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Press Release


Jennifer Waxman and Falcon

Jennifer Waxman and Falcon champ

Jennifer Waxman and Falcon gallop

Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six

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Jennifer Waxman Concludes Great Lakes Equestrian Festival With the Top Spot in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-26

Traverse City, MI – July 26, 2015 – It was a bittersweet ending in the hunter ring at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Sunday as the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, the younger brother class of Saturday’s USHJA International Derby, wrapped up the four-week series for many Traverse City competitors. For Jennifer Waxman and her own Falcon, out of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, the series concluded on a high note as the pair bested the field to claim the lead spot in the victory gallop.

In classic derby fashion, Thomas C. Hern, Jr.’s course presented horses and riders with multiple option turns and jump heights in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, which proved to be no challenge for Waxman and Falcon and Kelsey Wickham and Wait and See Farms, LLC’s Pick Six, both of which earned scores in the ninetieth percentile in their classic and handy rounds. Although other entrants contributed to the class with respectable scores and solid rides, it was essentially a two-horse race between Waxman and Wickham as the only two to break the 90 mark.

Headed into the handy phase, Waxman sat in the top spot above the other 11 returners with a score of 94, with Wickham hot on her heels after earning marks of 91 from the judges. Jordyn Katz aboard Dexter, Jordan Allen with the ride on her Cartier, and Greg Crolick in the irons aboard Kiera Philpot’s Red Roc took up the third through fifth positions after the classic round, but unfortunately all had issues with either the walk jump or a downed rail in what were otherwise beautiful rounds. Multiple riders suffered low scores brought on by a downed rail or, more frequently, issues with the walk jump, the second-to-last effort of the course.

With only two riders left to go, David Beisel and Lavish, owned by Phyllis Harlow, had place-jumped up from seventh to the lead with a promising 89 score, resulting in a cumulative score of 169. Beisel did not have the luxury of reveling in the top spot for long, though, as Wickham and Pick Six laid down a handy score of 94 to surpass Beisel and Lavish by a whole 16 points. Quick to respond, Waxman and Falcon took no prisoners as they rode to yet another high score, this time earning a 93 to clinch the champion tricolors just two points ahead of the runner-up Wickham.

Previously an equitation horse, the 21-year-old Falcon, a bay Holsteiner gelding, showed no signs of slowing down as he carried his rider to the win. The horse was semi-retired back in 2009, but after gallivanting around the pastures during his time off, Waxman realized that the retirement may have been premature.

“He mostly just went out in the field, but after watching him galloping around all the time I figured he wasn’t quite ready to be fully retired, he looked like he wanted to go back to work again. I just started riding him again this summer and this is our fourth show back,” Waxman commented. “He feels great, and I think he enjoys showing again. We won’t ask him to do more than this. They are fun classes and he is one of the best horses to ride, so it’s been amazing having him back in the ring again.

The pair have been together for more than 10 years, and their extensive knowledge of each other is apparent in the ring.

“We know each other almost too well sometimes,” Waxman laughed, “but it’s nice to have a horse like that. When he’s on his game, he is very smooth. He is not specifically a hunter, but he goes in a snaffle and looks really cute. We obviously had some work to do after pulling him out of the field, and we have done well in our first few shows this summer, but this show he was really excited to be here and I knew he was finally ready to show and do well.”

Although Wickham and Pick Six, known in the barn as ‘Bandit,’ don’t have the same background as Waxman and Falcon, the two indicated that their newfound partnership has hit the right note with their reserve championship in the class.

“I just recently started riding Bandit, actually. We showed him in the 3’3” Pre-Greens here for the past two weeks, and just decided to throw him in the Derby for fun, and it panned out,” Wickham said. “I try to allow him to do his own thing. He jumps well and goes around very smoothly, so I just tried to stay out of his way mostly and keep the consistency.”

Out of Oxford, Michigan, Wickham has been attending the Traverse City show in her home state for a collection of years.

“We come every year, and this year has been awesome for us. We brought a lot of horses and had a great horse show. We are sad to see it end,” she reflected.

Along with many other horses and riders that have attended Great Lakes Equestrian Festival this year, Wickham and her mount will follow up this show with the southern trek to Lexington, Kentucky for the Pre-Green Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park next month.

Beisel and Lavish finished the Derby in third position, with Maggie Ridenour, from Birmingham, Michigan, in the irons aboard McLain Ward’s Clarity moving up to the fourth place. Owner-rider Courtney Schwabauer, from Rochester, Michigan, and Lugano clinched the fifth spot, followed by Mia Wayne and Mark Wayne’s Cavallino to round out the top six finishers.

Sunday marked the conclusion of the four-week Great Lakes Equestrian Festival at Flintfields Horse Park, and the show will make its return to Traverse City next year with Stadium Jumping, Inc. once again at the helm. Great Lakes Equestrian Festival 2016 will begin July 6, 2016, followed by four weeks of equestrian action, with three subsequent weeks pending approval by USEF.

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