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Press Release


Cole Battershall and Rogelio

Cole Battershall and Rogelio

Olivia Lawton and Balin

Olivia Lawton and Clare Sargent

Clare Sargent and Candescence

Click on the above photos for details and a high resolution version.

Photographs may be used free of charge only in relation to the PMG press releases they pertain to.

Cole Battershall and Olivia Lawton Top the Junior Cards at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival III

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-18

Traverse City, MI – July 18, 2015 – Junior Hunter riders had their eyes on the prize today, the penultimate day of exhibition at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival III, and although passing morning storms delayed the schedule, horses and riders were not deterred by the unanticipated interruption and entered the ring hoping to end the week with a champion title. While some young riders still have another week left of competition in the four-week series, for others, this was the only chance to prove themselves.

The first of the age sections to take to the ring, the Junior Hunters for riders aged 15 years or younger led off the Junior card in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. With no clear leader after the first day of competition, it was anyone’s division to win with two over fences trips and a hack still to go. Starting the series on a positive note, Rolling Acres’ Rogelio, ridden over the two days by Cole Battershall, claimed the top spot in the under saddle portion. The pair continued to rally, earning second and third places in the fences classes after carefully navigating designer Keith Bollotte’s natural track. Although Katelyn Spence and her own Casiro kept it close with a number of solid performances as well, it was Battershall and Rogelio who ultimately rode away with the win, their second Junior Hunter championship in two weeks.

 “He was just imported a few months ago, so he hasn’t been doing the hunters very long,” Battershall said. “I started riding him during HITS Ocala, and he’s been doing well and being a good boy. Although Rogelio hasn’t been stateside for more than a few months, he has seemingly made a good impression on the judges in his new career, earning accolades in not only the Junior Hunters but the professional divisions with respected rider and trainer Hillary Johnson.

A Michigan-native herself, Battershall has been attending the Traverse City show for a number of years, and will stick around the showgrounds for one more week to close out the series.

“I love coming to this show, and we will definitely come back here every year,” Battershall said.

Spence and Casiro earned enough points with their strong showings today to clinch the reserve tricolors. The partners entered the day in the middle of the pack after to fifth place finishes yesterday, but gained ground with first, second, and fourth place position this afternoon.

Next on the agenda, the Junior Hunters for the 16-17 year age group took their turns in the ring, with friends Olivia Lawton and Clare Sargent sitting tied for the lead. Lawton and her personal horse Balin garnered first and second place spots to begin the first two classes of the division with momentum, mimicked by Sargent and Candescence.

Over the next three classes, both horse and rider combinations earned respectable placings, but were challenged by owner-rider Emma Lena Green aboard Hennesy, as well as Isabelle Collins and Nanette Hebert’s Cancara. The standings remained tight, but Lawton and Balin ultimately were announced as the highest point-earners just ahead of Sargent and Candescence.

Lawton had her hands full with three mounts in her respective Junior division, and although Balin ended up ahead of the rest, Outlook and Gretzky, Lawton’s other two horses, played a role in the winning pair’s success.

“Yesterday I didn’t ride my first two horses that well, so by the time I got to Balin I knew I had to kick myself in the butt, and I rode better. That definitely helped us to rack up some points, and then we stepped up today. I was running from the jumper ring to here, and they held the ring for me, thank goodness,” Lawton reflected.

The pair are coming off Junior Hunter Finals at the Chagrin Valley Horse Show in Ohio, and are looking to potentially make appearances at Equifest in Illinois and Indoor Finals in the fall. Although this was the duo’s only week in Traverse City, they took advantage of their short time at the show with strong rides throughout the past few days to compliment their series of top honors in the short time they have been a team.

“I got him just this winter, and showed him a little in Florida in the 3’3” classes successfully, so we decided to move up to the 3’6,”Lawton said. “I rode him at the beginning of the summer in a few shows and then he hurt himself unfortunately, so this is our first show back in the Juniors.”

In a heart-warming twist, long-time friend Sargent and Candescence were awarded the reserve honors after third and fourth place performances.

Great Lakes Equestrian Festival concludes its third week of competition tomorrow, with the champions announced in the Amateur-Owners divisions. The highlight of the day will take place in the Jumper Ring, as 25 hopeful entries will vie for the largest stake of the $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix. Equestrian action will resume Wednesday in Traverse City for the fourth and final week of the series.

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