Megan Ghere and Monday Balous Shine to Win $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 4, 2019 – The final $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, took place Sunday in Traverse City, with Megan Ghere and Monday Balous capturing victory as the only pair to earn scores over 90 in both rounds of competition. A series of champions were also crowned over the weekend, with Anneliese Kolaska and Herr Drosselmeyer earning the tricolor in the Boggs Hill Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunters and Emma Crampton riding Ghirardelli to top call in the Grove Family Intermediate Children’s/Adult Hunters. In the Rock Ridge Children’s Hunter 14 & Under, Legendary Grey carried Helene George to the championship, while Mary Zaleski piloted Show Me The World to the top of the scorecard in The Tack Hack Short/Long Stirrup Hunters.

Megan Ghere and Monday Balous. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Exhibitors faced stiff competition in the Week V installment of the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which brought 23 entries to the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring on Sunday. Following the first round of riding, the cut-off score was 74.50, with Ghere and Donald Stewart’s Monday Balous leading the way with 91 points. Ed Copeland and Lisa A. Hinson’s Marshall sat in second position a few points behind with a score of 88, followed by Nicholas Pongracz and Karen Soper’s Hip Hop VDL in third place with 87.50 points.

Returning for the handy phase as the final entry, Ghere and Monday Balous needed a round two score of 84 to surpass the current leaders, multiple-time GLEF derby winner Jacob Pope and Michelle Caroli’s Athos Van Het Poeleind Z, and secure the win. Once again proving to be the best of the field, the final challengers matched their earlier score of 91 with a twin 91, clinching the champion honors with a composite score of 182. Pope and Athos Van Het Poeleind Z finished in the runner-up spot with 174 points, while Copeland and Marshall ended the day in third place with a score of 173.50.

As the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby champions, Ghere and Monday Balous were also awarded the coveted Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week accolade for Week V.

Anneliese Kolaska and Herr Drosselmeyer. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Up against a strong field of counterparts in the Boggs Hill Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunters, Kolaska rode her own Herr Drosselmeyer to victory thanks to a number of exemplary efforts that earned them high scores from the judges. Over two days of riding, the duo was awarded the blue ribbon over fences and under saddle, in combination with second place and third place finishes over fences and fifth place in the handy. The point tally put them ahead of the rest as the division victors, with Capone claiming the reserve honors with owner-rider Kylie Schoelen.

Emma Crampton and Ghirardelli. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

The Grove Family Intermediate Children’s/Adult Hunters at the 2’ and 2’6” height was won by Crampton with the ride on Carole Froling’s Ghirardelli. On Saturday in the Williamsburg Ring, the pair earned first place under saddle and over fences, as well as a third-place over fences, to help them secure the overall championship following a series of standout performances. The reserve championship went to Ted E. Bear, ridden by Reese Lavin and owned by Nina Hugi.

Helene George and Legendary Grey. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

In the Rock Ridge Children’s 14 & Under Hunters, Helene George and her own Legendary Grey captured the hard-fought championship ahead of a talented group of horses and riders. The combination started strong Friday with a win under saddle and a second place and sixth place over fences, then returned to the ring Saturday to continue their momentum. The duo added two more top results in the form of second and fourth placings to their over fences collection, pushing them to the top of the scorecard as the division champions. Just a few points behind in the overall tally, Luke Jensen and Julie Thompson’s Cellino earned the reserve championship.

On Saturday, the Williamsburg Ring hosted exhibitors in The Tack Hack Short/Long Stirrup Hunter division. Nearly sweeping all of the classes thanks to a series of textbook performances, Zaleski and Sofia Baron’s Show Me The World came out on top. The duo were awarded first place by the judge in the under saddle as well as two over fences classes, and rounded out their dominance of the division with a third-place finish over fences. Sweet Oak Farm’s Rock On was reserve champion with Ella Jane Howard in the irons.

Sunday’s hunter competition concludes Week V of GLEF, but horses will return to the show ring for Week VI, the final leg of the series, beginning Wednesday, Aug. 7.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Megan Ghere – $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby winner

On Monday Balous:
“He is owned by Don Stewart. He is amazing and has done everything. He has done junior hunters and is going to do the [USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship] in two weeks. He is very sweet and tries to never let you down. He wants to win, so I’m glad I didn’t let him down. He was good. He loved it [today]. The course was great, the jumps were impressive enough that it kept his jump amazing and I loved it. Both rounds were good. Personally, I ride him quite a bit but I don’t show him as much. It’s always a joy to even get to watch him go.”

On GLEF and Traverse City:
“I love [the new improvements]. I love the new arena down below, and everything that has been done. It is one of our favorite shows. [We went to] Torch Lake on a pontoon boat a couple weeks ago and hung out, that was really fun. Downtown is great with all the restaurants and stores. It’s a great town.”

RESULTS

$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Monday Balous / Megan Ghere / Donald Stewart / 91 / 91 / 182
2. Athos Van Het Poeleind Z / Jacob Pope / Michelle Caroli / 84 / 90 / 174
3. Marshall / Ed Copeland / Lisa A Hinson / 88 / 85.50 / 173.50
4. Hip Hop VDL / Nicholas Pongracz / Karen Soper / 87.50 85 / 172.50
5. Vistos Bespoke / Jacob Harris / Twin Horse LLC / 82 / 89 / 171
6. Caesar Augustus / Anneliese Kolaska / Anneliese Kolaska / 87 / 82 / 169
7. Falco / Nicholas Pongracz / Sydney Rae Colligan / 81 / 86 / 167
8. A Frozen Affair / Madison Pape / Heather Pape / 82.000 80.500 162.50
9. MTM Opening Bell / Rachel Lindsey / Valerie Kalderon / 77 / 85 / 162
10. Uber / Stefano Baruzzo / Donald Stewart / 77 / 80 / 157
11. Ted E. Bear / Nina Hugi / Nina Hugi / 78 / 77 / 155
12. After Party / Lillie Parr / Candor Sales LLC / 74.50 / 72 / 146.50

For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.