Traverse City, Mich. – July 15, 2018 – The $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan highlighted Week II of competition at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) on Sunday. Twenty-eight combinations went head-to-head in the Grand Prix Ring, but it was Liza Finsness who brought home her second consecutive win with her own Shiver.
After just missing first place on multiple occasions throughout Week I, placing third in the $30,000 Welcome Stake and second in the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by East Wind Farms, the pair returned to the Flintfields Horse Park to claim the two biggest prizes of Week II, also winning Friday’s $30,000 Ingram Family Welcome Stake.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil challenged horses and athletes over a difficult first round course, where only three were invited back to jump-off after going clear.
Scott Lenkart and Ziezo, owned by Fleur De Lis Farms, were first to return for the tiebreaking round, stopping the timers in 43.098 seconds with 8 faults.
Finsness, 23 years old of West Palm Beach, Florida, piloted her 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding to the first double-clear performance of the afternoon, clocking in at 41.768 seconds.
Twenty-year-old Kelli Cruciotti was the final athlete to compete in the jump-off and knew she had to be clear with her own Hadja Van Orshof in order to attempt to beat Finsness.
The pair did just that but finished in a more conservative time in 43.081 seconds to capture second place honors, while Lenkart finished in third place.
Finsness brought Shiver up from the low junior jumpers and has been partnered with him for almost seven years. Between exams and classes at the University of Kentucky’s physician assistant school, Finsness trains and competes with Chris Ewanouski and Federico Sztyrle at Napinday Horse Sales, Inc. in Wellington, Florida, and Lexington, Kentucky.
GLEF will return with another Equitation Tuesday on July 17. Week III (July 18–22) will also feature the first international competition of the circuit with a FEI CSI2* rating, and will highlight the $35,000 NetJets Welcome Stake CSI2* on Friday and the $50,000 North Face Farm Grand Prix CSI2* on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Liza Finsness – $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan winner
On claiming back-to-back wins at GLEF:
“Honestly, it’s been a blur. It’s been so good. I am so happy with how Shiver is going right now. I don’t think he’s ever gone any better. Federico Sztyrle and Chris Ewanouski, my trainers, keep him fit for me when I am away, so when I fly in to do these things he’s ready for me. We know each other so well that we’re able to do that. He’s been so great in the jump-off lately. I think we’re really getting the hang of it.”
On her strategy for Sunday’s jump-off:
“I knew I wanted to try to get nine in the first line so I went for that. I know that he’s really good through the turns so I turned tight back on the third jump. I just wanted to kind of take it easy through the double — that’s where I wanted to slow down. We sliced the verticals, he’s so great with that. He’s super careful. He can jump from a standstill basically. We got that flyer to the last one and I think [that’s how we won it].”
“The last time I was at this show was about four years ago. I remember loving the footing here. Shiver jumps so well on this footing. The horses love it. It just all came together today.”
$50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Shiver / Liza Finsness / Liza Finsness / 0 / 0 / 41.768
2. Hadja Van Orshof / Kelli Cruciotti / Kelli Cruciotti / 0 / 0 / 43.081
3. Ziezo / Scott Lenkart / Fleur De Lis Farms / 0 / 8 / 43.098
4. Van Gogh / Wilhelm Genn / Wilhelm Genn / 1 / 85.516
5. McGregor / Thomas Cerra / Thomas Cerra / 2 / 86.997
6. Shet Du Thot / Katie Tyler / Katie Tyler / 4 / 80.291
7. Bugatti / Wilhelm Genn / Eduardo Leon / 4 / 80.813
8. Eltham / Peter Wylde / Kathleen Kamine / 4 / 82.924
9. Zerro Leone / Martien Van Der Hoeven / Augusta Pines Farm / 4 / 83.438
10. Prince Garbo / Rachel Schnurr / Tindale Farm / 4 / 84.866
World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) concluded on Sunday with the $7,500 Camping World and Gander Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby kicking off competition for the day in the Grand Prix Ring.
Two-time defending champion of the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at GLEF in 2017 and 2016, Courtney Lenkart of South Haven Farm based in Bartonville, Texas, maintained her lead from the first round to claim the win aboard new mount Alisto, owned by Lori Mathews.
Besting a total field of 62 horses and riders and taking advantage of the high options around the Nick Granat-designed course, Lenkart and the 9-year-old Warmblood gelding secured the high score of 92 in the first round and returned for the handy round to earn a 90 from the panel of judges for a total top score of 182. Following his win, Alisto was also presented with the Week II Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week award.
Coming in second place was Jacob Pope, who won Week I’s $5,000 Ingram Family USHJA National Hunter Derby, and Lady Grey, owned by Lionsway Farm. The pair sat in fifth place heading into the handy round on a score of 88 and impressed the judges to move up in the standings, winning the handy round with a score of 91 to finish on a total score of 179.
Jordan Allen and Kim Carey’s Turn Key rounded out the top three with scores of 91 and 87.5 between both rounds for a final score of 178.5.
In addition to weekly national derby competitions every Sunday, the 2018 GLEF will also feature the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC, during Week IV on Saturday, July 28, at 4 p.m.
“Alisto is owned by Lori Mathews, who also owns Bowie — the horse I’ve done in the international derbies the last few years. He’s a new one for Lori and for our barn. We imported him in mid-May so he’s only been here for two months and every week he gets better. He’s very flashy looking. He’s a chestnut with white legs and a white face, and he just goes across the ground so pretty. He’s smooth everywhere. This height is really easy for him. He’s still a Pre-Green horse right now but he just steps over the jumps. It was a beautiful course. He really gave great efforts today.”
On what’s next for Alisto:
“He’s going to show with [Lori Mathews] next week here and in the Pre-Greens so that’ll be really fun. Then we do Pre-Green finals and he’ll start in the First Years next year.”
On returning to compete at GLEF:
“We have a really big group this year. They love Michigan. The weather is so great and the management does such an amazing job with everything — the footing’s awesome, the jumps and courses have been awesome and everyone’s so nice. All of our customers came so we have a huge group and we’ve been having a great show so far.”
$7,500 Camping World and Gander Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Total Score
1. Alisto / Courtney Lenkart / Lori Mathews / 182
2. Lady Grey / Jacob Pope / Lionsway Farm / 179
3. Turn Key / Jordan Allen / Kim Carey / 178.5
4. Fenway / Lilly Goldstein / Lori Mathews / 176
5. Symbolic / Bella Kay / Bella Kay / 174.5
6. Harper Lee / Victoria Colvin / Laura Karet / 174
7. Stallone VDL / Martha Ingram / North Star / 172.5
8. Lexx / Maggie Gould / Paul MacRae / 172
9. Caritas / MacIek Pestka / Christine Mac Farland / 164.5
10. Dolce / Robert Weeden / Glory Days Farm LLC / 161
11. Balto Z / Courtney Lenkart / Mercedes Flett / 158
12. Ice / Terri Irrer / Debra Gross / 134
The Polk Family Main Hunter Ring hosted the Equiline Adult Amateur Over 35 Hunter division on Friday and Saturday, where Garland Alban took home top honors out of 25 competitors with her own Capella at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF).
The pair captured third and second place on Friday in the initial two over fences rounds of the division, but returned on Saturday to win the under saddle and finish first and second in the remaining two over fences rounds for the championship tricolor.
The reserve championship went to Terri Irrer, trained by Heather Irvine of Hillside Farm, and Cafe’ Noir, owned by Debra Gross, who won both of Friday’s over fences rounds.
Alban, who is from Lutherville, Maryland, and trains with Tim and Kelly Goguen of Boggs Hill Farm, and the Hanoverian gelding concluded their Week II competition schedule at GLEF with a second place finish in the competitive PJP Farm NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic on Saturday. The pair completed both rounds of competition with top performances to claim the red ribbon out of an original starting field of 32 entries.
Garland Alban – Equiline Adult Amateur Over 35 Hunter division champion
“[Capella] is 11 years old. He’s a wonderful horse. When I bought him, my trainer showed him in the First and Second Year Greens and then I got to inherit him. Now he’s happy doing the 3′ amateurs with me. He’s a great partner.”
On Capella’s performances on Friday and Saturday:
“I was really happy that he kept his attention in the ring. I was a little bit nervous in this ring because we hadn’t shown in here before and there was a lot to look at, but he was really great. He gave me all of his attention and I was very pleased with him.”
“I had never been to this part of the country until we came to this horse show for the first time three years ago. It’s stunning. There are things to do on days when we’re not riding. We’ve gone on the lake and gone water skiing. It’s a great place to be and so fun.”