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Press Release


Nick Novak and Climbus

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Series One Strikes a Positive Chord with 2016 Exhibitors

Written by: Kenneth Kraus
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-08-03

Traverse City, MI - August 3, 2016 - The first portion of the 2016 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival has drawn to a close and from those that came to compete in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive for Morrissey Management Group's (MMG) second-year production.
From excellent reviews for the upgraded footing to the wonderful hospitality and fabulous food in the VIP Tent, those that made the trip to the Lower Peninsula were thrilled that they added the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival to their schedule.
Andre Dignelli who decided to sample the series a couple of years ago, decided to return to the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival for the 2016 edition, and plans to return next year. "I had been here before, many years ago, and I liked it. I knew that the area offered a lot for families, to not only horse show, but also for a nice family vacation. When my friend Ivan Rakowsky became involved with the facility, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit and to support him - give it another go and expose it to our other junior families."
Sophie Michaels and Balouba

The variety offered by the wide ranging schedule at GLEF was one of the reasons that Dignelli returned again this year. "We have everything from ponies right up into the grand prix division. We have a young rider doing her very first grand prix. The grand prix ring is beautifully done, the jumps are nicely decorated, the footing is great and the courses are great. We enjoyed Saturday'shunter derby, they really put on a great event. It was really a big job for them to change everything over. It was a very exciting class. All in all, it has been great. We have enjoyed the horse show and the local surroundings, and we would definitely come back," he stated. 
Speaking of management's cooperation, Dignelli noted, "The equitation all went in a secondary ring the first week that I was here. I asked them if there was any way that they could fit the equitation into the grand prix ring, and they were very accommodating and moved the Washington and the USET into the grand prix ring. It was a great course, tight time allowed and good practice for the upcoming Finals." 
"As the show gets bigger, they will have to work on the time schedule a bit. I know that there are big plans for this place to have more rings and add the same footing as the grand prix to the other areas. All in all, it is a wonderful horse show and a great family experience," he said.
Top jumper rider Nick Novak, who had a tremendous first four weeks with a number of top-notch wins, stated, "I have been coming here since it came to the new facility, and we will be here all three weeks for the FEI CSI2*. It is a great atmosphere. We love it here, and so do the horses."
Nick Novak and Climbus
For Rachel McMullen, it was her first show under the direction of MMG. "This is actually my second time back here, but my first time with the new management. I show in all three rings, so it's been great. Exhibitor services are amazing, the rings have been great and I'm just really thrilled with how it's been going," McMullen acknowledged.
Some of the real highlights of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival come with the huge amount of activities to enjoy, once the horse showing is done for the day, or on the days off between shows. Veteran rider David Beisel mapped out some of his extracurricular activities. "I got to go fishing all morning on our day off, and the day before that, we were out on Torch Lake. Traverse City truly is a family affair, the whole family loves it. We all show, and we are able to enjoy all that Traverse City offers," he said. "The horse show is great, and we love being able to get on the water and it allows for quality family time. It is a special thing that we can do this-there is so much family fun stuff, it really makes it a special show."
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby winner, Courtney Calcagnini, returned to Traverse City for the first time in a few years and was full of praise. "The management is super," she said. "They've done an awesome job. It is such a relaxed atmosphere, everyone loves it. Going out on the lake in the afternoons and on Mondays is so much fun."
Courtney Calcagnini and Bowie

A similar sentiment comes from young rider Sophie Gochman. It has not been all work and no play for Gochman. She found time to enjoy some of all of the fun that Traverse City offers. "I went tubing, water skiing and jet skiing," Gochman grinned. "We are having a great time here."
Veteran rider Scott Lenkart said in conclusion, "I have always enjoyed this show. I was here for the first show at a different show grounds. This is my favorite show in the country. My youngest daughter Lilly, who is now 10, learned how to walk in the aisle on a Sunday after a grand prix that I won. It's been that long. GLEF brings everyone together, it is that kind of show and that kind of town."
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. Act now to reserve stabling spots, and do not miss out on the chance to compete during the all-new FEI Great Lakes Equestrian Festival series in August.
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 or to view schedules, please visit or


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