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Press Release


David Beisel and Ammeretto

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival III Wrap-Up: July 15-19, 2015

Written by: Carrie Wirth
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-19

Traverse City, MI - July 20, 2015 - David Beisel and Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings LLC, wasted no time in the jump-off round to edge out Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster, owned by Wilhelm and Patty Genn, the only other double clear round of the $50,000 Flintfields Grand Prix presented by North Face Farm. The Genns kept it in the family, with Ryan’s father, Wilhelm Genn, claiming third place aboard Bugatti, owned by Eduardo Leon, who were clear in the first round but incurred one time fault.

Twenty-five horse and rider combinations tried their hand at Leopoldo Palacios challenging and technical course. Palacios placed several new fences, unseen throughout the week, into the mix including a stone wall as the first on the course and a beautiful replica of the Mackinaw Bridge. A liverpool/oxer to the skinny Mackinaw Bridge jump, a very short four strides or a long three strides, cost many a rail. The triple bar to a one-stride vertical was another line that required perfect execution and caught some competitors with a knockdown. Time was another major factor with the course, and the time allowed was adjusted after the first round to 85 seconds. Palacios tested the horses and riders to do be accurate, tidy and fast.

“At the end of the week I am more difficult,” said Palacios about his courses. “The most important is developing horses and riders–not to over face them. Many people say I am too strong. But I am strong when I need to be strong. I try to bring to them the best they can be.”

Both Beisel and Genn said that they were excited about the course when they walked it. Palacios achieved his goal with them.

Genn was 11 in the order of go and was the very first to have a fault-free first round aboard Cookie Monster, who he describes as a little slow but a huge jumper who loved the larger, harder course. It wasn’t determined until Beisel and Ammeretto’s round, 18 in the order, that there would be a jump-off round when the duo executed the only other clear round within the time allowed.

The two horses who progressed to the jump-off couldn’t be more different, yet both are extremely effective in their own style. Ammeretto is an 8-year-old, 16-hand Dutch Warmblood stallion. A quick and catty athlete, he is lightening fast and jumps effortlessly. Cookie Monster is a huge 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding with an enormous stride and a big jump who makes the courses look easy.

Genn piloted Cookie Monster smoothly and flawlessly around the short course in a time of 41.090 seconds, then Beisel sped Ammeretto around the course and broke the beam 38.013 seconds to claim the first place prize.

Prior to this afternoon’s Grand Prix, Beisel also saw success when he topped the leaderboard of the Young Jumper Championship Qualifier for the 7-year olds. Beisel and Donnaludine, owned by Equine Holdings LLC were the only two to go double clear in this morning’s class, trailed by Liz Atkins and Rodeo VDL, owned by Benchmark Stables LLC, in second place with a time of 81.652; a whole 3.75 seconds faster than the third place pair, Theo Genn and Dirocco Blue, owned by Eduardo Leon.

The championship title of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic was also awarded Sunday, with Erin Haas of North Face Farms, sponsors of the afternoon’s $50,000 Grand Prix, clinching the win. Haas and Coachella, owned by North Face Farm, were the only pair to go double clear in the class. The pair also navigated to a first place in Friday’s class and landed fifth place on Thursday, enough to name them the champions of the division. Ryan Genn and Zenith B. came in second.

Haas and Coachella plan to finish out next week at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival to gain some mileage in the High Amateurs. In early August the pair will make the trek to Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show in Zionsville, Indiana, followed by the American Gold Cup in North Salem, New York in Sept., two horse shows also managed by Stadium Jumping, Inc. The Haas family generously supports the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival circuit through their sponsorship.

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday

Week III of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival kicked off at glorious Flintfields Horse Park just outside of Traverse City, Michigan where yellow daffodils and other summer bloomers contrasted a deep blue clear sky. It was the ideal setting to compete show jumpers in the Grand Prix Arena.

The quintessential sportsman, Wilhelm Genn ended the day on a high note, clinching the win in the 1.40m class aboard For Fantom’s Pleasure, owned by Karola Giebmanns. The pair edged out Caitlyn Shiels and her own Cavalier II and David Beisel and Redfield Farm’s Alastar, who were both double clear around Leopoldo Placios’ straightforward and open track. Liz Atkins and Undine, owned by Benchmark Stables LLC, also progressed to the jump-off round but had an unfortunate rail to land the pair in fourth.

Genn calls For Fantom’s Pleasure a late-starter with tremendous talent. The pair have only competed in a few 1.40m classes and this was the first time they started out the week at that height.

Genn said that he was torn as to whether or not to compete him in the $25,000 Welcome Stake on Friday.

Lisa Goldman announced to Michigan that she is in the house by earning the blue ribbons in the 1.30m and 1.35m classes. After multiple victories at Spring Spectacular at Lamplight in Chicago in June, this competitor is a well-mounted force in the ring. Goldman brought 15 horses, six that she will compete. With Morocco and Centurion, she will aim for the top prizes in the $25,000 Welcome Stake Friday and the $50,000 Flintfields Grand Prix, presented by North Face Farm Sunday.

In the 1.35m class, Goldman and Sovereign outran three other double clear horse and rider contenders, including the second place finisher Amanda Derbyshire and David Blake’s Abazhu BHS as well as Jill Knowles’ two mounts – third place Condeza Z and fourth place Fanta, both of which she owns..

With Hindsight in the 1.30m class, Goldman eclipsed the second place finisher, Doublethink LLC’s Chantal piloted by Javier Berganza Anderhus, by nearly two full seconds. Twelve horse and rider teams out of 23 had fault-free first rounds and 10 were double clear.

The Junior and Amateur/Owner Jumper classes kicked off on Thursday during Week III of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival at beautiful Flintfields Horse Park just outside of the popular tourist destination of Traverse City, Michigan. Another picture perfect day was especially bright for Alliy Moyer and her horse Etoile Van't Lambroeck who nabbed the win of the High Junior A/Os in the afternoon.
Last to go in the class, there had not yet been one double clear when Moyer and her horse entered the Grand Prix Arena. Her first round was smooth and nearly flawless followed by the singular fault-free jump-off round. Moyer overcame Maria Yzerman and Player de Brocelia and Taylor Reid and Akida, who advanced to the jump off round but both had a rail during the short track and ended second and third respectively.
Moyer is a 21-year-old student at University of Indianapolis, where she is studying public relations and environmental science. She currently balances her schoolwork with showing her four horses,
Etoile Van't Lambroeck, Chicco 337, Carlson and Beorn. She competes two in the High A/O Jumpers, one in the A/O Hunters, and one in the Low A/O Jumpers.  
Moyer is the sponsor of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival $15,000 High Junior A/O Jumper Classic during Week IV.
Out of nearly 30 entries in the Lows Junior A/O Jumpers, 11 horse and rider combinations progressed to the short course with seven double clear. Benjamin Simpkins sped his way to the first two positions on the leaderboard with his mounts Pouquoi Pas Z and Chopin Z respectively. MacKenzie Snider and her Zancantos Z earned third place.

Chopin Z is a 13-year-old I've had for four or five- years he's doing the high amateurs and the small grand prix," Simpkins said. "He's my ribbon machine. The chestnut (Pouquoi Pas Z) is a 7-year-old stallion I bought last summer. They'll both do the Saturday class ($7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic) and that's it. They don't need to do anything else because they were so good Thursday."

This is Simpkins first time competing in the Traverse City circuit and  the one-two finish is a positive way to start off. 

Lisa Goldman and Mary Goldman’s Centurion B bested a large field of horse and athlete combinations over a track built by FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios. The pair earned the lead spot in the victory gallop in the $25,000 Welcome Stake during Week III of Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. David Beisel and Call me Hannes raced to the second place spot in the sensational class.

Of the nearly 30 entrants, 13 had fault-free rounds and progressed to the jump-off round. First to go, Wilhelm Genn and Welcome Cor, owned by Ann Anastasio, had a rail and a time of 37.810 seconds. David Beisel and Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC, was next to try his hand at Palacios short course. The pair succeeded in leaving all the jumps in the cups and tripped the timer at 37.036 seconds, taking the lead and the time to beat.

Thursday’s High Junior Amateur/Owner Jumper winner Alliy Moyer and her own Etoile Van’t Lambroeck were next but downed a rail with a time of 39.001 seconds. Next to try for a clear jump off was Amanda Derbyshire and David Gochman’s Lady Maria BH, who became the second double clear finisher with a time of 39.099 seconds, and temporarily took the second place position.

Next to go, Goldman and Centurion B claimed the lead with a clear and blazing fast round in 36.235 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire then returned to the Grand Prix Arena with Cannavaro BH, also owned by David Gochman. The pair became the third of the four-faulters and stopped the clock at 40.356 seconds. Texan Tommy Brawley and his own Nando KCT also went fault-free in 45.031 seconds, which would eventually land the duo in seventh place.

Goldman and her own Morocco were clear and fast in 37.173 seconds, but not fast enough to best her previous performance and Beisel’s time on Call Me Hannes. Goldman ultimately took the third spot with Morroco. Cookie Monster, owned by Wilhem Genn and piloted by Ryan Genn, joined the double clear ranks with a speedy time of 38.421 seconds and earned the fourth place prize. Moyer returned with her next mount, Chicco 337, and laid down another clean trip in 42.338 seconds for the sixth place.

Goldman had four faults in the jump-off with Aslan, owned by Charity Judge. Amanda Derbyshire and her own Goldbreaker had two down for eight faults and Erin Haas and As di Chupito, owned by North Face Farm, also ended with eight faults and just out of the money.

Goldman chose to do five strides instead of six to the liverpool, but she said she shaved the corner a bit too much which made her slow down over the next jump, a plank. The horse and rider pair did seven strides instead of six in the next line but were still fast enough to overtake Beisiel’s lead.

Second place finisher in the Welcome Stake, Call Me Hannes is 9 years old and Beisel purchased him last January in Ocala. He competed in his last Grand Prix here at Flintfields Park a year ago.

Enigma, owned by Eduardo Leon and ridden by Theo Genn, repeated last week’s success at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival by earning another championship in the 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Division. Rev Media Marketing LLC’s Five Star, ridden by David Beisel, was named reserve champion of the division.

Genn says he plans to continue working up through the Young Jumper divisions and eventually start in the 1.40m. The pair won one of their classes, were second in one, and fourth in the third to earn them the championship of the 6-Year-Olds for the second consecutive week.

Samantha Wagner, an amateur rider from South Barrington, Illinois, and her chestnut Zwiebrucker gelding, L’Etoile, outrode a field of 32 horse and rider combinations to win the $7,500 NAL Junior Amateur Classic during Week III of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival at the expansive and lovely Flintfields Horse Park. Eight competitors had clean first rounds over Leopoldo Palacios’ track but Wagner and L’Etoile were the only to achieve double clear rounds. Madison Billings, another amateur from North Barrington, and Stonestreet were the fastest of the four-faulters and won the red ribbon.

The course included a very tight five strides from the out of an oxer-vertical one-stride to a white fan-standard vertical. Many of the riders with clean first rounds were unable to shorten enough to keep the rails in the cups of the white vertical.

Billings, the second place finisher agreed with Wagner, “Saturday’s course was really technical, especially the jump-off. I think it really tested the riders. I’m fortunate that my horse is good at slicing the corners. I had a rail, so I just decided to let it flow then after that.”

The first pair to complete a fault- free round was Benjamin Simpkins from Wellington, Florida and Chopin Z, the second place finishers in Thursday’s Low Junior Amateur/Owner class. The duo downed a rail leaving them with four faults in a time of 40.743 seconds. The next clean first round went to Danielle Duryea, a junior rider from Dublin, Ohio and her Hanoverian mare Sambalita. The team completed the short track in 43.464 seconds, but also fell victim to a rail and slid into second place temporarily.

Amateur Andrew Januzzi from Eastpointe, Michigan and his mount Windsor also progressed to the jump- off round but incurred eight faults. Several rounds later, Louisa Brackett, a junior from Grays Lake, Illinois and her Irish Sport Horse Memphis Belle achieved a clean first round. In the short course they outran the competition, tripping the timers at 38.988 seconds and sliding into the lead, if not only momentarily.

The next clean first rounder was the duo of Stonestreet and Billings who took over the lead after their jump-off round, completed in 37.847 seconds with four faults. Mach 5 and owner Dana Wille, a junior from Dexter, Michigan, repeated the four-fault score in their short track but had the slower time of 39.076 seconds that would eventually earn them fourth place.

Wagner and L’Etoile were 26 in the order and would be the first and only double clear effort of the class, earning them the lead spot in the victory gallop and the championship of the division, while Billings and Stonestreet claimed the second place prize. Benjamin Simpkins and Porquoi Pas Z were awarded the division’s reserve championship.

Billings was also very complimentary of her horse, Stonestreet, and their partnership in the jumper ring.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday

Into its third week of competition, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival began on a picturesque day welcoming numerous competitors, family, friends and spectators to Flintfields Horse Park. Under blue skies, the quaint tourist town played host to a series of strong performances from exhibitors in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. Perhaps the hunter rider who took best advantage of the day was Maria Rasmussen, who started out her show week with high-scoring rounds in multiple back-to-back divisions. She was followed closely by the likes of Geoffrey Hesslink, Sarah Mechlin, Hillary Johnson, and Peter Pletcher, all hoping to surpass the early leader Thursday.

The Performance Working Hunters at the 3’6” fence height began with Mechlin and Hesslink tied for the lead after the first two classes, both earning a first and fourth place. It is no wonder that Mechlin and her mount, Barney Jacob’s Southside, were at the top considering that the rider has been competing with the horse for nearly four years. Although the gelding trains with Heather Irvine and Tammy Nimbach of Michigan-based Hillside Farm, the Missourian claims that he has been one of her more consistent rides over the years.

The horse also competes with his owner in the Large Junior Hunters, and will be on the showgrounds two more weeks to finish out the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival series.

It was a different story for Hesslink and Jos Van Kouterhoeve, owned by Salim Radi., as Hesslink just picked up the ride after the 7-year- old gelding’s recent importation from across the pond.

Unfortunately for the initial leaders, Rasmussen and Over Fences Farm LLC’s Quite Chocolate overtook them in the point standings with a blue ribbon in the hack. Mechlin took third followed closely by Hesslink in fourth. The horse and rider pair of Rasmussen and Quite Chocolate consistently improved their placings throughout the first half of the division, having been awarded a third spot finish in the over fences phase and a runner-up placing in the handy round.

The First Year Green Working Hunters will kick off on Thursday with Rasmussen in the lead after earning the top two spots in both of the day’s classes with two different mounts. Memorable, another Over Fences Farm LLC horse, and Ashley Netzky’s Corporate swapped places between the two over fences classes, each awarded first and second places from the judges to top the leaderboard early on in competition.

Michigan-native Hillary Johnson, also with two rides in the division, earned both third positions, first with Copper Fox LLC’s grey Moonwalk and then with Rolling Acres’ Rogelio. Just behind her with two fourth place ribbons was Caroline Weeden in the irons aboard Margaret Shank Benjamin’s Oak Grove. Both competitors will have to fend off Rasmussen with solid performances Thursday over fences and in the hack if they hope to claim the rosettes.

As if leading two divisions on only the first day of competition wasn’t enough, Rasmussen will head into Thursday tied for the top spot with Peter Pletcher and the stallion Thanks For The Gold in the Green Conformation Hunters. This time aboard Netzky’s chestnut Subject To Change, the pair clinched a blue and red ribbon to match those of Pletcher and Rancho de los Arboles LLC’s ‘Hank.’ It was the latter horse-and-rider pair who navigated their way to the champion honors last week. The two partnerships will vie for needed points in the conclusion of the division Thursday, with two over fences trips and a hack still to go.

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.

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

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.

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 Thursday and the second place which, when combined with Wednesday’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 highlight event of the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring took place Friday at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, and competition was fierce as more horses and riders entered the scene during the third week of the series. Junior equitation was also featured, as the Pessoa/US Hunt Seat Medal attracted a group of young riders eager to earn coveted points.

The weekly increase in entries was apparent Friday as 27 horses and rider duos, 15 more than last week, took to the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring for their shot at the lion’s share of the $5,000 pot in the USHJA National Hunter Derby. Course designer Keith Bollotte’s track tested competitors with a series of rollback turns and long approaches, but perhaps the trickiest element came in the form of an S-shaped line comprised of three jumps, all of which presented low and high height options. It was that line as well as the final fence, succeeded by a long canter around nearly half the ring, that served to distinguish between the top and bottom half of the class this afternoon.

Headed into the handy phase of competition, Caitlin Shiels and Katherine Heywood’s Balida held the lead with a score of 92, but defending champion Geoffrey Hesslink and Team Rakowsky’s J’Adore were hot on their tail with marks of 90. Phyllis Harlow’s Lavish, with David Beisel in the irons, sat in the third spot with their score of 85, followed by the 84 score of Michelle Raue and her own Carat. Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Sorrento rode to the fifth position with a score of 83, and Melissa Donnelly and Bentley, owned by Daniella Rodriguez, clinched sixth with a 79.

Riding in reverse order of the standings, three of the four riders from the top six had improved upon their initial tallies. Second to last to enter the ring, Hesslink and J’Adore also bested themselves to earn another score in the top percentile, garnering a 91 from judges Frank Madden and John Roper. With a cumulative score of 191, the pair took the lead above Johnson’s 175 total score with a 181. The final entry and the leader after the first phase, Shiels and Balida rode their way to second round marks of 82, validating Hesslink as the winner for the second week in a row.

Hesslink rides the winning mare for Team Rakowsky out of Lexington, Kentucky and Wellington, Florida. Although the farm will stay on the showgrounds to compete more next week, J’Adore won’t be one of the rides for Hesslink. Instead, the rider and his trainer, Ivan Rakowsky, plan to rest her until their appearance at the Pre-Green Finals in Kentucky next month.

Claiming the reserve spot behind Hesslink was Johnson and Sorrento, trailed closely by Shiels and Balida. Beisel and Lavish clinched the fourth spot, Donnelly and Bentley took fifth position, and Wickham and Pick 6 fittingly rounded out the leaderboard in the sixth spot.

Just prior to the $5,000 USHJA National Derby, 18 junior riders took their turns competing for the top spot in the Pessoa/US Hunt Seat Medal. With most of the competitors aiming to tally enough points to qualify for the Finals at the Harrisburg National Horse Show in October, stakes were high for each pair. Unfortunately for a large portion of the exhibitors, a downer rail, swapped lead, or run-out held them out of contention for the rosettes.

Of the original entrants, four horses and riders showcased their abilities better than the rest to lead the pack and earn an invitation to return to the ring for testing. Judges Madden and Roper asked riders to counter-canter directly from the gate to fence one, followed by a tight turn to the second fence, a rollback to the original fence seven, and then one last obstacle leading to a halt and sitting trot back to the gate.

Clare Sargent and Albert, the first to go, produced a solid round to set a high standard for their counterparts. Michelle Raue and grey Carat followed suit, rising to the occasion to mirror Sargent and her horse with two trips left to go. Unfortunately for Dana Wille and Full Count, a deep distance into the first fence led to a shaky start to the test, which would set the tone for the final three fences. Proving that the best was saved for last, Kammie Berns and Beau Solei masterfully navigated the test as the final pair in the ring to earn the champion honors.

The points Berns and Beau Solei earned Friday pushed them over the qualifying benchmark needed to attend the Finals in the fall, which the pair plan to attend. In the meantime, the pair are considering making the trek from their home base to Kentucky in August.

Raue and Carat ultimately earned the reserve placing, followed by Sargent and Albert in third place, with Wille and Full Count rounding out the top four.

Junior Hunter riders had their eyes on the prize Saturday, 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.

Spence and Casiro earned enough points with their strong showings Saturday to clinch the reserve tricolors. The partners entered the day in the middle of the pack after to fifth place finishes Friday, 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.

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.

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 III came to a close Sunday, but not before the Amateur-Owners had their chance to accrue one final tricolor to end the show week. Both age groups had clear frontrunners headed into the second day of competition, with all of them aiming to maintain momentum and solidify their place atop the leaderboard. Running throughout the day in competitors’ respective divisions, the $2,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Classic posed an opportunity for riders to leave with some prizemoney in their pocket.

The first to go in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters for the 18 to 35 age group, Kyle Owens with the ride aboard Messick commenced the morning on a promising note, delivering a solid trip over designer Keith Bollette’s track to set a high standard for the remaining riders. With the challenge thrown down, the rider-owners and their horses chased the lead in the hopes of earning the championship, but the first ride of the day proved to be the best as Owens and Messick were awarded first place honors in both over fences classes.

The pair’s winning trips this morning, combined with a first place finish in the hack and a second place Saturday, which coincidentally came behind Owens’ other mount in the class, was more than enough points to earn Messick and his rider the champion spot.

Originally a jumper, Owens imported the 6-year-old Messick from overseas two years ago and transitioned him into the hunter ring as the horse didn’t have the speed to compete on the European circuit. Although he did have the qualities necessary of a jumper, his downfall in that discipline has proved to be a factor for his success in his new career.

Owens and Messick are part of Peter Pletcher’s PJP Team, based out of Magnolia, Texas, and are no strangers to Traverse City. This is Owens’ third year competing in Michigan, and the entirety of the farm plans to keep the new Great Lakes Equestrian Festival on their summer calendar.

With one more week still to ride, the champion hopes to accumulate a few more accolades with his six horses to round out the series. The Pre-Green Finals in Lexington next month will be the next stop for Owens and PJP Farm.

Piper Benjamin and Oak Grove clinched the reserve position with strong performances Sunday, improving upon their position in the standings after the first day of competition by garnering two red-ribbon finishes and a third position. 

Later in the day in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, the 35 and older section of the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters was held. Headed into the second day of the division, Patricia Edwards’s Avendaro and Jill Donaldson’s Troubadour had the advantage above the rest of the pack after both receiving two top-three finishes to take the early lead. With the results proving inconsistent over the course of Sunday’s three classes, two fences trips and a hack, entrants waited in anticipation to hear the overall results of the close race. Ultimately, it was Edwards and Avendaro who came out on top, undoubtedly pushed to the lead by their top finish in the under saddle.

Edwards has owned Avendaro for three years, and is now into her second competition year in the Amateur-Owners at the 3’3” height with the horse. She attribute much of their success to Avendaro’s easy way of going, his powerful jump style, and consistent self-carriage.

The winning pair reign from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and are into their fifth year competing at the show in their home state.

Just behind the winning partnership, Troubadour and owner-rider Jill Donaldson navigated their way to the reserve championship. They earned a second place this morning in the hack, followed by a fourth spot over fences.

The $2,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Classic brought 18 eager entries to the ring, with two Junior riders claiming the top prizes and the largest stake of the prizemoney. Jordan Allen and Turn Key, owned by Kim Carey, rode their way to the top with a total score of 167, followed by Sophie Gochman and father David Gochman’s World Time in the reserve position with marks of 158. Owens and Messick took third prize only one point behind Gochman.


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