Traverse City, MI – August 1, 2008 – Week III at Horse Shows by the Bay continued in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring this morning with the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal and the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship classes. Horse Shows by the Bay has just two days of competition left, ending on Sunday, August 3.
The Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal class, sponsored by English Riding Supply of Scranton, PA, was won by Emily Reynolds of Glen Ellyn, IL, with Wendy Arndt-Hodges’ newly imported German horse, Darius. This was Emily’s second time winning the class since also winning it during series I of Horse Shows by the Bay on another one of Wendy Arndt-Hodges’ horses, Grimaldi 54. Emily, who just turned fourteen-years-old, has overcome a lot at such a young age in her life.
At the age of 7, Emily was in a horrible plane crash with her family, not far from here in the area of Mackinaw, MI. The family was trapped in the plane and it burst into flames on the ground. Emily’s mother, Karen Reynolds, was rescued and flown to Grand Rapids to have tests run. Seven-year-old Emily was left with strangers, scared and alone in an unfamiliar place. It took a long time for the family to get over the trauma of that event. When trainer Wendy Arndt-Hodges said that she was coming to Michigan to show this year, Emily decided to face her fears and come back to the state where she nearly lost her life.
“It took a huge amount of courage for her to come back here,” said mother Karen Reynolds. “And then to do as well as she has is just amazing; she is a tough kid.”
Emily has only been training with Wendy Arndt-Hodges since the beginning of April, but she has come a long way since they began working together. “I just want to congratulate her as my student for stepping up to the plate and doing such a wonderful job,” Arndt-Hodges said. “I am so pleased.
Emily was extremely pleased as well. “I love that horse so much,” she said. “For never seeing anything like this, he was phenomenal.”
The top four horses and riders were tested in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal class and it was Emily and Darius who executed the win. At the conclusion of the test, For Fun and Erin Geller of Birmingham, MI placed second just behind them. Third place in the class went to Above and Beyond with Emily Merlo of Clarkston, MI. Riding and rounding out the top four were Amorette and Lexie Berger of Novi, MI.
Next up on the agenda for the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring was the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class, sponsored by Shadyside Farm of Magnolia, TX. After placing second in the previous class, it was For Fun and Erin Geller who were victorious in this one.
Geller, from Birmingham, MI was thrilled after her win with the big chestnut Hanoverian gelding. “My horse was really good today,” she smiled. “I have only had him for a year, so we are still kind of a new pair, but we are definitely putting things together.”
Geller has been riding since she was somewhere around eight or nine-years-old and just moved to train with Polly Howard at Fox Meadow Farm this past year. Her mother, Cynthia Geller, was very happy with how far her daughter has come since the move.
“Being at Fox Meadow has made such a difference in Erin’s riding and she has really been able to move ahead very quickly,” Geller said. “It is a family operation and everybody pulls together for the students. Our dream became their dream and we have been so pleased to be there.”
Coming in close behind Geller and For Fun in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class was Erin Hickey of Cincinnati, OH with R. Adermie 4. Third place went to Emily Reynolds with Darius. Kendall Meijer of Ada, MI and her horse Dawson were fourth.
In Dressage by the Bay news, competition in ring one in the Robert D. Van Kampen Arena was forced to stop this morning after the judge, Tripp Harting, was taken to the hospital fallen ill. The classes were cancelled, but there are plenty more on tomorrow’s schedule, so be sure to check in for the coverage.
Tomorrow will highlight the $25,000 D-BRAIDER Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix, which is scheduled not to start before 5 p.m. For more information and full results, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com.