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Samuel Parot and Quick Du Pottier

Samuel Parot and Quick Du Pottier

Eugenio Garza and Bariano

Margie Engle and Indigo

Samuel Parot and Couscous Van Orti

Ryan Genn and Welcome COR

Samuel Parot and Couscous Van Orti

Margie Engle and Abunola

Wilhelm Genn and Dieta

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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Seven Wrap-Up: Aug. 2428

Written by: Taylor Renner, Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-08-30

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 30, 2016 – Families, friends and show jumping enthusiasts alike traveled to the Flintfields Horse Park on Sunday to watch the highly-anticipated conclusion of the 2016 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF): the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3*. It was Chile's Samuel Parot and Quick Du Pottier who stood atop the podium in the final standings, with Mexico's Eugenio Garza taking second place honors and Margie Engle (USA) rounding out the top three after a hard-fought battle in the Grand Prix Ring.
Course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed a technical first round track, keeping the crowd entertained as they watched 23 international horse and rider combinations navigate his 13-fence serpentine consisting of double and triple combinations, a triple bar obstacle, wide oxers, bending lines and tight rollbacks. Nine exhibitors were able to jump clear with no time faults to secure their spot in the tiebreaker.
Twenty-year-old Garza was the first to attempt the short course of eight fences aboard his trusted mount of four years, Bariano, owned by El Milagro.
Garza and the 15-year-old Belgium Warmblood gelding were the early clear pathfinders, making the jump-off appear smooth and effortless in 40.060 seconds.
Engle, winner of Friday's $40,000 Great Lakes Stake Classic CSI3* with Elm Rock Partners LLC's Abunola, followed Garza with Indigo, owned by Griese Garber, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds Farm. The pair was on pace to catch Garza's time but pulled an unfortunate rail at the skinny second to last fence to collect 4 faults and finish in 40.710 seconds.
Parot entered the ring with his first of two mounts qualified for the jump-off next. He piloted his own Couscous Van Orti, who won Thursday's $35,000 Welcome Stake CSI3* with Parot in the irons, to another 4-fault, but speedy, finish in 40.930 seconds, just two tenths of a second behind Engle's time.
It was Parot and his second mount, Quick Du Pottier, who had their eyes on the prize and came out with guns blazing five rounds later, with Garza still in the first place position as the only double clear finisher. They raced around the short course and flew over the final fence with no faults in 38.670 seconds, besting Garza's starting pace by two full seconds to takeover the top spot.
Closing out a very successful three weeks at GLEF, Parot cashed in on Sunday with both the first and fourth place prizes with his two mounts, taking top honors with Quick Du Pottier, a 12-year-old Selle Français gelding. Garza claimed the second place with the only other clear round of the jump-off, while Engle secured the third place as the fastest of the 4-fault finishers.
"I was only planning to compete through the first week here, but then I decided to stay for all three," said Parot. "It is a very nice place — a super show. It was a good show to help him step up. The people are very nice, and the show is very good. My family came in last week, and it's always better with family. I am happy they were able to be here today. We will be back next year!"
As the 2016 GLEF circuit officially comes to a close, exhibitors, owners and spectators are already looking forward to 2017. The show is scheduled to return to Traverse City, Michigan, in 2017, kicking off on July 5.
"I think this show will grow," said Palacios. "I think next year and the year after, we will have more horses and riders. This is an exceptional venue. Horses, in my view, need to be near nature. In our sport, it is a marriage, and today our sport goes to so many places that are artificial. Here they use everything — they use topography and you are surrounded by nature. The trees are beautiful, and the city of Traverse City is a fantastic place. I think this show, and this place, have a lot of potential."
Jumper Highlights: Wednesday – Sunday
The final week of GLEF Series Two commenced Wednesday morning. Jumper competition kicked off in the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park with the 1.40m and 1.35m classes highlighting the day's events. Ryan Genn and Adam Prudent started the week off in winning form, leading the way and grabbing blue ribbons in the 1.40m and 1.35m classes.
The 1.40m Open Jumpers hosted 10 horse and rider combinations with six jumping clear around Palacios' first round course to advance to the jump-off.
Genn of Rheinland Farm and Ann Anastasio's Welcome COR, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare, were the early double clear pathfinders as third in the order-of-go. He maintained his lead throughout the entirety of the class, breaking the beam in the jump-off in an untouchable 39.887 seconds.
The 1.35m Open Jumpers on Wednesday featured 11 exhibitors vying for the top prize. From the original starting field, only five were able to move on to the immediate jump-off round. David Jennings and North Face Farm's Elektrisk set the time to beat as second to go in a double clear round of 41.261 seconds.
Prudent and Plain Bay Sales' Victorio 5, a 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion, entered the ring one round later and bested Jennings' time by one second, crossing the finish line in 37.964 seconds to move into first place.
Wilhelm Genn and Taylor Reid's Dieta produced the next double clear round in 39.292 seconds to move behind Prudent in the standings, but Dorothy Cox and Joy Ride, owned by IAG Syndicate, LLC, outpaced Genn four rounds later in 38.492 seconds for second place honors, while Genn rounded out the top three.
Twenty-six international horse and rider combinations gathered at the Flintfields Horse Park Grand Prix Ring on Thursday to kick-off GLEF's CSI3* competition with the $35,000 Welcome Stake CSI3*. It was the country of Chile whose national anthem rang throughout the showgrounds at the end of the day as Samuel Parot clinched the first FEI title of the week aboard his own Couscous Van Orti.
Venezuela's Palacios designed Thursday's challenging one-round speed course, which saw 13 exhibitors finish clear with no faults.
Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Maarten Huygens' Ilan were the early clear pathfinders, crossing the finish line in 67.650 seconds. Lisa Goldman (USA) entered the ring next and piloted her own Morocco, a 13-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding, to a blazing time of 57.770 seconds, shaving 10 seconds off of Kerins' time to beat.
However, Parot followed Goldman one round later and, with his 14-year-old Belgium Warmblood gelding, broke the beam in 55.970 seconds, besting Goldman's time by two seconds and taking over the top spot on the leaderboard.
Goldman took another shot at reclaiming her first place position with her own Hindsight. She rode the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding to a time of 57.830 seconds, just one tenth of a second behind her own time with Morocco.
Parot wore a target on his back as David Beisel (USA) entered the ring two rounds later aboard the big strided 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises LLC. The pair came close to catching Parot's lead as they raced through the timers in 56.510 seconds to move into second place, garnering Goldman third and fourth place honors with her two mounts.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games may have come to a close last week, but GLEF saw its own version of Olympic athleticism on Friday as 2000 Sydney Olympic U.S. Show Jumping Team member, Margie Engle (USA), bested the field of 24 international horses and riders to win the $40,000 Great Lakes Stake Classic CSI3*. Despite feeling under the weather, Engle's competitive nature did not falter. She persevered and piloted Abunola, owned by Elm Rock Partners LLC, to claim the blue ribbon in her first time competing at Flintfields Horse Park.
Course designer Palacios built a large first round track of 12 obstacles with a tight time allowed of 78 seconds. Fourteen exhibitors were able to produce clear rounds with no faults, thus securing their chance to return for the tiebreaker.
Palacios' jump-off course proved to be a bit more challenging, however, as only five exhibitors were able to leave all of the rails intact and jump double clear rounds.
Engle was the first clear pathfinder of the jump-off, leading the way with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare in 40.880 seconds.
One round later, it was Nick Novak (USA) and his own Dirkie Z who finished with the second double clear round. He tripped the timers just one second behind Engle in 41.130 seconds.
Abigail McArdle (USA) followed Novak with the first of two mounts qualified for the jump-off. She rode Plain Bay Sales' Contessina Della Caccia to a faultless effort in 43.460 seconds. She re-entered the ring six rounds later aboard Plain Bay Sales' Adamo and finished double clear once again in 42.020 seconds to beat her first time, however still placing behind Novak in the standings.
Lisa Goldman (USA) was last to go with her own Hindsight. After collecting faults with her first two mounts in the jump-off, Goldman crossed the finish line with no faults in 41.810 seconds to place third. Novak took second place honors, while McArdle finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively, and Engle led the lap of honor.
"The footing is great; the horses really seem to love the footing here," said Engle. "The staff are doing everything they can to keep all of the exhibitors happy. They have been very accommodating. They are offering nice ranking classes, which makes it a good show to come to. It is a beautiful area. I cannot say enough good things about the people running the show."
The Grand Prix Ring at GLEF took a break from the week's FEI competition on Saturday and highlighted the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers and the $1,500 YJC 7-Year-Old Qualifier at the Flintfields Horse Park. Father/son duo Wilhelm and Theo Genn came out and took the top prize in both of the day's feature jumper classes.
Thirteen exhibitors turned out for the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper competition, where five jumped clear around the Palacios-designed first round course to advance to the immediate jump-off round. The top three finishers were the only horse and rider combinations to produce double clear efforts, and three of the top four spots were filled by Genns in the final standings.
At the end of the day, it was Wilhelm who took the blue ribbon with Taylor Reid's Dieta, while Theo finished second with Eduardo Leon's Dirocco Blue and Eugenio Garza claimed the third place honors aboard El Milagro's Lawfull Z.
Prior to the 1.40m class on Saturday was the $1,500 YJC 7-Year-Old Qualifier, which saw eight horses and riders vying for the blue ribbon and three jump clear to advance to the short course.
Theo and Eduardo Leon's Enigma walked away with the win in a fault-free performance around both of Palacios' courses in 36.635 seconds. Sarah Segal and Robert Segal's Performance EP finished with the second place, also double clear, in 39.193 seconds. David Jennings and Golden Warrior, owned by Magnolia Properties LLC, rounded out the top three with 13 faults in the jump-off in 58.005 seconds.
Three weeks of competition concluded Sunday afternoon as the jumper classics set the scene for the afternoon's highlight feature, the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3*. It was Eugenio Garza who captured the victory with Lawfull Z as the only double clear of the $10,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, while Kyle Perkovich rode to a speedy win in the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic with Roc My World.
The $10,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic challenged horse and rider alike with a difficult course that ultimately only two riders would master. Each consecutive rider of the class attempted to best Leopoldo Palacio's track, but to no avail. Only Garza and Lawfull Z, owned by El Milagro, and Canada's Ayla Barton aboard Dorestus, owned by Laura Barton, would find the path to the jump-off.
Since Garza was the fourth in the order, and the first to post a clean round, he knew he had to put the pressure on Barton by not only going clear, but also setting a hard time to beat. He stopped the clock in 33.233 seconds, leaving all rails in their cups for a double clear effort.
Although Barton tried to duplicate Garza's path, a rail at the penultimate fence would put her into second place with Dorestus. Third place was awarded to Taylor Reid and Ugano, the fastest of the 4-faulters, stopping the clock during the first round course in 78.472 seconds.
During the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, 15-year-old Kyle Perkovich took an early lead as the class' trail blazer, and continued his stronghold as only five other riders would find their way to the speed track.
Perkovich was the first to jump the short track, and he stuck to his plan until the final line, which was an eight-stride. He made the last minute decision to leave one out in order to put the pressure on his competitors.
Natalie Horween and Quenotte P claimed the second place in 31.803 seconds, while Lily Hahn and Victoria VII finished with the third place with a double clear effort in 31.985 seconds.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday – Saturday

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) welcomed competitors to the R.L. Polk Main Hunter Ring for the seventh and final week of competition at the Flintfields Horse Park. Hillary Johnson of Lowell, Michigan, a consistent GLEF competitor, has shown numerous hunter mounts to the top of the leaderboard for tricolors throughout the two-part series, and she kicked off the final week of competition in a similar fashion, collecting consecutive blue ribbons in the professional hunter divisions to take a strong first day lead.

Johnson began the day by showing Moonwalk, owned by Copper Fox LLC of Grand Rapids, Michigan, to first and second place finishes over fences in the Green Working Hunters, and returned aboard Sorrento, owned by Copper Fox LLC, to also capture a first place and a third place over fences.

During the Green Conformation Hunters, it was Johnson and Voyager, owned by Copper Fox LLC, who captured the judges' attention, first winning the model and then taking the first place over fences. Johnson duplicated her efforts with Sorrento, claiming the first place in the handy, and also pinning second in the model and third over fences. Pick Six, with Kelsey Wickham in the irons, was awarded back-to-back red ribbons over fences, as well as the third place in the model.

Johnson continued her winning ways in the Performance Hunters, where she rode Rogelio, owned by Cole Battershall of Ada, Michigan, to a first-day sweep of the division. Kendall Meijer picked up the third place over fences, and the second in the handy, finishing the day with the second place under saddle. Johnson also took home the second and third place over fences with Foremost, owned by Battershall.

Johnson has plans to go to all four indoor shows with various horses, and said that she is happy with how all of the horses have been going leading up to the finals, and the duration of GLEF.

Hillary Johnson is a consistent competitor at the GLEF, and has been for years. Johnson returned to the Flintfields Horse Park for the 2016 edition, taking Series One by storm, and returning for the second series to dominate all three weeks of competition.

Johnson kicked off Thursday morning with three blue ribbons aboard Moonwalk, owned by Copper Fox LLC. Her triad of first place finishes secured the grey gelding the Wrenwood Farm Green Working Hunter Championship. She rode her second mount of the division, Sorrento, owned by Copper Fox LLC, to the reserve rosette with the second and third place over fences, as well as the third place under saddle on the second day of competition.

Moonwalk was also awarded the Wrenwood Farm Green Working Hunter Circuit Championship, with Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six earning the Reserve Circuit Championship.

During the Green Conformation Hunters, Copper Fox LLC's Voyager made a clean second-day sweep, clinching the championship just ahead of Sorrento, who picked up his second reserve championship of Week Seven.

Kelsey Wickham and Pick Six captured the Green Conformation Hunter Circuit Championship, while Johnson and Sorrento won the Reserve Circuit Championship.

With the 2016 school year underway, the struggles of juggling an academic schedule and showing are well known to the juniors competing at the GLEF. On Friday morning, competition kicked off for the Large Junior Hunters at the Flintfields Horse Park, with Keara Obrzut and Cake taking the lead.

Obrzut competed at GLEF during the first series, and only recently returned to Traverse City for the seventh and final week of the circuit. The pair laid down solid rounds in the Junior Hunters during their first stay, and did not disappoint Friday. Obrzut rode her own Cake, a 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding, to the first place over fences, and claimed the second place in the handy as well as the third place under saddle.

Cole Battershall and Rogelio also captured good ribbons, riding to the win in the handy as well as the third place over fences and the second place under saddle. Paige Matthies, Week Five and Six Junior Hunter Champion, rode Justified, owned by Dudley Smith, to the second place over fences as well as the third place in the handy. Matthies also captured the win in the under saddle, and brought home a trio of third place ribbons aboard her second mount of the class, Icaris Vede, owned by Smith.

Obrzut hopes to continue to place well during the second day of competition Saturday. The ambitious 15-year-old has her sights set on competing in the USHJA International Hunter Derby series as well as trying her skills in show jumping. She laughed, saying, "Maybe I can try going forward for once."

Keara Obrzut and Cake closed out the GLEF with the Large 15 & Under Junior Hunter Championship on Saturday. The pair, who has been working on consistency, laid down solid rounds over the two days of competition to successfully score the capstone of their junior career, a championship win that meant the world to the 15-year-old.

Obrzut was all smiles as she and her 6-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding Cake walked into the ring to accept the championship. They captured the tricolor with the first and third place finishes Saturday, and overtook the lead when combined with the first and second place ribbons they earned Friday. The pair went a step further in the 15–17 Equitation, laying down back-to-back blue ribbon rides to secure the division championship.

Paige Matthies and Justified, owned by Dudley Smith, were awarded the Large Junior Hunter Reserve Championship for Week Seven, and they capped off they second series of GLEF with the Large Junior Hunter Circuit Championship.

Matthies and Justified, or Rio as he is more affectionately known, are no strangers to the winner's circle. The pair captured the GLEF Series One Large Junior Hunter Championship, and are also currently ranked number one in the nation for the Large 15 and Under Junior Hunters.

Rio is owned by Matthies' grandfather, Dudley Smith, who also owns Rufus (Icaris Vede), Matthies equitation horse. Smith was onsite at the Flintfields Horse Park to watch Matthies show — a happy occasion for Matthies.

Matthies made the recent decision to show Rufus in the hunter divisions as well as the equitation. The 8-year-old chestnut surprised everyone when he came out at the top of the divisions as well as capturing second place during the Week Six Glory Days Farm, LLC $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The happy surprise continued when Rufus was announced as the Large Junior Hunter Reserve Circuit Champion.

Horses were not the only form of entertainment lined up for this year's Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. The festival teamed up with top musicians and entertainers from around the country to offer fun-filled evenings for this year's concert and dinner series.

Week Seven headlined the Billy Strings Bluegrass Closing Party by on Sunday, Aug. 28.

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 onsite campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.

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