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Spencer Brittan and Unico won the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City, presented by North Face Farm, on Sunday, July 10, to wrap-up Week One of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

Megan Nusz and Willow won the $25,000 Amalaya Investments Welcome Stake on Friday, July 8.

Kelsey Thatcher won the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic with Chaviana on Saturday, July 9.

Michael Morrissey and La Lopez 3 won the 1.40m Jumpers on Thursday, July 7.

Maggie Gould and Drommels won the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Sunday, July 10.

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco finished second in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Tim Goguen and Category earned the championship tri-color in the Green Conformation Hunter division during Week One of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

Emma Wujek and Puppet swept the 15 and Under Junior Hunter division, also winning the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic, on Saturday, July 9.

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week One Wrap-Up: July 610

Written by: Taylor Renner, Allyson Lagiovane
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-07-11

Traverse City, Mich. – July 11, 2016 – Week One of the first series of the 2016 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) concluded on Sunday with the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City, presented by North Face Farm. Eighteen-year-old Spencer Brittan of Sweet Oak Farm and Unico earned the top prize as the only rider of the class to navigate a fault-free jump-off in his first time competing in the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park.
Germany's Olaf Petersen designed a large first round track with a tight time allowed. The course consisted of three variations of double combinations — a vertical to oxer, vertical to vertical and an oxer to vertical — tight rollbacks and a triple bar fence. Only four of the 32 horse and rider combinations were able to produce clear rounds over the fences, but none were able to master the course completely fault-free. Each of the four exhibitors collected time faults in their first round course thus allowing for a jump-off to take place between the top three competitors with 1 time fault.
David Jennings was the first to return to take on the short course. He piloted Blue Moon 22, owned by Full Circle Farm, to a 4-fault jump-off finish, setting the pace at 40.121 seconds. Next was 22-year-old Lacey Gilbertson, who trains with Michael DelFiandra and Shane Sweetnam at Sweet Oak Farm, and Seabrook LLC's Echo D. She followed Jennings 4-fault trend, but was able to catch his time by one second in 39.021 seconds to move into the lead.
It was all left up to the youngest of the jump-off contenders to attempt the only faultless finish of the class and take the win. Brittan and Unico, owned by Paradise Farms, blazed through the jump-off course with ease in 45.452 seconds, but left all the rails up to garner them first place honors.
"I've had Unico for three years now," said Brittan. "He jumped just awesome in the grand prix. That was the first opportunity I had to just go clean for the win. We were walking down there and were just planning on going all out. When Lacey had that rail down, my trainer, Lorcan [Gallagher], just said, 'Take about ten breaths — all you have to do is go clean.' So that was the plan. This was my first time riding in the grand prix ring — it was a lot of fun. I think we'll come back next year for sure."
Jumper Highlights: July 6–10
Meagan Nusz and Willow began their partnership three years ago, but it was not until just three months ago that Nusz and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding really hit their stride. They showcased their winning relationship on Friday, July 8, by clinching the first place prize in the $25,000 Amalaya Investments Welcome Stake at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.
Thirty-eight horse and rider combinations aimed to jump clear around the challenging first round course, designed by Olaf Petersen, in order to secure their chance to return for the jump-off. Many collected faults at fence nine, a tricky double combination, and only 13 were able to successfully advance to the short course, with six producing double clear rounds.
Brett Burlington, a 17-year-old from Miami, Florida, and Bluf, owned by Alden Burlington, were the first clear pathfinders as second in the jump-off order-of-go. They set the pace for the rest of the class in 40.370 seconds.
Seven trips later Nusz and Willow entered the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park and laid down a blazing, clear round, tripping the timers in 40.190 seconds and catching Burlington's time by just 2/10th's of a second to take the top spot and knock Burlington down to second.
Lacey Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC's Echo D followed Nusz's round with another double clear performance and just barely missed the cut for second place after finishing in 40.374 seconds — 4/1,000th's of a second behind Burlington. However, Gilbertson's time would go on to garner her third place honors.
Clear blue skies and a cool breeze that kept temperatures at a perfect 75 degrees set the scene for the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic on Saturday, July 9. Kelsey Thatcher of Pony Lane Farm and Chaviana maintained her early lead as the first to go, and rode to the win in Saturday'shighlight jumper event.
Thirty-seven horses and riders followed Thatcher's round but none were able to catch her double clear time of 33.428 seconds. The first round course, designed by Olaf Petersen, proved to be a technical one, challenging junior and amateur riders with rollbacks, a double and triple combination and a triple bar. As a result, only 12 were able to move on to the jump-off after the first round course, while four would go on to produce double clear rounds.
With Thatcher setting an untouchably, fast pace at the start of the class, it was 17-year-old Claire Mckean of Augusta Pines Farm and the Freedom Group's Plise who came the closest to beating her, finishing double clear in 34.463 seconds. Anna Beth Athey and her own Samoa rounded out the top three of the class, posting another double clear round in 35.653 seconds.
Thursday, July 7, of Week One highlighted the 1.40m Jumpers, with Michael Morrissey and La Lopez 3 pulling off the win 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.
Finishing in second as the fastest of the 4-faulters was David Beisel and Redfield Farm's Alastar in a speedy time of 38.673 seconds. David Jennings and S & L Farms' S & L Puppy Love collected 8-faults in the jump-off, garnering them third place honors in 39.340 seconds.
Ireland's Andrew Bourns of Andrew Bourns Sport Horses Inc. debuted his talents with his mare IDream on the 2016 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival's opening day, Wednesday, July 6, and secured the win in the 1.40m Jumpers and a second place in the 1.35m Jumpers.
Bourns and the 9-year-old Warmblood mare set the pace as the first to go in the 1.40m Jumpers. The pair was the only to jump double clear in the Table II.2.b format class and finished in 39.656 seconds to take the top spot. Theo Genn and Wilhelm Genn's Castiel finished behind Bourns with 8-faults in the jump-off in 37.118 seconds, while Liz Atkins and Benchmark Stables, LLC's Undine rounded out the top three as the fastest 4-faulter of the first round in 65.559 seconds.
Hunter Highlights: July 6–10
The R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring saw many talented hunter riders during the kick-off week for the second year of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. Riders of all ages took home ribbons in the Glory Days Farms, LLC $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby as well as in the professional and junior hunter divisions.
The highlight class of the week in the Main Hunter Ring was the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Glory Days Farm, LLC. Round one of the class saw 25 riders, with course designer Nick Granat offering many different high and low options leading to either a direct or bending line.
After round one, it was Maggie Gould and her mount Drommels, owned by Taje Warrick, who held the lead, earning a whopping 90 points with a spectacular round that included all four high options. Douglas Boyd rode Calido's Son to finish round one closely behind Gould with a score of 89, also tackling all of the high options in his course. Rounding out the top three after round one was Winn Alden aboard Cassino, following Boyd by only one half of a point with an 88.5.
The top twelve riders were invited back for the handy portion of the class, facing new challenges including multiple tight rollback options. Perhaps the most difficult task was the immediate rollback turn that followed the trot fence, making riders question whether or not to attempt it.
Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco may have finished round one in fourth place with a score of 88, but the pair came back strong in the handy round, skillfully navigating all tight rollback options. Hesslink and Esco's handy round earned an impressive score of 91, enough to move them up in the rankings and take the lead.
Gould went second to last in the lineup, with riders and spectators watching anxiously as she challenged Hesslink's lead. Her flawless handy round matched Hesslink's by earning a score of 91, and it was enough to secure Gould the first place with a total score of 181.
Hesslink ended the class in second place with a total score of 179, with Boyd and Calido's Son rounding out the top three after a handy round score of 84, totaling his final score to 173. Alden and Cassino maintained their top four spot by finishing in fourth place with a handy round score of 81 to total their score to 171.5.
Tim Goguen kicked off the beginning of the week strong with a championship win in the Green Conformation Hunter division riding Category. Goguen had two horses competing in the division but Category, his newer, greener gelding, proved his talent in the hunter ring by earning two firsts, a third and a fourth to secure the championship win.
Greg Crolick also had a strong start to the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival as he and his two mounts, Outshine and Encore CBF, competed in the Green Conformation Hunter division. It was with Outshine that Crolick took home the reserve champion tri-color in the class.
The Regular Conformation Hunter championship was awarded to Caroline Weeden riding Piper Benjamin's Corvine. Weeden and Corvine's winnings totaled two firsts, two seconds and a third place, enough to earn the tri-color ribbon as Benjamin and her mother watched proudly from the sidelines. Reserve champion in the Regular Conformation Hunter division went to Maggie Jayne aboard Bugsy Malone.
Emma Wujek was unstoppable in the 15 and Under Junior Hunter division with her mount, Puppet. The pair swept the division with five first place ribbons. The reserve champion went to Paige Matthies riding Justified, owned by Dudley Smith. In the Junior Hunter 16–17 division, Brett Burlington and Due West were the ones to come out on top and win the championship, with reserve champion going to Giavanna Rinaldi on Bugsy Malone.
Familiar junior hunter champions also proved themselves in the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic, with Wujek and Puppet's winning streak continuing on to secure the blue with a score of 171. Paige Matthies and Justified also earned another ribbon as the pair finished in second place with a total score of 169.5. Rounding out the top three in the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic was Summer Hill riding Eclypse to a total score of 167.
Competition for Series One Week Two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival kicks off on Wednesday, July 13, at 8 a.m.Week Two at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is WCHR week, and will feature the Glory Days Farm, LLC $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan, presented by Peninsula Capital Management and Craig Rosenberg, both held on Sunday, July 17.
Week Two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival 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 28featuring 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.
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