzky’s Subject To Change, who entered the day tied for the lead with Pletcher, but fell victim to some hard rubs and the fourth place position under saddle.

The morning’s card also called for a number of entrants in the Regular Conformation Hunters, and although the placings consistently swapped between each class, it was Ehrin Rittmueller in the irons aboard Erin Galsterer’s Lockhart who showcased themselves best before judge Frank Madden.

Galsterer has owned the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding for nearly five years, and Rittmueller has ridden him for equally as long. The horse also competes with Galsterer in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, and has even made some appearances in the lead-line classes with the owner’s 5-year-old child.

“He is a natural hunter, God created him that way. He has a great temperament and we never had to show him a ton in order for him to be a great horse. He has been a winning horse since the Pre-Greens and we have brought him up through the ranks. He is such a wonderful animal,” Rittmueller praised of Lockhart.

Based only a few hours south of the horse show, Rittmueller and her counterparts have been coming to Traverse City since the show’s conception. They plan to stay on the showgrounds throughout next week, hoping to rack up a few more wins before the series’ end.

Just behind the winning pair, Caroline Weeden and Cucinelli, owned by Glory Days Farm LLC, rode their way to the first, second and fourth placings to clinch the reserve championship position.

In the combined High Performance Working Hunter and Second Year Green Working Hunter divisions, Pletcher continued his winning streak with solid trips aboard Susan Baker’s Q that would earn the horse and rider pair the coveted champion rosette. The pair navigated their way to two top marks today and the second place which, when combined with yesterday’s first and second place finishes, was easily enough to claim the most points in the standings. Q is another repeat winner for Pletcher from the second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

It has been a successful series so far for the PJP team, accumulating numerous championship tricolors and top placings in the hunter ring. Pletcher and the rest of the farm plan to stick around until the finale of the four-week series, with no intention of slowing down. Both Thanks For The Gold and fellow barn mate Q will once again show in their respective divisions next week to try and defend their championship honors for the third week in a row.

Margaret Shank Benjamin’s Corvine, another Weeden mount, earned the top placings throughout the division, as well. The duo was awarded the reserve championship, followed by Tommy Brawley and his own Snapchat who fell just shy of a championship award.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival continues Friday, with the day’s main event in the hunter ring giving competitors a chance to take home a cut of the prize money in the afternoon’s $5,000 USHJA National Derby. Later in the week, multiple $2,500 Classics will be open for riders, as well. In the jumper ring, tomorrow’s $25,000 Welcome Stake and Sunday’s $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix will be the highlights.

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