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Michael Morrissey and La Lopez 3

Michael Morrissey and La Lopez 3

David Beisel and Alastar

Emma Sargent and Winchester

Emma Sargent and Winchester

Kaely Tomeu and Capitol

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Michael Morrissey Delivers Faultless Performance to Win 1.40m Jumpers at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Written by: Taylor Renner
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-07-07

Traverse City, Mich. – July 7, 2016 – Jumper competition continued in the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park on day two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) with the 1.40m Jumpers highlighting the day's events. Michael Morrissey pulled off the win on La Lopez 3 as the last of 20 to challenge the Olaf Petersen-designed course, and was the only pair to produce a faultless effort in the jump-off.
"I wasn't supposed to be the last one in, but we pulled a shoe in the schooling area," said Morrissey. "It worked out. I was a little worried; it's a new horse. I didn't know how she was going to respond to that but she handled it really well.
"I didn't even realize going in that no one else had gone clear," continued Morrissey. "I went in and rode our plan and went as fast as I could go on her. There were a few places where I could have been craftier, but not knowing her, I wanted a solid 1.40m on her."
The 2016 GLEF is Morrissey and the 10-year-old Westphalian mare's second horse show together, and the pair is already demonstrating their strong potential together with Thursday's victory. They tackled two rounds of technical tracks to finish double clear in 42.836 seconds.
"Olaf has been spot on all week; he's built some really nice courses," said Morrissey. "When you have a nice course designer like him it's a pleasure to ride out here and we've been really lucky with good weather — the footing is great today. I think he's done a really good job all week."
Finishing in second as the fastest of the 4-faulters was David Beisel and his own Alastar in a speedy time of 38.673 seconds. David Jennings and his own S & L Puppy Love collected 8 faults in the jump-off, garnering them third place honors in 39.340 seconds.
Morrissey and La Lopez 3 are still new to each other, but Morrissey has high hopes for the talented mare for the duration of GLEF.
"I had played with the idea of jumping her in the welcome stake tomorrow, but I opted for this 1.40m instead since I don't know her that well," said Morrissey. "I think our plan will be to jump the two big grand prix coming up."
Morrissey, whose father and brother work as the competition director and co-manager of GLEF, is thrilled with the show's turn out thus far.
"My brother, father and Tom [Blankenship] are doing a really good job," said Morrissey. "I'm here more as an exhibitor, but they certainly hear plenty of ideas from me. I'm here just enjoying the show like all the other riders are!"
Prior to the 1.40m Jumpers was the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, where the main focus of the class again was to simply jump clear over the short course.
Seventeen-year-old Emma Sargent of Bayside Farm and Donald Cheska's Winchester raced past 21 other horses and riders to take home the blue ribbon, after producing the only double clear round in 38.415 seconds.
"I've had [Winchester] for about two years now and we imported her from Holland," said Sargent. "I just moved into the highs and she's been super. We're two peas in a pod. I've never been that close with a horse. It's amazing; it's a great feeling.
"Walking the first two lines, you could either do a leave out or an add, and I usually do the add because she's so sensitive and very quiet," continued Sargent. "I try to keep her contained so a lot of it was just very slow and calm. All of the lines had to be calm and you had to keep your cool. I think it worked out for us because she jumps her best when she's a little more put together."
Kaely Tomeu and Allison Sweetnam's Capitol took second place honors with a 4 fault finish in the jump-off in 40.027 seconds, while Lacey Gilbertson and Allison Sweetnam's Bijzonder rounded out the top three with 4 faults in 41.579 seconds.
Of her jump-off round, which secured her win with the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Sargent said, "In the first and last line I did a leave out. I originally walked a nine but I did an eight. I just cantered right down to it and it was perfect."
Originally from Chicago, Sargent has been coming to show at the Flintfields Horse Park for six years. She was also in attendance at the inaugural GLEF event in 2015. Sargent will continue to compete throughout Week One of the 2016 GLEF including in the $25,000 Amalaya Investments Welcome Stake on Friday and in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City on Sunday.
"The area is beautiful, and it's such a relaxing horse show," said Sargent. "You get done around 4 p.m. and you can just go hang out and be with all of your friends. It's peaceful."
Earlier in the day, the 1.35m Jumpers saw 17 horses and riders compete for the top spot. David Jennings and KM Farms' KM Corfina nabbed the blue ribbon with a double clear round in 59.983 seconds. Five seconds behind was Belgium's Filip De Wandel and Eliza Lehrman's Innocent Nina, who jumped double clear to finish in 64.513 seconds. Michael Tokaruk and his own Baton Rouge rounded out the top three, crossing the finish line in 65.709 seconds.
GLEF will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the next four weeks throughout the first series of competition, which runs July 6–31. Feature jumper events for Week One in the Grand Prix Ring include the $25,000 Amalaya Investments Welcome Stake on Friday, the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic on Saturday and the highlight event of the week on Sunday: the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City, presented by North Face Farm.
The second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, held July 13–17, has completely sold out of stabling space with limited spots remaining for Week Three, July 20–24. Act now to reserve stabling spots for August, and do not miss out on the chance to compete during the all-new FEI Great Lakes Equestrian Festival series in August.
Series Two kicks off on August 10 and runs through August 28 featuring three weeks of hunter and jumper competition with a FEI CSI2* rating Week Five and Six and a FEI CSI3* rating during Week Seven culminating in the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix on Sunday, August 28.
The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is set on 88 beautiful acres and showcases five world-class competition rings in addition to spacious schooling rings. The property features don't stop there as the park offers convenient on-site campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.
For more information, please visit


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