Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 4, 2019 – Offering the greatest prize money to date of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, plus a chance to add valuable world-ranking points to their names, the $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3* served as the finale event of Week V of the circuit. Besting the skilled field of nearly 40 horse-and-athlete pairs, Abigail McArdle (USA) and Victorio 5 led the victory gallop as the quickest double-clear entry of the contest. Additional accolades included Ali Wolff being awarded the prestigious M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award, Samantha Kasowitz and Tixie Des Hayettes topping the $7,500 Pinecone Farm HBWM SJHF High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, and Aristea Santoro aboard Idokus winning the $2,500 East Wind Farm Children’s Jumper Classic.
The premier class of the week, the $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3* attracted some of the best international challengers to the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park on Sunday. Testing their abilities over course designer Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) track, ten partnerships successfully jumped the first pattern fault-free to advance to the jump-off, including McArdle, Mark Bluman (COL), Tanner Korotkin (USA), Briley Koerner (USA), Sydney Shulman (ISR), Santiago Lambre (USA), Sloane Coles (USA), Rachel Cornacchia (CAN), Schuyler Riley (USA) and Catherine Tyree (USA).
When eventual winner McArdle and Victorio Equine Group LLC’s Victorio 5 took their turn in the jump-off towards the end of the start list, the lead had already changed hands a number of times, with the current quickest pair, Riley and Katherine Gallagher’s Robin De Ponthual, sitting on a clear time of 38.080 seconds. Blowing away the competition, McArdle and Victorio 5 laid on the gas to break the beam fault-free in 35.580 seconds, advancing to the head of the leaderboard by a wide margin. Though Coles and The Springledge Group’s Chippendale’s Boy CZ gave it a valiant effort, they would finish in second position with a zero-fault time of 36.150 seconds, and Riley and Robin De Ponthual claimed third overall.
With McArdle’s win, she has propelled herself to the top of the standings towards the new $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus, which will be awarded at the conclusion of Week VI. During Week IV of the series, McArdle and Victorio 5 won the $35,700 Devoucoux Welcome Stake CSI2*, so Sunday’s win upped their FEI victories at GLEF to two, helping McArdle’s place rise in the rankings. Points towards the bonus are calculated based on prize money earned throughout the six-week festival in Open Jumper classes 1.45m and above, and fans and athletes can follow along and check the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, posted on www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com, to track their favorite riders and see who is leading in the standings.
Representing the attributes of a true horsewoman and sportsman, Wolff was honored as the M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award recipient following the Week V grand prix. The M. Michael Meller Style of of Riding Award is presented to the rider who best demonstrates the values of horsemanship, skill and presentation in the show ring, and Wolff was hand-selected as the 2019 GLEF honoree. Meller established the award in 2011 in memory of his friend and an integral member of the equestrian community, Kate Nash Boone. Known for skills both inside and out of the ring with her horses, Wolff is an accomplished show jumper on the international scene who operates Ali Wolff, LLC based in New Albany, Ohio, and Wellington, Florida.
Earlier in the day in the $7,500 Pinecone Farm HBWM SJHF High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, Kasowitz and Fair Play Farm’s Tixie Des Hayettes edged out the competition to rise to the top of the leaderboard. As one of the final entries to return over the short course in a 10-horse jump-off, Kasowitz and Tixie Des Hayettes improved upon their counterparts’ efforts to take the lead by less than one second, tripping the timers in a foot-perfect 38.040 seconds. The earlier leaders, Briley Koerner and BKS Horse Farms LLC’s For Jef VD Wezelse finished in second place in a clear 38.890 seconds, and Yasmin Rizvi directed Peacock Ridge LLC’s Dasino to the final podium spot in 40.100 seconds without faults.
Sunday morning featured the $2,500 East Wind Farm Children’s Jumper Classic, which saw Santoro pilot Equinvest Partners LLC’s Idokus to victory by almost two full seconds ahead of the next-closest contender. One of the first to tackle the jump-off track of the nine returning teams, Santoro and Idokus set a blazing pace in 35.101 second with no faults to jump to the early lead, which ultimately proved to be unbeatable. A little off the pace, Peyton Jelinek and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Claas 16 earned second place in a clear 36.860 seconds, and Morgan Malin maneuvered R.H.F. Enterprises Inc.’s Niccoló to third position in a fault-free 40.103 seconds.
Sunday’s jumper action concludes Week V of GLEF, but horses will return to the show ring for the final week of competition, which holds a CSI3* rating, beginning Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Abigail McArdle (USA) – $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3* winner
On Victorio 5:
“This is a partner I started with actually last year at this show. We started showing FEI At the end of the summer. He was the one that won the U25 at the beginning of the year. He has been super consistent for me and he is such a good horse, I can’t say how great of a horse he is for me.”
On her grand prix strategy:
“I wasn’t having such a great week and I woke up this morning and I said, ‘You know what, I am going to win this grand prix.’ Sure enough, we won the grand prix. For the first round, I walked my plan and I wanted to be really strong. I watched a couple people have a bobble going into the triple bar, so I wanted to be really strong there, pick my places to slow down and bring it home clean, especially by the gate – that was a tough line. After going clean in the first round, it was a bit of a running jump-off. You had to come a little bit slow to number one because you had to get that inside cut, which was difficult, and you had to try to be as smooth as possible. Then there was a spin-back, and I’ve actually been working on tight turns with this horse so that was fantastic for me. I had a little bit of a rub in the combination and I looked back like an idiot as I was galloping and thought ‘I’m still clear!’, so I kept going and was actually able to put a little bit of a curve in the eight strides and really just gallop that coming home, which was the fastest, for sure.”
“The crowd is fantastic and they are all really into it cheering during the round and after in the prize-giving. They were all waving and it was really, really awesome. I think that atmosphere make a lot for the different horse shows. They do a great job here. I thought the course was wonderful today. Ten clear was just perfect, and it’s really great. I love this show.”
Samantha Kasowitz – $7,500 Pinecone Farm HBWM SJHF High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic winner
On Tixie Des Hayettes:
“Tixie is a 13-year-old Selle Français mare and we have had her for about three and a half years now. We started in the 1.20m and I asked her to do things like that one too many times but she has been a great animal who has a heart of gold. I’ll never be able to thank her for all she has done. She is awesome.”
On her jump-off strategy:
“I had two horses qualify for the jump-off. The first one [Positano] I went in on, I’m still getting to know. The plan was to do a leave-out six [strides] in all three of the lines, and I added a seven in all three of the lines. His stride is massive so I knew all I needed to do with Tixie was just get a little more straight on those lines and I knew the six would be right there. That was the main goal. She is so good at turning that I knew I just had to really guide her through the turns and hold her straight and the rest would come really easily.”
“I love it here. This is my second year. I came in 2014 before all of the FEI and ownership changes had been made. It’s great. There are no complaints. The footing is incredible, the course designers have been great, the whole vicinity is just incredible and it is so nice with the big field here. When the horses are having on off day they can have a nice hack outside. Everyone has done such an incredible job and I can’t wait to come back. I’m really excited.”
$133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Victorio 5 / Abigail McArdle / Victorio Equine Group LLC / 0 / 0 / 35.580
2. Chippendale’s Boy DZ / Sloane Coles / The Springledge Group / 0 / 0 / 36.150
3. Robin De Ponthual / Schuyler Riley / Katherine Gallagher / 0 / 0 / 38.080
4. Valkyrie De Talma / Rachel Cornacchia / Eventyre Farms Ltd / 0 / 0 / 38.590
5. Enjoy Louis / Catherine Tyree / Mary Tyree / 0 / 0 / 38.960
6. Cartouche / Mark Bluman / Over The Top Stables LLC / 0 / 4 / 35.890
7. Cetano Van Aspergem Z / Santiago Lambre / Santiago Lambre / 0 / 4 / 36.480
8. Azilis Du Mesnil / Sydney Shulman / Jill Shulman / 0/ 4 / 36.590
9. Armagedon / Tanner Korotkin / Sandalwood Farms / 0 / 4 / 39.860
10. Dante / Briley Koerner / Bks Horse Farms LLC / 0 / 8 / 39.890
11. Eyecatcher / Mattias Tromp / Beyaert Farm Inc / 4 / 64.850
12. J-Boston S.E / Ilan Bluman / Elle Haymond / 4 / 66.660
For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.