Traverse City, Mich. – July 10, 2020 – Hunter exhibitors took to the Polk Family Ring for the first World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, to compete for championship tricolors prior to Friday, with Caroline Weeden and Greg Crolick both separating themselves from the pack as the clear victors throughout the week. Proving her prowess in the ring, Weeden topped two divisions aboard Stephanie Harris’ Spellbound and Carnaval at the 3’3” and 3’ heights. At the higher 3’6” fences, Crolick nabbed champion and reserve honors in the Wrenwood Farm Green Conformation Hunters and the High Performance/Green 3’6”/3’9” Hunters with Braavos and Kuore, both owned by Renaud Farm LLC. Both riders championed horses that were rewarded with Grand Champion honors, with Carnaval capturing the title of Grand Performance Hunter and Braavos honored with the status of Grand Green Hunter Champion.
Navigating to the top of the leaderboard over two days of competition, Weeden and Carnaval held off a talented field of challengers to claim victory in the Performance Working 3’3” Hunters. Carnaval strutted his stuff the prior weekend with a third-place finish in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, and continued to impress during week two with first-place results over fences and in the handy, as well as two more top-five finishes to claim the championship honors. Madewell, ridden by Jacob Pope and owned by Richard Cunkle, only competed in two over fences classes, but won both of them to earn the reserve championship.
In the Green 3’3” Hunters, Weeden added another triumph to her growing collection, this time with the reins on Spellbound. The duo earned their championship distinction thanks to two first-place finishes over fences in addition to a second place over fences that helped them to clinch the highest overall score. A division winner the previous week, Courtney Lenkart rode Lori Mathews’ Charleston to the reserve spot.
In the Wrenwood Farm Green Conformation Hunters, Kuore emerged as the clear champion, winning four of the division’s six classes. Piloted by Crolick, Kuore earned the blue ribbon in the model, over fences and handy, then added to his success with finishes of second and third in the final over fences classes. Maggie Ridenour took over for the under saddle, tacking another win onto Kuore’s record. With top-three finishes in all of divisional competition, Braavos claimed the reserve honors. The horse shone with a win over fences, and rounded out his results with second-place finishes in the handy, over fences and under saddle in addition to a third-place result in the model and over fences.
Combined into one division, the High Performance/Green 3’6”/3’9” Hunters saw the tables turn as Crolick and Braavos topped the overall scorecard as the division champions. Braavos carried Crolick to victory over fences, then added to this total tally with second-place awards in two more over fences classes and the under saddle. Just narrowly behind in the rankings, Crolick and Kuore nabbed the reserve championship thanks to top-four results in every class.
Weekend competition will take place for two days before the conclusion of the second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC. The highlight event will come in the form of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which will begin Sunday at noon, followed by the awarding of the second Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Caroline Weeden – Green 3’3” Hunter, Performance Working 3’3” Hunter and USHJA 3’ Hunter champion
“His name is Spellbound and he is 7 years old. I did him last year a little bit in the 3’ and he just started this year doing the 3’3”. I am planning to take him to [the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships] this year.”
On competing in Hunter Ring 2:
“I think that ring is actually a little easier! I think the main ring is a little bit of a bigger stage but [Spellbound] did the National Derby in the bigger ring last week. I think that was actually good for him going into this week because he was very relaxed going into the ring – it was a little bit easier.”
“I am doing him in the 3’3” Performance and I am going to make good use out of USHJA allowing the Green reinstatement this year, so I am going to hold him out and he will do the 3’6” Green next year. I will do the 3’3” Performance and some of the National Derbies, and he also does the Amateur-Owner 3’3” division.”
On competing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:
“I have been coming here since the very beginning when it was at the other horse show grounds! I really have to say that this management has done a phenomenal job with the footing and reorganizing the rings. They put in two new rings last year down below to reconfigure the show grounds and, to me, it is becoming one of the best horse show facilities in the country. The footing is great. This is my second horse show since the pandemic and I have to say that they are really managing COVID well here. Our temperatures are checked every time you enter the horse show grounds. I am not wearing a mask right now because I am interviewing but 99 percent of the time we are wearing masks and they are very diligent in reminding people. I think everybody is really playing by the rules here so it has been a good experience!”