Traverse City, Mich. – July 29, 2018 – After finishing close to the top of the leaderboard on multiple occasions thus far this season at the 2018 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), 20-year-old Kelli Cruciotti of the United States finally came away with a win on Sunday in the $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix CSI2* aboard her own Hadja Van Orshof.
Cruciotti, who hails from Elizabeth, Colorado, has been partnered with Hadja Van Orshof since 2016 and has slowly been developing the mare into a top grand prix mount. In their competition debut at GLEF during Week II, the pair finished second in the $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan. They kicked off international competition during Week IV with another second place in the $35,000 Devoucoux Welcome Stake CSI2* on Friday.
With Week IV being the young professional athlete’s final week at GLEF, Sunday’s victory capped off a fantastic three weeks of competition for Cruciotti.
Thirty-nine international show jumping athletes came forward to challenge the first round course, designed by Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr., but only nine jumped fault-free to advance to the jump-off.
Sloane Coles (USA) was the early clear pathfinder in the jump-off as second to go aboard Chippendale’s Boy DZ, owned by The Springledge Group, finishing in 42.39 seconds.
Scott Lenkart (USA) followed and produced another double-clear effort with Ziezo, owned by Fleur De Lis Farms. They crossed the finish line in 43.23 seconds, which would be good enough for fourth place in the end.
Second to last in the jump-off and third to jump double-clear was Luis Pedro Biraben of Argentina riding Miguel Madero and his own Caillou. They stopped the timers in 42.85 seconds, still keeping Coles in the lead.
The final entry of the afternoon was Cruciotti and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood. Determined to claim a win before leaving Michigan, the pair galloped around the short course and over the final vertical, clocking in at 41.76 seconds to surpass Coles and secure their first international grand prix title. As a result, Coles finished in second place, while Biraben took home third place.
GLEF will return to the Flintfields Horse Park for Week V of competition beginning Wednesday, Aug. 1, and running through Sunday, Aug. 5, featuring more international show jumping competition with the first FEI CSI3* week of the 2018 circuit.
Competition in the Grand Prix Ring will highlight the $6,000 Staller 1.40m Jumper CSI3* class on Wednesday, the $35,000 Welcome Stake CSI3* on Thursday, the $35,000 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3* on Friday and the main event, the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3*, on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Kelli Cruciotti – $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix CSI2* winner
On Hadja Van Orshof:
“Hadja Van Orshof I’ve had for about three years now. She’s an 11-year-old grey mare. Our partnership began a little bit slow. We took our time with her because she was a little bit young and green at this level. We’ve really built her up over the last three years and now I feel like this summer it’s really clicked. She really loves her job and I can trust and believe in her. She really rises to the occasion.”
On her jump-off round:
“I thought she was amazing to jump one. The turn to jump two, she was very good. After the double, I took a real shot to the vertical and she handled it unbelievably well. I don’t know how she did it. Probably to the last I took a shot. The nine was forward but I trusted her and it worked out. You had to go for it. It looked long but she’s such a quality mare. She did it easy.”
On winning at GLEF:
“It feels amazing. The show here is unbelievable. We’re so lucky to be able to show at such an amazing facility. To have a win under our belts the last week that we’re here is amazing. What brought us here was all of the great things people said about it. They said the footing is amazing, the weather is gorgeous, the people are so nice and everything has been completely true to that. We love being here. You’re never bored. The show is so kind and they accommodate you with whatever you ask. We really look forward to coming back.”
$50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix CSI2*:
Place / Horse / Athlete / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Hadja Van Orshof / Kelli Cruciotti / USA / Kelli Cruciotti / 0 / 0 / 41.76
2. Chippendale’s Boy DZ / Sloane Coles / USA / The Springledge Group / 0 / 0 / 42.39
3. Caillou / Luis Pedro Biraben / ARG / Miguel Madero/Luis Biraben / 0 / 0 / 42.85
4. Ziezo / Scott Lenkart / USA / Fleur De Lis Farms / 0 / 0 / 43.23
5. Sovereign / Lisa Goldman / USA / Barbara Disko / 0 / 4 / 42.86
6. Canamera 2 / Peter Wylde / USA / Kathleen Kamine / 0 / 4 / 43.20
7. Copa Cabana / Stefano Baruzzo / ARG / Stransky Mission Farm Inc. / 0 / 8 / 55.35
8. Vasco / Adam Prudent / USA / Plain Bay Sales / 0 / Elim
9. Terceira / Maria Costa / USA / Ravello Farms LLC / 0 / Ret
10. Eisemeis / Paige Johnson / USA / Salamander Farm / 1 / 82.47
11. Valkyrie De Talma / Rachel Cornacchia / CAN / Rachel Cornacchia / 1 / 83.78
12. MTF Saint Simeon / Sloane Coles / USA / Morningside Training Farm / 4 / 76.69
After taking home the winning tricolor earlier in the week in the Wrenwood Farms Green Conformation Hunter division, Peter Pletcher of PJP Farm based in Magnolia, Texas, and the aptly named Quintessential returned to the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) on Saturday to claim the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC.
Sitting in third place following the classic round, Pletcher and the 7-year-old Hanoverian owned by Linda Southern-Heathcott/Spruce Meadows made their way back to the Grand Prix Ring to challenge Andrew Christiansen’s handy round along with the remaining top 12 competitors of the original 30 starters.
Their smooth but technical performance was well-awarded with scores of 87 and 89, with additional handy points, from the panel of judges (Otis Brown and William Sparks, and Robin Brown and Linda Andrisani) for a second round high score of 198. Combined with their classic round score of 181, and taking advantage of all of the high options in both rounds, they earned an overall score of 379.
With GLEF only being the gelding’s seventh horse show as a hunter, Saturday’s win proved even more exciting for Pletcher as the pair now turn their focus towards preparing and competing at the upcoming Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, Aug. 16–18.
Twenty-year-old Tori Colvin, who is the reigning USHJA International Hunter Derby champion with John and Stephanie Ingram LLC’s Cuba, dominated the competition finishing in second, third and fourth place with I Love Lucy, Cuba and Private Practice.
The only competitor to have a total of four mounts in the class, Colvin rode boldly aboard John and Stephanie Ingram LLC’s I Love Lucy to finish in second place with a total score of 377. Upon earning a score of 182 in the classic round, which positioned them in second place, the pair executed fluid tight turns in the handy round to maintain their spot on the leaderboard for runner-up honors.
Colvin also navigated the handy round aboard Cuba and Brad Wolf’s Private Practice, who she won the classic round with, finishing with a total score of 375.5 and 366 for third and fourth place, respectively.
Over Fences Farm LLC’s Sidarta and Jacob Pope rounded out the top five with a total score of 360.
Prior to the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC, was the Grooms Class, presented by Meadowview Farm, Inc. For the second year in a row, the award was given to Juan Daniel Garcia Dominquz of Pinecone Farm, operated by Kristin Collins, and Ebony M.
Hunter derby action continued on Sunday with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which was won by Charlotte Jacobs and Herodios V.
Jacobs bested 21 combinations with the 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by North Star to take home the blue ribbon as well as the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week award.
Hunter competition will continue at GLEF during Week V with the final $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby of the circuit taking place on Sunday in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring at 8 a.m.
Peter Pletcher – $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC, winner
On developing Quintessential into a top derby horse:
“I’ve been planning with this horse since the get-go — the last week we were in Florida — in hopes of making him into a derby horse. We had a few bumps in the road but we seemed to smooth everything out. I was really excited for this class to see if we were ready for derby finals. The horse proved that he’s ready now. I think the owners will be super happy as I am also.”
On his handy round:
“[Quintessential] is super brave. Those turns in the handy — I pushed him to limits that we haven’t tried yet. That turn after the split rail — inside to the big log — he was so focused. He walks in the ring and gives it his all. I know he’s going to try and jump anything and try and jump it clear.”
On the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at GLEF:
“It’s in a grand prix ring, they decorate the jumps beautifully and they bring in as many natural things as they can. The logs were a great touch. If you were going to do a warm-up for derby finals, this would be the type you would want to do.”
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC:
Place / Horse / Athlete / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total Score
1. Quintessential / Peter Pletcher / Linda Southern-Heathcott/Spruce Meadows / 181 / 198 / 379
2. I Love Lucy / Victoria Colvin / John and Stephanie Ingram LLC / 182 / 195 / 377
3. Cuba / Victoria Colvin / John and Stephanie Ingram LLC / 179.5 / 196 / 375.5
4. Private Practice / Victoria Colvin / Brad Wolf / 198 / 168 / 366
5. Sidarta / Jacob Pope / Over Fences Farm LLC / 167 / 193 / 360
6. Corlando 49 / Melissa Donnelly / Elizabeth Becker / 173 / 181.5 / 354.5
7. Editorial / Meagan Murray-Tenuta / Becky Price / 168 / 179 / 347
8. Screenshot / Jef Lauwers / Jef Lauwers / 156.5 / 186 / 342.5
9. Jus D’O / Alliy Moyer / Moyer Farm LLC / 163 / 175 / 338
10. Cassius / Caitlyn Shiels / Durpetti Equestrian LLC / 162 / 172 / 334
11. Kingston / Isabella Russekoff / Ashland Farms / 159.5 / 162 / 321.5
12. Just Because / Robert Weeden / Glory Days Farm LLC / 155 / 160 / 315
Prior to the grand prix on Sunday, the Smith Family High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division wrapped up with 22-year-old Riley Newsome winning the championship with her own Dakar VDL.
In Sunday’s $7,500 Hollow Brook Wealth Management Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by the Smith family, the pair outpaced 25 combinations and an eight-horse jump-off, finishing double-clear in 35.259 seconds, to earn the win as well as the championship tricolor.
The reserve championship went to Karime Perez Nuñez and her own Weihrauch CR, who won Friday’s Smith Family High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class and finished double-clear in 37.522 seconds for fourth place in Sunday’s classic.
Riley Newsome – The Smith Family High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division champion
On Dakar VDL:
“[Dakar VDL] is 10 years old. He’s extremely careful and has the biggest heart in the entire world. He’s never held anything against me.”
On her jump-off in Sunday’s classic:
“After the combination rolling back onto the grey, I risked it a lot and went back tight. I ended up having to add one in but he was super and picked all of his legs up when he needed to. He was perfect.”
“I love the show and the footing. The town is so nice. Everyone is very friendly here and the way the horse show runs is lovely.”
During Week IV of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), 12-year-old Alexa Karet was awarded the ‘Rafael’ Sportsmanship Perpetual Memorial Trophy, established in 2015 by the Gochman family for their beloved pony, Rafael.
The ‘Rafael’ Sportsmanship Perpetual Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to a child on a pony who shows love and admiration for their pony partner and who also exhibits extraordinary sportsmanship to their fellow riders and ponies. The coveted trophy was presented to Karet on Saturday during the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Karet trains with Tom Wright at Uphill Farm and competes in the Small/Medium Pony Hunter divisions with her four ponies: Astro Boy, Falling Moon Huckleberry, Benjamin Buttons and Always A Gentleman.
In addition, the What A Girl Wants Perpetual Trophy, presented by the Matthies family, was awarded to 10-year-old Addie Manson and Little Wonder, who trains with Courtney Lenkart of South Haven Farm, on Sunday.
New in 2018, the What A Girl Wants Perpetual Trophy was donated by the Matthies family in honor of their very special pony. The award is presented to the high scoring pony in the Children’s Pony Hunter division. Throughout Week IV at GLEF, Manson and Little Wonder earned two blue ribbons over fences, a second and third place over fences, a second place under saddle and were second in the Children’s Pony Hunter Classic on Sunday.