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Press Release


Sophie Michaels and Coco

Sophie Michaels and Coco

Sloan Hopson and Coachella

Emma Lena Green and Hennessy

Sophie Gochman and VIP Z

Sophie Gochman and VIP Z

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Photographs may be used free of charge only in relation to the PMG press releases they pertain to.

Sophie Michaels Shines in Junior Hunters at The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Written by: Sarah Harper
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-07-22

Traverse City, MI – July 22, 2016 – On day three of The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival it was the junior riders who had their turn to shine under sunny blue skies in the R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. It was a blue ribbon day for Sophie Michaels and Coco in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 over fences classes Friday. Michaels and Coco a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, owned by Further Lane Farm, claimed the top spot in both the over fences class as well as the handy round.

Following behind Michaels in the over fences class, second place went to Emma Lena Green and her own Hennessy, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding. The pair was also third in the handy round. Lily Walton and her own Callahan a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding rounded out the top three. Bringing home the red ribbon in the handy round was Cole Battershall and Rogelio an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rolling Acres Farm.

Michaels and Coco are a seasoned pair. “I’ve had this horse for almost five years,” Michaels explained. “He was my first jumper and then he turned into my equitation horse. Now I have other equitation horses so he’s there if we need him and he’s really great. He’s a jack of all trades. He can do anything and I feel really comfortable on him. He was really good today.”

Michaels was happy with her ride on her veteran partner. “He is a bit of a slow horse, Michaels said. “He’s definitely cold, but once you get him going he’s great.  Today he had a lot of life to him which was good, you just kind of cruise around.”

In the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division, the top spot in the over fences class went to Sloan Hopson and Coachella a 14-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Avery Griffin, Hopson and Coachella also took home third place in the handy round. In second place was Sophie Gochman and VIP Z, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Scott Stewart, the pair took home the blue in the handy class. Rounding out the top three in the over fences class was Paige Matthies and Justified a 9-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Dudley B. Smith. Second place in the handy class went to Rachel McMullen and Clear Sailing a 9-year-old warmblood mare owned by Redfield Farm.

This is only the second show together for Gochman and VIP Z but the pair is already finding success with a win in the THIS National Children’s Medal during Week Two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

Gochman was happy with her ride on her new partner. “It went really well,” Gochman smiled. This is my second time showing him, so I was really proud of him and the handy was really good. I’m really figuring him out, the first round was still pretty good. Sometimes it felt like it could have been better, but I feel like I’m really connecting with him.”

Gochman will take to the ring again on Satuday to vie for the division championships, but that is not her ultimate goal with her VIP Z. “We’re going to finish up with the juniors,” Gochman said. “Hopefully we are going to start the big eq soon.” It has not been all work and no play for Gochman however, she has found time to enjoy some of the fun that Traverse City has to offer. “I went tubing, water skiing and jet skiing,” Gochman grinned. “I tried to go parasailing yesterday, but it was too windy. We are having a great time here.”

Hunter competition will continue Saturday in the R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring with the junior riders vying for division championships. Sunday will see the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Glory Days Farm LLC. 

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.

To view the competition schedule, please click here.

For travel and housing information, please click here.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brook Berganza at

For questions and comments, feel free to contact


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