2018 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Concludes Standout Season

Beezie Madden and Coach won the most coveted prize of the summer at GLEF in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*. (Photo: Diana Hadsall Photography)

Beezie Madden and Coach won the most coveted prize of the summer at GLEF in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*. (Photo: Diana Hadsall Photography)

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 21, 2018 – After six weeks of thrilling hunter, jumper and equitation competition at the Flintfields Horse Park, the annual Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) culminated yet another successful season. The action took place from July 4–Aug. 12 and attracted athletes and spectators from around the globe in search of world-class equestrian competition boasting top-notch amenities for both horses and riders.

“It’s been a beautiful show,” said Beezie Madden. “The footing has been fantastic and the stabling is beautiful. The scheduling has worked out beautifully — we’re done in the afternoons and able to enjoy the town, which also is fun to be around with great restaurants. We’ve really enjoyed it here.”

GLEF has received rave reviews for its ideal location in the charming, family-friendly resort area of Traverse City, Michigan, since its inception four years ago. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, it is home to breathtaking beaches, a number of championship golf clubs, over 40 vineyards and wineries, microbreweries and fine dining restaurants featuring farm-to-table cuisine. It is also conveniently located near the famed Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC’s Good Morning America.

“We just love it,” said Heather Irvine, head trainer at Hillside Farm. “It’s a great place, and it’s a destination horse show too so people can come and be on the lake, skydive, go parasailing, golf and have a family vacation at the same time.

“The footing is lovely this year,” continued Irvine in regards to the show. “Every ring has been re-done. The new fencing around the showgrounds looks nice and there are great course designers, judges and a top management team.”

Click here to watch how Beezie Madden won the $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3* at GLEF in a thrilling jump-off against Margie Engle!

Offering divisions for all levels of horses and riders as well as increased prize money throughout this year’s circuit, Weeks III–VI also included FEI-rated competitions featuring CSI2* and CSI3* grand prix events. For the first time ever, GLEF hosted two consecutive CSI3* competitions during Weeks V and VI. The season concluded on Sunday, Aug. 12, with the highly anticipated $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*, which was won by two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and current Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final champion Madden and Coach.

Another fan-favorite at GLEF is the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC, which was held in the Grand Prix Ring during Week IV and won by Peter Pletcher and Quintessential.

In addition, weekly USHJA National Hunter Derby competitions were offered through Week V, while hunters took center stage at GLEF during Week II as World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week was highlighted in the Grand Prix Ring.

The very popular Equitation Tuesday competitions, held each Tuesday during Weeks II–IV, also returned to the GLEF schedule in 2018, providing GLEF equitation exhibitors ample opportunities to collect double the amount of valuable qualifying points per week in one location.

Already a beloved horse show that is highly regarded throughout the United States and beyond, the team at GLEF continues to make it their mission to grow with each season and be better than the last by listening to exhibitors and spectators on what can be done to enhance the GLEF experience.

Prior to this year’s festival, a number of upgrades were made to the facility, under the direction of GLEF show management team, Morrissey Management Group, to markedly improve the show’s accommodations, particularly the footing and fencing enclosures in all of the show rings and schooling arenas, courtesy of GGT Footing and 4G Surfaces.

“Footing has become a primary thing for us when we’re picking which horse shows to go to,” said Tom Wright, head trainer of Uphill Farm. “Now that Traverse City has this premier footing, I think we’re going to see a lot more horses and barns coming here. It’s a great thing.”

“The fences look great around the rings — I think it looks very clean,” praised Caitlyn Shiels, head trainer at True North Stables. “The footing is definitely a huge turnaround from last year. This is probably my fourth year here and I’m very satisfied with the footing this year. The horses like it and it’s only going to get better. We’re very happy.”

Click here to hear what other top athletes and trainers had to say about their experience at this year’s GLEF.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival would like to thank the extraordinary sponsors, exhibitors and spectators who have helped make 2018 its best year yet and looks forward to returning to Traverse City, Michigan, next year July 3–Aug. 11, 2019!

To relive all of the action from #GLEF2018, click the links below:

Week I Highlights

Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti Victorious in $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix During Week I of GLEF – Read more

Jacob Pope Secures One-Two Finish in $5,000 Ingram Family USHJA National Hunter Derby – Read more

Lindsey Tomeu and Bonapart Capture Render Construction NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic – Read more

Kaely Tomeu and Gentille Kicks off 2018 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival with $30,000 Welcome Stake Win – Read more

Jacob Pope and Tori Colvin Claim Week I Championships in Professional Hunter Divisions – Read more

Week II (WCHR Week) Highlights

Liza Finsness and Shiver Claim Back-to-Back GLEF Wins in $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan – Read more

Courtney Lenkart Rides to $7,500 Camping World and Gander Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby Victory to Conclude WCHR Week – Read more

Garland Alban and Capella Capture Equiline Adult Amateur Over 35 Hunter Division Championship – Read more

Liza Finsness and Shiver Soar to Win in $30,000 Ingram Family Welcome Stake at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Grady Lyman and Emma Wujek Take Home Top Hunter Honors During WCHR Week – Read more

Elise Buhl Shines During First Equitation Tuesday – Read more

Week III CSI2* Highlights

Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti Back on Top in $50,000 North Face Farm Grand Prix CSI2* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius Claim $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Read more

Paige Matthies and Conto Blue Earn Albion College 15–17 Equitation Championship on Saturday – Read more

Tori Colvin and Zambia Mystic Rose Jump Clear to Win $35,000 NetJets Welcome Stake CSI2* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Sarah Mechlin Duhon and Nikko Ritter Capture Week III Hunter Championships – Read more

Erin Floyd Earns Valuable Points in Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal on Equitation Tuesday – Read more

Week IV CSI2* Highlights

Kelli Cruciotti and Hadja Van Orshof Clinch $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix CSI2* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Peter Pletcher and Quintessential Win $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, Presented by Copper Fox LLC – Read more

Riley Newsome and Dakar VDL Earn Smith Family High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship – Read more

Alexa Karet and Addie Manson Awarded ‘Rafael’ Sportsmanship Perpetual Memorial Trophy and What A Girl Wants Perpetual Trophy During Week IV – Read more

Jim Ifko Scores Win for Canada in $35,000 Devoucoux Welcome Stake CSI2* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Peter Pletcher and Tamara Provost Prepare for $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in Professional Hunter Divisions – Read more

Noa Diener Claims Second Consecutive THIS National Children’s Medal to Conclude Equitation Tuesday Competition at GLEF – Read more

Week V CSI3* Highlights

Margie Engle and Dicas Continue Winning Ways at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival with $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3* Victory – Read more

Nikko Ritter and Columbus Claim Final USHJA National Hunter Derby of 2018 Circuit – Read more

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili Speed to Top Honors in $35,000 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Jill Gaffney and Graf Balou Belle Kick-Off Week V with Professional Hunter Tricolors – Read more

DéJà Vu for Margie Engle and Dicas with Week V Win at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in $35,000 East Wind Farms Welcome Stake CSI3* – Read more

Sloane Coles Is Two-For-Two in Staller 1.40m Jumpers – Read more

Week VI CSI3* Highlights

Beezie Madden and Coach Save Best for Last to Win $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Olivia Chowdry and Cosma 20 Finish on Top in Johnson Horse Transportation Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers – Read more

One-Two Finish for Molly Ashe Cawley in $35,000 Great Lakes Classic CSI3* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Maggie Gould and Karoleena Bring Home Week VI GLEF Low 2’6″ Hunter Championship for East Wind Farms – Read more

Samuel Parot and Atlantis Race to Victory in $35,000 CWD Welcome Speed Stake CSI3* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival – Read more

Beezie Madden Bests $6,000 Staller 1.40m Jumper CSI3* with Jiva – Read more