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Press Release


Paige Matthies and Justified

Olivia Jacobs and Southside

Paige Matthies and Justified

Kathryn Brown and Bourbon Street

Kathryn Brown and Bourbon Street

Isabel Hermelin and Zekiel

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Paige Matthies and Justified Secure Large Junior Hunter Championship and Classic Victories During GLEF Week V

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-08-13

Traverse City, Mich. – August 13, 2016 – Paige Matthies is a 14-year-old who has dominated the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) leaderboard, from the hunters to the equitation, and even in the jumpers, Matthies consistently exceeds expectations. On Saturday afternoon, she did not fall short as she rode Justified, owned by Dudley Smith, to the championship in the Large Junior Hunter division, sponsored by French Road Cellars, as well as the highly competitive $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic.

“I love him,” Matthies said of Justified. “We got him in November of last year, and we haven’t been together that long, but he has just been amazing. He has taught me so much; I have come very far with him.”

Matthies currently sits fourth in the nation with Justified in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters. She added the Large Junior Hunter Championship during the GLEF Week Five to their already impressive repertoire. Olivia Jacobs and Southside, owned by Barney Jacobs, earned the reserve championship.

“The last two days, he has been amazing, he is perfect,” Matthies said. “He is very light in the mouth, so you have to try not to use too much hand. He is very sensitive, so he likes to be asked rather than told what to do, and he will always do what he asks.”

Matthies rode Justified to the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic victory, with the first round score of 85 points and the second round score of 81.5 points, clinching the win with the cumulative score of 166.5 points. Emma Lena Green and Hennessey finished in the second place, only a half a point shy of Matthies. The third place was also picked up by Matthies and her second mount of the division, Icaris Vede.

“I really enjoyed the first round, it was a great course,” Matthies said of Eric Mayberry’s classic courses. “I liked that you got to end on the far end, so I was able to show off his trot. The second course was a long one, which showed the ability to keep the horse going, and he responded really well to that. He really shined out there. He is a great jumper, and he has a great expression.”

As Matthies walked out to the winner’s circle with Justified trotting after her, the 9-year-old gelding slightly nipped at her, only making her laugh as she acknowledged, “He is silly. He doesn’t know that biting hurts.”

The duo has been a pair since November of 2016, and Matthies has been working with trainer Melissa Hirt to better understand him. “He is an amazing horse,” continued Matthies. “He is a really easy ride, and he just needs the right feel. He is really soft, and wants to do the best he can, but on the ground he is extremely silly.”

Matthies plans to stay throughout the duration of the second series, and then is looking forward to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the CP National Horse Show for the Junior Hunter Finals.

For 15-year-old Kathryn ‘Kit’ Brown of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, winning the championship in the Junior 3’3” Hunters was the icing on the cake for her summer show tour. Having only bought Bourbon Street, the 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, Brown has been working both on the ground and in the saddle to solidify their partnership.

“He is really smart and saves me a lot,” Brown laughed. “He has a really good personality. I have been riding him for about six months, I just got him this winter in Wellington. I tried him there and then brought him home. This is our second big show, we competed in Kentucky, too, but this show went really well!”

Brown continued, “I spend a lot of time with him on the ground, and I ride him every day. We have a good relationship, and he has a great personality. He is so funny and curious about everything.”

Brown kicked off the division on Friday with wins in the over fences and handy, and returned Saturday to clinch the championship with another first and third place finish over fences, as well as the fourth place in the under saddle.

“You just have to stay connected with him, and tell him what to do,” Brown smiled. “As long as you do that, he will be right there for you. He has an amazing jump, and he doesn’t move too well, but when you see him jump it makes up for it—He is amazing.”

Brown has plans to continue working with trainer Heather Irvine as they prepare to move into the Junior 3’6” Hunters. She hopes to one day qualify for the Junior Hunter Finals.

Isabel Hermelin and Zekiel won the Junior 3’3” Hunter Reserve Championship with the first place in the under saddle, as well as three second place ribbons over fences, and the third for their efforts in the handy round.

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 do not 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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