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Press Release


Kelley Farmer and Mindful

David Beisel and Call Me Hannes win $50,000 Grand Prix

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week IV Wrap-Up July 22-26

Written by: Carrie Wirth
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-27

$50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by The Peninsula Group at Morgan Stanley

Traverse City, MI – July 27, 2015 - The four-week Great Lakes Equestrian Festival came to a close on a high note with the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by The Peninsula Group at Morgan Stanley. Enthusiasts, friends, owners and community members gathered to watch the great sport of show jumping at Flintfields Horse Park. David Beisel, from Goshen, Ohio and Call Me Hannes, a huge gray Holsteiner gelding, owned by Harlow Investments, LLC of Mason, Ohio, walked away with the top prize and celebrated by leading the victory gallop. Beisel had a winning circuit with previous firsts in last week’s Welcome Stake Grand Prix aboard Ammeretto, a feisty Dutch Warmblood stallion, owned by Equine Holdings, LLC of Traverse City.

Portuguese course designer Bernardo C. Cabral built a twisty and windy course that produced six clears in the first round with no stand-out trouble spots on the course and downed rails distributed evenly around the course. For each of the six clean rounds, the announcer sounded the boat horn and the audience enthusiastically cheered the accomplishment of each successful horse and rider pair.

Lisa Goldman, from Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, was the first to return and attempt Cabral’s short track aboard her own Rocs to Riches, an 8-year-old, chestnut Oldenburg mare. The boat horn sounded as the pair accomplished the clear round and set the standard and the time to beat at 39.681 seconds.

Next on course for the jump-off, Beisel and Call Me Hannes stepped on the gas and outran Goldman’s time significantly, breaking the beam at 36.238 seconds. For such a large horse, Call Me Hannes has a huge stride and is surprisingly handy and fast in the turns. The duo moved to the top of the leaderboard.

“I thought while walking the course that the jump-off probably suited Call Me Hannes a little better, versus Friday's class,” said Beisel. “Friday’s class had a little bit more tricky stuff, and this was a little more galloping. Hannes has a bigger stride in the open field, so I let him rip.” 

Beisel and Call Me Hannes maintained their lead to win the feature event of Week IV and close out the four-week circuit with another blue ribbon to add to their considerable collection. Owner Phyllis Harlow was thrilled with her horse’s achievement.

$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the Gochman Family

Talent was in no short supply Saturday at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival IV as riders from all corners of the country vied for the top spot and the major claim of the $25,000 pot in the USHJA International Hunter Derby, generously sponsored by the Gochman Family. The premier hunter event of the four-week series brought 23 entrants to the Grand Prix Ring after a quick transition from the morning’s brightly-colored jumper obstacles to the lofty natural fences created for course designer Thomas C. Hern, Jr.’s derby tracks.

In the hunt for the second consecutive year, was defending champions Kelley Farmer, of Keswick, Virginia, with the ride aboard her ever-faithful Mindful, as well as last year’s reserve rider Peter Pletcher, of Magnolia, Texas, but this time with a new mount.

The initial classic round served to whittle the field of horse and rider pairs down to the top 12 scorers who would return for the handy phase of the class. Hern, Jr.’s course presented a number of turn and height options for riders, with many choosing to opt out of the loftier jumps. Challenging spots on the course were quickly made apparent, as those riders who were bold enough to try for the high option points were often plagued with a downed brick from the skinny wall, a rubbed pole at the airier split-rail vertical, or a hesitant approach to the foreboding oxers along the rail.

Headed into the second portion of competition, Farmer had, at least temporarily, clinched the first and ninth positions with mounts Mindful, owned by Kensel, LLC, and David Glefke’s Point Being. She and Mindful set the tone for the International Derby as one of the first to go, with the boat-whistle blowing overhead as the successful team exited the arena to signify a score of 90 or higher. The 90 score proved to be the fate of only a select number of partners throughout the competition.

Mindful carried Farmer to a score of 184 from the two teams of judges, while Point Being earned marks of 159. Unfortunately for the rider out of Keswick, Virginia, four of her six rides in Saturday’s Derby didn’t garner scores from the judges that placed them among the leaders. Sitting in the second position, Pletcher and Kyle Owens’ gray Luxe hoped to improve upon their initial score of 179 to overtake the defending champion in the handy.

Derbyshire and sponsor David Gochman’s Romance sat in the third position with a 174 score, trailed by Maria Rasmussen and Over Fences Farm LLC’s Quite Chocolate in fourth place. Tommi Clark aboard Stephen Borders’ Extraordinaire and David Beisel in the irons for Patrice Schreiber on her own Eos M entered the latter portion of exhibition in fifth and sixth places, respectively.

Riding in reverse order of the standings, 12 duos came back with a vengeance to improve upon their initial score and climb the ladder to a higher final finish and greater paycheck with impressive rides in the slightly condensed handy round. Beisel and Eos M moved up a spot, while Farmer and Point Being managed to capitalize upon their second chance with a score of 189 that hoisted them into the lead with only three pairs left to ride. With the score to beat at 348, Derbyshire and Romance proved why they belonged at the top of the pack with a second score of 188 and cumulative marks of 362 to best Farmer by 14 points overall.

Down to the wire, Pletcher and Luxe entered the ring as the second-to-last hopefuls. The Texan continued his three-week streak of top-scoring rides with notable marks of 195 for his stylish handy performance. After Farmer and Mindful took their final trip, the boat-whistle blew over the loud speakers to signify another score of 90 or higher, earning them the top prize.

A seasoned traveler of the equestrian hunter circuit and no stranger to the winner’s circle, Farmer and her repertoire of horses have accumulated innumerable accolades over the past years, and this season is no exception. Mindful led the victory gallop at the Showplace Spring Spectacular International Derby last month, as well as at the Summer in the Rockies International Derby just two short weeks ago. In both classes, Farmer also had the second place mounts. With Saturday’s win in Michigan, the top-tier rider nears her sixtieth derby victory.

Although Farmer was only in Traverse City for about 24 hours, her quick trip proved profitable as she walked away with the lion’s share of the prize money. A short celebration and trailer-load later, she was off again to another competition, undoubtedly planning on laying down more winning performances.

Once again, Pletcher navigated to the second spot of the competitive class with Luxe, owned by one of his students and a vital part of Pletcher’s PJP Farm for the past seven years.

Derbyshire and Romance maintained their third position to clinch the final podium spot. It was fitting that the pair earned a top finish as the Gochman Family, owners of Romance and gracious sponsors of the event, watched from the ringside tent.

All three of the top finishers will make appearances at the Kentucky Horse Park next month to partake in the many Finals taking place in Lexington, Kentucky. Farmer and Pletcher will once again face-off in the Derby Finals, with Pletcher also having rides in the Pre-Green Finals, while Derbyshire will train ta number of young riders at Junior and Pony Finals.

Farmer and Point Being claimed the fourth position, with Beisel, Friday’s Grand Prix winner, and Eos M just a few points behind in the fifth spot. Rasmussen and Quite Chocolate rounded out the top half of the second-round returners in sixth position.

Wednesday Jumper Highlights

Lisa Goldman stole the show in the Grand Prix Arena, riding away with wins in both the 1.40m and 1.35m classes. Her ride in the 1.40m atop her new horse of only three weeks, Sovereign, was especially exciting as it was one of the largest tracks she has ever jumped the stallion. Goldman and Sovereign won last week’s first 1.35m class, so Goldman decided they were ready to turn it up a notch.

Although the pair was riding to new heights in the 1.40m, they made it look like second nature, going double clear over Bernardo Cabral’s tight course and putting in a swift jump-off time of 34.811 seconds.

Just behind Goldman was another double clear round put in by Nick Novak aboard his gelding, Cico, but their jump-off time of 37.69 seconds wasn’t quite quick enough to catch Goldman’s new stallion. The pair would have to settle for second position.

Novak and Cico are another new team that has only been working together since February, but have had a successful first few months together displaying Cico’s newly acquired skills in the Grand Prix Ring. Novak explained that Cico competed in eventing before he purchased him but he has enjoyed successfully moving the 8-year-old gelding up through the jumper divisions.

Before the 1.40m class, Goldman proved that she was no stranger to success at the 1.35m height, mimicking her top standing on the leaderboard from last week. While it was Goldman and Sovereign who rode to first place last week, Wednesday it was Memphis Belle’s turn to have her moment in the spotlight. The winning mare, owned by Goldman’s client Louisa Brackett, also moved up a division this week, and it proved to be an easy task.

Goldman only arrived in Traverse City last week, but already has complimentary words for the event and its new Stadium Jumping, Inc. management.

Goldman and Memphis Belle were one of four horse-and-rider combinations to go double clear out of a field of 12 total pairs. Theo Genn and Eduardo Leone’s Asirea Fortuna tagged closely behind Goldman with a jump-off round of 35.268 seconds, just 1.445 seconds away from the winning round to earn them second place.

In the 1.30m this morning, it was two-time Olympic Silver Medalist Lisa Jacquin who came out on top aboard Rolls, owned by Doublethink LLC. As the only pair to go double clear, they made Cabral’s complicated course look easy, seamlessly riding through the various combinations and in-and-outs without brushing a rail. David Beisel’s jump-off time of 35.862 seconds atop Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC’s Rumorosa was a whole 6.71 seconds quicker than Jacquin’s winning ride, but unfortunately a knocked rail cost him the top spot.

Thursday Jumpers Highlights

Haas and Coachella will return to the ring together on Saturday to take a shot at this week’s $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, and Thursday’s ride helped to familiarize and prepare them for what the class will have in store for them.

Thursday afternoon’s Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class was the busiest class of the day in the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park, but 14-year-old Kyle Perkovich managed to promptly master the course to take away the win in the 22-entry class.

As Haas also commented earlier, features of course designer Bernardo C. Cabral’s new track included multiple sharp turn options, and a two stride in-and-out to a bending eight stride line that caused problems for many of the competitors in Perkovich’s class. However, none of these new course challenges phased Perkovich or his partner, Roc My World, known around the barn as “Maya.”

Electing to cut corners and ride up to the distances, Perkovich put in double clear rounds aboard Maya, the second of which being the leading jump-off round, clocked at 32.044 seconds.

Before stepping up to the Low Amateurs in April, Perkovich showed in the 3’6” hunters on Maya, but made it clear on Thursday that the pair is versatile enough to beat out a handful of riders in the Grand Prix Ring as well.  The duo earned fourthand fifth place ribbons in last week’s first Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, so climbing the ranks to first place was an exciting feat.

Emily Reder and her mount, Byolga, refused to fall far behind the leading ride in the Low Junior Amaetur Owners, with a jump-off time of 32.959 seconds, just .915 of a second behind Perkovich. Byolga and Reder also maneuvered two precise and clear rounds, yet Perkovich sat still at the top of the leaderboard.

Friday $25,000 Welcome Stake

Beisel, from Goshen, Ohio and Ammeretto, a bay Dutch Warmblood stallion, were awarded the win of last Sunday’s $50,000 Flintfields Grand Prix, presented by North Face Farm, and put in a similarly flawless effort in Friday’s feature event of the day. Out of 26 entries that tried their hand at the course, designed by Portuguese course designer, Bernardo C. Cabral, 13 horse and rider teams progressed to the jump-off phase, a demanding eight-effort track.

Cabral created an option in the jump-off round that was challenging for many of the riders to execute and leave all the rails in their cups. The competitors had the option to turn inside a blue and white in-and-out combination to the third-to-last jump, a black and yellow vertical. That riskier approach would shave precious seconds off the clock. The more conservative option was to take the longer route around the combination, creating a more straightforward approach to the vertical, with a lower probability of knocking down a rail.

Many that chose the tight inside turn knocked the rail, including Beisel and his first ride in the jump-off with Call Me Hannes, a gray Holsteiner gelding owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC. Beisel and Ammeretto stepped up to the challenge by carving a perfect inside turn that set up the approach to next fence. Their clear jump-off round in the fastest time of 35.581 seconds earned them the blue ribbon and the victory gallop.

Ammeretto and Beisel successfully kept their focus over all eight jumps in the tricky course. Beisel was pleased with the course and the questions it asked.

Beisel thanked the horses’ owners, Harlow Investments and Equine Holdings, for supporting him with such incredible horses. He also expressed great thanks to all of his staff, whom he said he couldn’t do without.

The second place finisher for the $25,000 Welcome Stake, Erin Haas, from Chelsea, Michigan, was fresh off the win of Thursday’s Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. Haas and her Hanoverian gelding, As Di Chupito, came prepared to step up to Cabral’s challenge. The horse and rider team were one of only five pairs to go double clear.

Haas explained that her plan was to take the inside turn to the black and yellow vertical. She jumped it clean and clear, breaking the beam at 37.514 seconds, just behind Beisel’s winning ride. Michael Morrissey, from Wellington, Florida, tagged closely behind in third place aboard Rae Martin’s Torino Q in a time of 38.480 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Beisel also claimed the victory in the Young Jumper 6-Year-Old division, and was awarded the championship aboard Patrice Schreiber’s mare, Eos M.  Over the course of the past three days, the pair put in seventh, first, and second place rounds, landing them the tri-colors.

The pair’s second-place ribbon in Friday’s Young Jumper 6-Year-Old Championship Qualifier was the result of their 34.107-second jump-off round; a mere .477 of a second behind Lisa Goldman's rapid ride aboard Melissa Hirt's mare, Roc N Groovy. Hirt hails from Maple City, Michigan. Alec Bozorgi, from Antioch, Illinois was awarded third place with a time of 39.328 seconds atop Esperanza, his KWPN mare.

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.

Saturday Jumper Highlights

Erin Haas and her gray Holsteiner mare Coachella performed flawlessly in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, presented by the Moyer Family. The horse and rider team from North Face Farm, were the only to go double clear around Bernardo C. Cabral’s course.

Only three competitors had fault-free rounds on the first course. First to go in the jump-off, Haas and Coachella had a smooth and speedy clear round, stopping the clock at 41.146, setting the time to beat. Jennifer Waxman, from Chagrin Falls, Ohio and Shakira had two fences down and three time faults, for a total of 11 faults and broke the beam at 52.882 seconds. Charlotte Curry, from Franklin, Tennessee, and Herrock dropped one rail, incurring four faults in a time of 42.92. Haas and Coachella maintained their lead to earn the first place honors.

Haas is an equine veterinary practitioner through her North Face Equine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to her work in equine sports medicine, she splits her time between treating local horses and traveling to horse shows. She spends winters in Ocala, Florida from November to April, and makes trips back to Michigan to see clients as needed. Hass has an impressive list of wins in the Junior/Amateur- Owner Jumper ranks at prestigious shows across the country. She was named champion this week of the division, repeating the honor from Week III of the series.

Haas describes Coachella as a sensitive mare that goes in a rubber bit. She requires a smooth ride and can become dramatic with adjustments.

According to Jake Haas, Erin Haas’ father, she is very conscientious and puts the time into her practice and her riding. “She mixes work and her pleasure all at the same time,” he said.

The elder Haas has been attending shows at Flintfields Horse Park for many years and were one of the founding sponsors.

The $10,000 NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic took place first thing Saturday morning. Skyllar Beckel, from New Albany, Ohio, and her own Lyons Creek Action were one of nine horse and rider combinations to complete the first round of Cabral’s course leaving all the rails in their cups. Four pairs were accurate enough to be clear in the short track and Beckel and Lyon’s Creek Action had the fastest time of the pack stopping the clock at 33.158 seconds.

Child phenom and winner of the Lows earlier in the week, 13-year-old Kyle Perkovich, from Long Grove, Illinois, and Roc My World earned the red ribbon after going double clean round and completing their jump-off round in 33.592 seconds. Emily Reder and Byolga, from Wyoming, Ohio were third, also with a double clear effort and completing Equine Holdings LLC’s Ammeretto and David Beisel enjoyed another victory lap around the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park after sealing the deal with the fastest double clear round of the $25,000 Welcome Stake during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week IV.

Sunday Jumper Highlights

In Sunday morning's Young Jumper Championship Qualifier for the 7 Year Olds, it was Beisel who brought up the rear as the last to enter the ring, and also the one who rode right up the ranks into first place aboard Equine Holdings, LLC's Donnaludine. Beisel bested the group of four entries that proceeded to the jump-off, one of which was another entry of his own. When it came down to the wire, Beisel promptly piloted Donnaludine to a 37.294 second ride, and secured second with Patrice Schreiber's Vigilante who cleared the jump-off in 37.890 seconds. Beisel and Donnaludine ultimately earned the championship title of the division, an exciting win for the pair who only competed in their first jumper class together this time last year at Flintfields Horse Park. 

Wednesday Equitation and Hunter Highlights

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.

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.

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. 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.

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

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.

Although Johnson will be chasing the leader in the Performance division Thursday, 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.

Thursday Hunter Highlights

Amateur-Owner competition at the 3’6” height kicked off in the hunter ring with numerous entries hoping to claim the lead and head into Friday’s classes with an advantage above the rest of the pack. A number of horse and rider pairs are currently in contention with top placings. The point standings place Alliy Moyer and her own Carlson at the top with two second place finishes, followed by Emily Morin aboard Ace of Spades and Susan Baker with Q, both earning first and sixth place positions.

Moyer is no stranger to the leaderboard in both the hunter and jumper rings, showing strong finishes throughout the past weeks over the natural tracks as well as the brightly-colored jumps. She is looking to accumulate accolades in not only the Amateur-Owner Hunters, but the $15,000 SJHF High Junior/Amateur Classic, the $25,000 Welcome Stake, and the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by Morgan Stanley, later in the week.

With no commanding leader, exhibitors will have to depend on Friday’s results to determine the victor. Moyer, Morin, and Baker will need to vie amongst themselves for the top rankings as well as fend off the rest of the competitors in the hunt.

A pair of newcomers made their presence known in Traverse City by sweeping four blue ribbons in the combined Second Year Green Working Hunter and High Performance Hunter divisions. Tommi Clark and Stephen Borders’ Extraordinaire, known in the barn as ‘Santos,’ just arrived at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival and will be hopeful contenders in Saturday’s $25,000 USHJA International Derby.

Clark and the stallion navigated their way to four top finishes over fences, only falling short in the hack.

Following this week, the California-based pair will make the trek to suburban Chicago for another Derby at Lamplight Equestrian Center, followed by Derby Finals in Lexington, Kentucky mid-August.

Reserve honors was awarded to Maria Rasmussen and Over Fences Farm, LLC’s Quite Chocolate, who earned consistent second-place finishes over fences, and topped the judge’s card in the under saddle portion.

The Performance Working Hunters also wrapped up Thursday afternoon, and Katie Jordan’s Westeros, with Jennifer Nadalin in the irons, carried his rider to the champion tricolors. The winning pair rode to first and second place finishes over fences to close out the second half of the division, although Geoffrey Hesslink and Jos Van Kouterhoeve, owned by Salim Radi, put up a good fight for the top honors. Hesslink and the gelding earned identical finishes as Nadalin and her mount in the final two classes, but Nadalin and the chestnut horse began the day with six points from a second place finish Wednesday, which ultimately pushed them to the top.

Hesslink and Jos Van Kouterhoeve performed strongly in the ring this afternoon, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to take the reserve honors from Wednesday’s top contender, Tamara Provost and Brenda Christenson’s Santerno. After winning the initial two fences classes of the division, Provost chose not to compete in the hack or Thursday’s classes to close the division, but instead used the classes as preparation for Saturday’s Derby. Still, the two blue ribbons was enough to earn the duo the runner-up spot behind Nadalin and Westeros.

In the spirit of Midwestern hospitality, exhibitors, patrons, and spectators, were all treated to an afternoon wine and cheese party sponsored by North Peak Brewery, a local favorite in the Traverse City area. Located in the spacious tent between the two main hunter rings, it was the ideal spot to wind down the day with fellow horsemen and horsewomen and watch the final classes of the day.

Friday Hunter Highlights

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sunday Hunter Highlights

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.

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

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.

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

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.



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