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Press Release


Mimi Gochman with Caldwell and Romance

Mimi Gochman and Caldwell

Mimi Gochman and Romance

Kyle Owens and Fifty Fifty

Weatherly Stroh and Sigfried

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Mimi Gochman and Kyle Owens Claim Four Tricolors in the Hunter Ring at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival IV

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-24

Traverse City, MI – July 24, 2015 – Nearing its final days of the four-week series, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival played host to a large group of riders throughout the day at Flintfields Horse Park in Traverse City. Many riders aimed at hoisting division titles in the Juniors or the Amateur-Owners during the day’s competition. Two riders boasted an advantage above the rest of the pack in their respective divisions after being awarded top ribbons on not only one, but two mounts.

One of the largest hunter classes of the day, the Junior 3’3” Hunters brought a crowd of young riders to the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. Mimi Gochman and Caldwell entered the day’s competition with the lead after riding to third and fourth place finishes Thursday, and managed to fend off the rest of the field and hold on to the top spot with three top results Friday, never placing below fourth.

Gochman’s ride is owned by well-known trainers Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley, and although the horse and rider have accumulated numerous tricolors and top honors over the course of the Traverse City show series, the pair don’t have an extensive history together.

“I’m getting to know him still because I’ve only been riding him a few weeks, and this is only our second show together. So far he has been a really great horse and fun to ride. He listens super well,” Gochman said.

Not to be outdone, the 10-year-old Gochman also clinched the reserve spot on Romance, owned by her father, David Gochman. Unlike Caldwell, the young rider has been paired with Romance since the ripe age of 18-months and has racked up an impressive number of accomplishments with the horse over the years.

“I’ve had Romance a really long time and he was actually the first horse I ever rode. He’s brought me from the Low Children’s to the Juniors, and is just awesome. I know him really well, and he is really fun to ride,” Gochman commented.

No strangers to Traverse City, the New York City-based Gochmans have made the Michigan horse show a family affair for a number of years. Like mother like daughters, as both Mimi Gochman and her elder sister, Sophie, have followed in mother Becky’s footsteps as horse enthusiasts and successful hunter competitors. In addition, the Gochman patriarch, David, had generously sponsored the show and will be the presenting sponsor for Saturday’s $25,000 USHJA International Derby.

“This is so exciting and I love this show, it’s always fun for us to be here. The horses enjoy it here, it’s just as nice for them as it is for us. They can go and graze outside the barns and we can ride them on the trails. That’s my favorite part,” the young champion reflected.

Following the end of the four-week series, which concludes Sunday, the Gochmans will make the southern trek to Lexington, Kentucky for Pony Finals, taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park next month.

Just before the Junior sections, the Amateur-Owner divisions took center stage, and the 18 to 35 age group at the 3’3” height was first on the agenda. Kyle Owens and his two mounts, Fifty Fifty and Messick, sat atop the leaderboard after completing the first day of divisional classes with a first place, two second places, and a third place position split between the two horses. Only one entrant, Katherine Heywood aboard Balida, was able to thwart Owen’s horses from a double one-two finish. Messick and Fifty Fifty maintained their momentum Friday with more stand-out performances, garnering top marks from the judges hat never placed the pairs below fourth position.

Just like the 3’3” Juniors, the 3’3” Amateur Owners produced another double tricolor winner, with Owens and Fifty Fifty clinching the top prize, closely trailed by counterpart Messick. This was Messick’s second tricolor ribbon in the division, as the reserve horse was the victor last week.

“These two need very different rides. Messick likes to hunt the jumps with a long rein and he kind of just wants me to stay out of his way, so I can coast with that one. Fifty needs me to hold on to him a bit more and ride him up to the jumps because he jumps a lot better from that distance,” Owens said.

The champion rider only recently purchased Fifty Fifty, sight unseen, during the Florida show circuit, but the partnership has been increasingly successful for the team.

“We just bought him in Florida, and we got him off of a video, which is actually how I found all of my horses,” Owens said. “I never really tried them, but I’ve been lucky that they all panned out. In addition to than Fifty Fifty and Messick, he also owns four others.

Owens and his horses, as a part of Peter Pletcher’s PJP Farm team, have a full schedule ahead of them headed into the fall season. They will depart Traverse City and travel to Kentucky for the mid-August Pre-Green Finals, followed by more shows in Texas, the home base state of Pletcher’s enterprise. The Capital Challenge in Washington D.C. will come next, followed by appearances in the Indoor circuit.

Next on the schedule, Weatherly Stroh aboard Sigfried and her fellow competitors returned to the ring for the elder age section of the Amateur-Owner division at the same height. Stroh and her mount took the lead with two second place finishes Thursday, and fought to retain the lead Friday, with Barbara Goldberg and Aha sitting as the next-closest pair in the point standings. Ultimately, Stroh came away with the win due to consistently strong showings in the ring over the natural track, with Goldberg and Aha riding their way to the reserve honors.

Great Lakes Equestrian Festival IV has two final days remaining, with more hunter action still to come. Saturday’s highlight will be the highly-anticipated $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, and Sunday will bring with it the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

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