Traverse City, MI – July 24, 2016 – Week Four of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival concluded with an impressive winning streak in the R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. Maggie Gould scored a hat trick on Saturday winning the $5,000 Glory Days Farm LLC, USHJA National Hunter Derby for the third consecutive week.
The second place spot went to Caitlyn Shiels aboard Donald Stewart’s Cassius, a 16-year-old warmblood gelding. Rounding out the top three was Isabella Russekoff and Chinchilla, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Suave Pony LLC.
The first round of the derby saw 28 entries trying to break Gould’s winning streak over an Andy Christiansen designed course that gave riders several different high or low options and bending lines. After the first round of competition, it was Gould and Taje Warrick’s Drommels, an 8-year-old KWPN gelding who sat in the lead, earning 90 points with an impressive round that included all four high options.
The top twelve riders were invited back to the ring for the handy course, a more technical course with tight inside turn options and a trot fence. Gould returned ninth for the handy round and used the late spot to her advantage.
“There were a couple inside turns that we weren’t sure about,” Gould said. “I watched a couple of them do the inside turns and he’s really good at that so we went inside after the trot jump and he did it really well and I did the inside turn to the last jump and he was super.”
Gould was full of praise for Drommels who is new to the hunter ring having competed in the Children’s Jumper divisions during this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
“He’s just a really good hunter, Drommels smiled. “He goes in there every time and he tries his best to win. He gives 110% every time he walks in the ring and he’s super handy so it really helps for the derbies.”
Gould has not yet decided if she will come back and try for a fourth consecutive win next week, or if she will try her hand at the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by the Gochman Family and Baxter Hill Farm on July 30.
Sitting in third place after the first round with a score of 86 that included all four high options, Caitlyn Shiels returned eighth for the handy round. She put in a splendid round that included all four options earning her a score of 88. Cassius had a bit of a rest this week and clearly came back in top form. Caitlyn Shiels and Cassio. PC: Sarah Harper
“My plan today was just to be really smooth,” Shiels said. We gave him the week off from showing and we let him rest up to be ready for today. I thought he came out and performed very nicely. He jumped all the jumps very smooth, he was super.”
Shiels complimented the course and its diversity. “I thought it was nice,” Shiels said. “I thought there were some really nice lines, there were a couple tricky turns which really made you think about the back side of the jump and really steering, the end jump came up quick both times so I think it was kind of a test for a little bit of everyone.
“We are here one more week,” Shiels continued. “My plan for next week is to shoot to do the international derby on the weekend and maybe so some of the Second Year Green classes during the week.”
Shiels and the rest of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival competitors are looking forward to a bit of a rest before week four of competitions resumes. Taking advantage of the days off to avail themselves of all the the area has to offer.
“We love Traverse City,” Shiels grinned. “Monday is lake day it looks like beautiful weather, we’ve had a great time and all of our horses and riders have been fantastic up here.”
Sunday also saw championships awarded in the Amateur Owner Hunter division. Taking home the championship was Alliy Moyer and Carlson, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The pair took first place in both the over fences class, as well as the handy class. The reserve championship went to Olivia Lawton and Gretzky, a 14-year-old warmblood gelding.Olivia Lawton and Gretzky. PC: Sarah Harper
Week Four of The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will begin on July 27. Highlights in the Hunter divisions include The $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by the Gochman Family and Baxter Hill Farm on July 30 and the $5,000 Glory Days Farm LLC, USHJA National Hunter Derby on July 31.
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.