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ATTACHED PHOTOS

Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six

Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six

Hillary Johnson and Moonwalk

Hillary Johnson and Rogelio

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Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six Capture Back-to-Back Championships in Professional Hunter Divisions

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG) http://www.stadiumjumping.com/sj/index.cfm
Release Date: 2016-08-11

Traverse City, Mich. – August 11, 2016 – Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six dominated the second day of professional hunter divisions during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Five. After setting a strong lead in the Conformation Hunters on Wednesday, Wickham returned to the R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring to not only take home the Conformation Hunter Championship, but also the Green Working Hunter rosette.

“It was a really good second day, and a really good week,” Wickham smiled. “Today, he felt amazing. He walked into the ring and he was so loose and relaxed—I honestly didn’t do anything. He was perfect—he was dead on, so straight, and everything was right out of his canter stride today.”

Wickham and Bandit, as Pick Six is more commonly known around the barn, nearly made a clean sweep of the hunter division, earning the first place finish in every over fences class, as well as the under saddle. It was only the model that the duo narrowly missed, with Catango V, owned by Samantha Gajoch, and shown by Jennifer Nadalin, taking the first place finish, and eventually the reserve championship.

Nadalin said, “We just moved him back up to the Conformation Hunters last week. He is great—super reliable and always does his job. He felt really good both days, he is really honest and really brave.”

His owner Gojach said, “Catango is a love bug, he loves attention. He wants to be in your lap all the time, and he is very nosy. He also loves to be scratched, when I get nervous before I go into the ring on him, I sit there and scratch his neck. We have had him for about two and a half years. We are going to show in the Amateur-Owner Hunters this week, I am excited to get back in the ring and show in the division again.”

Wickham laughed, “We aren’t the best model horse, it’s not our forte. We honestly do the division so that he has two divisions to do, gets practice over the 3’6”, and then is prepared for his next job. We have been doing both, but he has been really successful in the Conformation, so we have kept competing in it.”

The pair currently has their sights set on Harrisburg in the fall for the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. They have been working diligently to qualify for the indoor final, and Week Five of GLEF, sealed the deal with their championship win.

“Today helped a lot with the points to qualify for Harrisburg,” Wickham said. “It was the last week to qualify, so getting the championship this week was very helpful.”

Wickham also clinched the championship tricolor in the Green Working Hunters, where she and Bandit rounded out the two days with the first and second place finishes over fences, as well as the second place in the under saddle. Hillary Johnson and Moonwalk, owned by Copper Fox LLC, concluded the division with the reserve championship, after taking the win in the under saddle, as well as two third place ribbons for their efforts over fences.

Johnson returned to the ring for the Performance Hunters, putting in two phenomenal over fences rounds with Rogelio, owned by Cole Battershall, to clinch the championship with the first and second place awards over fences.

The 12-year-old gelding rose to the occasion on the second day, “He felt great, and ready to go for his kid this week,” Johnson said. “Cole will be back this weekend for the juniors, and I don’t always show him, but we wanted to give him a little tune up.”

The reserve championship was awarded to Alise Oken and Cavalia, owned by Hi Hopes Farm, LLC, who captured the first place in the handy on Wednesday and returned to take the first and third place finishes over fences on Thursday. Johnson is now aiming to compete in the $2,500 Glory Days Farm, LLC USHJA National Hunter Derby on Sunday with two mounts.

“Last year, I had a whole bunch of horses for the derby, and I have a Pre-Green that is on the verge of being ready,” Johnson said. “It gives them something to do other than their Pre-Green division, and is a good ladder up to the International Hunter Derbies. We tend to pick really brave horses, and the National Hunter Derbies help to keep them brave and focused.”

The Pre-Green horse to which Johnson spoke of was none other than the Treesdale Pre-Green Hunter Reserve Champion, Vienna, owned by Altair Farms. The pair also secured the first place in the $1,000 Treesdale Farms USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive Stake. The champion of the Treesdale Pre-Green Hunters was Maggie Gould and Karoleena, owned by Christy Powell. 

Series Two kicked off on August 10 and will run 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. Hunter highlights include the USHJA National Hunter Derby, which will take place each Sunday through the end of the second series. 

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 mmg.management or www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.

 

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