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Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six

Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six

Paige Matthies and Icaris Vede

Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six

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Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six Capture Glory Days $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Victory at GLEF Six

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-08-21

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 21, 2016 – The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival concluded its sixth week of hunter competition with the highlight event of the second series, the $5,000 Glory Day Farm, LLC USHJA National Hunter Derby. Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six rode to the top of the leaderboard with a cumulative 178-point total, while 14-year-old Paige Matthies and Icaris Vede for the second place honors.

Wickham has owned Pick Six, or ‘Bandit’ as he is more affectionately called, for a little over a year. Purchasing him was a decision that she never regretted, noting that “he was too nice, and we didn’t really want him to leave the barn,” so she bought him. Bandit proved himself once again on Sunday afternoon when he laid down an exceptional classic round, earning the score of 84 points, and jumping all high options, to take the lead with a total of 88 points.

“He has been amazing,” Wickham acknowledged. “He was a little fresh today. We decided not to do him in the Conformation or the First Year Hunters this week, so we took it easy and put him in the derby for fun. This is his first derby of the year, so we thought it would be a nice change to do a bigger class.

“We walked into the ring, he was ready to go. He was all about it today,” Wickham said. “The classic actually had a couple of tricky parts, but our decisions on the course paid off.” 

Wickham held the highest classic score, meaning that she would return last in the order for the handy round. Although nerve-racking to watch her fellow competitors, Wickham had a plan and she wanted to stick to it.

“The handy round was nice, but the tight turns were definitely tight. You had to either make a tight turn or go all the way around, which meant that it was obvious if you weren’t being handy. You had to commit and go all out,” Wickham said.

Paige Matthies, the young talent who has swept the Junior Hunter divisions during the GLEF Series Two, earned the score of 80 points, with four high-option points included, to return as the third to last to go in the order. Only Aristea Santoro and Comtico, owned by Equinvest Partners LLC, placed ahead of her after the classic round, holding a score of 83 points.

Matthies only recently began riding Icaris Vede (Rufus) in the hunter divisions. Normally her equitation horse, she made the decision to enter him for a change of scenery from the equitation ring. Having competed in five national hunter derbies in her junior career, Matthies felt confident going into the Glory Days National Hunter Derby at GLEF, especially since she knew that she could capitalize on her prowess as an equitation rider and her trust in her handy mount, even with it being their inaugural derby together.

“The junior hunters have been going really well for us, he is an adorable jumper, and he was reserve champion this week, and won the Junior Hunter Classic today” Matthies smiled. “I am so happy that we won the second place today. It was his first derby, and he also just recently came back from an injury, so this meant a lot.”

In June of 2015, Matthies discovered that Rufus had a fracture in his coffin bone, which proved to be minor and located on the outer edge, but enough for him need nine months off.

“He came back better than he has ever been. He is an amazing horse, and he has been sound ever since,” Matthies said with relief.

Knowing that she could lean on Rufus in the handy, Matthies stuck to a very tight inside track, and was the first rider to land from the fifth obstacle, the oxer out of the two-stride, and make an immediate right rollback over the consecutive vertical. The only other rider to attempt such a turn was the victor, Wickham.

“He is very sweet, brave and wants to do the best that he can. Whatever you ask him to do, he will do it, he just wants to make his rider happy,” Matthies said. “Since I do him mostly in the equitation, I knew that we could do the inside turns, which I normally wouldn’t attempt on a hunter mount. I knew that I could land and turn, and that he would be right there for me and not be upset about it.”

The inside track proved enough to move Matthies into the second place with a handy score of 81 points, and with all high options, a total score of 85 points. When combined with her first-round score, the cumulative points sat at 165, only seven points shy of Wickham.

Wickham commented on her choice to take the same track as Matthies, “We decided to commit to the inside track, and this was the time to do it. He has been great, and it was good practice for him. Might as well be all in now!”

It paid off for Wickham and Bandit, who captured the win with the high scoring round of 90 points, with high options included. Even though Wickham has not entered Bandit into many hunter derbies, and the Glory Days USHJA National Hunter Derby will be the first of the year, he rose to the occasion, and Wickham laughed, “I guess he still likes these classes.”

The third place was awarded to Aristea Santoro and Comtico for their total of 164 points, while Michelle Durpetti captured the fourth. Olivia Jacobs and Southside finished fifth, while Jennifer Nadalin and August Rush rounded out the top six.

Series Two kicked 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. Hunter highlights include the Glory Days 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





1          410       PICK SIX         KELSEY WICKHAM                  88.000   90.000   178.000 %

2          311       ICARIS VEDE  PAIGE MATTHIES       80.000   85.000   165.000 %                    

3          314       COMTICO        ARISTEA SANTORO    83.000   81.000   164.000 %                    

4          466       LUCCA MICHELLE DURPETTI  69.000   84.000   153.000 %

5          186   SOUTHSIDE        OLIVIA JACOB 74.000   76.000   150.000 %                    

6          127       AUGUST RUSH            JENNIFER NADALIN    70.000   79.000   149.000 %                    

7          128       CATANGO V    JENNIFER NADALIN    68.000   79.000   147.000 %

8          190       CAVALIA          ALISE OKEN    73.000   69.000   142.000 %                    

9          215       SALT LIFE        KELSEY WICKHAM                  45.000   86.000   131.000 %        

10         465       MOODY BLUES           MICHELLE DURPETTI  20.000   71.000   91.000 %           


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