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Press Release


Dana Wille and Full Count

Nealie Boschma and Campari

Tamara Provost and Santerno

Hillary Johnson and Moonwalk

Dana Wille and Full Count

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Dana Wille and Tamara Provost Sweep the First Day of Competition at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival IV

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-22

Traverse City, MI – July 22, 2015 – The fourth and final week of Great Lakes Equestrian Festival kicked off to a promising start for young rider Dana Wille and her horse Full Count, who rode to the win in both the jumper and hunter phases of the Washington Equitation Class for the second week in a row. While Wille and her horse are preparing for Finals in the fall, Tamara Provost and Santerno have their sights set on a goal nearer in the future: the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the Gochman Family, that takes place this Saturday afternoon.

The group of eager Juniors took to the jumper ring first this morning, hoping to take the early lead in the two-phase WIHS competition. Wille and Shaunnah Anderson’s Full Count, the defending champions in Traverse City, were quick to prove that they had no intention of losing the title with a first round score of 85. The next closest pair, Nealie Boschman and Jenny Schutzler’s Campari, sat a full 12 points behind with their score of 73.

“I like that this course made us think. With the times they had set, we had to choose which turns we were going to take in order to stay within the time allowed,” Wille said. "It made us really think ahead, like ‘If I take this turn, what will be the outcome? Will this work out well and be smooth or should I think of something else?’ The time was very challenging, even when they upped the time allowed. It was nice, though, that the course forced us to think and be a rider instead of a passenger.”

Trailing behind the two leaders was Jordan Allen and Cornelius, owned by Patrice Schreiber, in the third spot, followed by Hannah Satterland and Ashley Scheich’s Zandro in fourth place with the hunter phase still remaining.

Course designer Thomas Hern Jr., from Massachusetts, provided 10 efforts for the exhibitors to showcase their abilities. Perhaps one of the more telling components of the track was the long bending line, measured at 124’, that required riders to make a decision regarding their track. While some elected for the forward or direct nine strides, others opted to take a more bending and collected track in 10 strides. Wille and her mount effectively rode the entirety of the course to the tune of an 85 score from the judges, which solidified her spot as the overall victor with a cumulative tally of 170. Boschman and Campari garnered an 85 to claim the reserve honors.

“Full Count is an amazing, amazing horse with tons of scope,” she said. “He is wonderful in every way and gives me everything I ask for.” Wille only recently picked up the ride on the horse, as her normal equitation mount is out of commission with an injury. The new pair have meshed well though, and have demonstrated accuracy in the ring as proven by their multiple consecutive wins.

Wille and Full Count are currently in the middle of the pack of qualifiers for the Washington Equitation Finals taking place during the Washington International Horse Show in the nation’s capital this October. With only 40 riders from across the country invited, each competition offers an opportunity to climb in the standings and earn one of the coveted spots.

Allen and Cornelius maintained their third position, followed by Jessica Stone and Amber Hill Farm’s Cyrus in fourth place. Owner-rider Michelle Raue and Carat claimed fifth, while Madison Mitchell and her own Gentlemen improved upon their position after the jumper phase to land the sixth position.

Earlier in the day in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, a field of 18 horses and riders took their turns vying for the lead in the Performance Working Hunters. After two over fences trips and a hack, Provost and Brenda Christenson’s Santerno accumulated the most points, and will hold the lead headed into the second and final day of divisional competition tomorrow. Although Provost and her mount chose not to compete in the under saddle portion, the pair impressively navigated their way to two blue ribbons over fences, which was still enough to put them atop the leaderboard.

“Santerno is a really simple horse, we can always count on him. He has an adult rider who took him in the 2’6” all last week, so we kind of alternate. She got him last week, and now that it’s Derby week she handed the reins over to me,” Provost commented.

Provost and Santerno will not be completing the final classes of the Performance Hunter division tomorrow, but instead used today’s classes as preparation for the true test this Saturday.

“I just take one day to prepare him for the big classes, but he makes the transition easily from the 2’6” to the 3’9” fences. He’s very versatile. He loves the Derbies and his owner loves watching him, so it works out nicely,” Provost said.

Provost has been riding the horse, who lives and trains at her Meadow View Farm in Sheridan, Indiana, for nearly three years, and has been attending the Traverse City shows for five years. The pair will try their hand in the USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the Gochman Family, this weekend in the hopes of earning the lion’s share of the $25,000 pot.

Of the remaining 17 competitors, three horse and rider duos will have the best shot at overtaking the early leaders tomorrow. Jennifer Murray and Amanda Foard’s Julian look to be the closest contenders after staying consistent with two second place finishes and a fourth spot. Ehrin Rittmueller aboard Come What May, owned by Dawn Kelly, as well as Hillary Johnson and Altair Farms’ Eclipse, both also earned high placings to keep them in contention for the champion tricolors.

Although Johnson will be chasing the leader in the Performance division tomorrow, she will aim to retain the lead in the First Year Green Working Hunters with another of her mounts, Copper Fox LLC’s Moonwalk. Johnson and the grey gelding rode to first and second place finishes over fences to begin the first part of the competition. Caroline Weeden and Piper Benjamin’s Oak Grove are close behind in the ranks after first and third place finishes.

Great Lakes Equestrian Festival continues tomorrow and the rest of the week to close out the four-week series. Hunter action will be highlighted Saturday afternoon as the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the Gochman family, brings top-tier horses and riders to Traverse City to compete for the main claim of the purse.

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