Show jumping action reached its pinnacle Sunday during the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, with 45 international contenders competing head-to-head in the $137,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3* for the lead spot in the victory gallop. Emerging victorious ahead of the field thanks to precise riding and lightning footspeed, Margie Engle (USA) and Gladewinds Partners LLC’s Royce came out on top as the day’s big winner. Sunday’s victory is the second 2020 grand prix triumph for Engle in Traverse City, having topped the $137,000 Four G Surfaces Grand Prix CSI3* aboard Dicas during Week Five of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.
The first round of competition saw Beat Mändli (SUI) and Galan S serve as the trailblazers, turning in the first clear trip of the class as the second entry to jump course designer Ivan Tagle’s (ARG) 15-effort pattern. Engle and Royce soon added their names to the list of fault-free contenders to force a jump-off, followed by four more American contingents before the midway break in the form of Lucy Deslauriers (USA) on Enanda, Lillie Keenan (USA) riding Agana Van Het Gerendal Z and Spencer Smith (USA) with Ayade Hero Z and Alison Robitaille (USA) aboard Ginger Pop. Following the halfway point, there was a drought of clear rounds from the first ten duos, but that trend soon changed as eight more penalty-free trips came from Brian Moggre (USA), Bliss Heers (USA), Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Beezie Madden (USA), McLain Ward (USA), Luiz Francisco De Azevedo (BRA), Freddie Vazquez (PUR) and Adam Prudent (USA) on their respective mounts. The time-allowed was a factor for two riders, as Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Kristen Berian (USA) each fell victim to a single time fault after keeping all the rails in their cups.
Fourteen qualified contenders from five nations returned to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring for the tie-breaker round, and seven partnerships managed to leave all the fences intact for a second time to finish the afternoon double-clear. The first to return, Mändli set the initial pace in the irons aboard Galan S in 39.840 seconds, laying the gauntlet down with a clear trip to start the second phase with momentum. The leaders’ status did not hold for even one trip, though, as Engle and Royce proved why they are consistently one of the quickest in the game with a blazing performance in a fault-free 37.410 seconds, slicing nearly two-and-a-half seconds off the frontrunners’ time to capture the lead. Twelve subsequent teams chased down Engle and Royce’s time, but ultimately none could manage it, solidifying the American partnership as the victors in the $137,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*.
Only milliseconds off the pace as one of the final pairs to go, Madden and Chic Hin D Hyrencourt, owned by Abigail Wexner, galloped to the reserve honors in a time of 37.460 seconds, and Sweetnam piloted Alejandro, co-owned by Seabrook LLC, Spy Coast Farm and Sweetnam, to third place overall in 37.550 seconds, the third and final duo to beat the 39-second mark. The top three finishers distinguished themselves from the pack, as the next-best finisher concluded the jump-off more than one-and-a-half seconds slower.
Up by six points when the day commenced in the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) had a small buffer over the rest of the pack in the standings towards the season-ending prize. Though Sweetnam, who had been sitting in third place and moved up to second, earned a few points thanks to his Sunday results, Vanderveen managed to stay on top to close the week. The coveted bonus will be awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points in competitions worth $25,000 or more in prize money over the course of 11 weeks of riding in Traverse City, concluding with the $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI4* on September 13. Exhibitors have two more weeks of competition ahead of them.
Earlier in the day, the morning began with the $2,500 East Wind Farms Children’s Jumper Classic, which saw a talented field of young riders take to the ring for a shot at the prize money and points towards the division championship. As the very last entry out of the original starters, Rebecca Gutstein and Emma Boch’s Empty Spaces kicked up the pace to speed to victory in the class by almost one-and-a-half seconds ahead of the next-best finisher. Tripping the timer fault-free in 26.378 seconds, Gutstein and Empty Spaces saved the best for last to claim the win, followed by Sterling Malnik on Dorothy Matz’ Cardella in second place in a clear time of 27.787 seconds. The top two were reversed for the division championship, as Malnik and Cardella earned the overall champion honors thanks to back-to-back victories in the first two Children’s Jumpers classes during the week as well as Sunday’s runner-up spot. Gutstein and Empty Spaces nabbed the reserve championship due to their Classic victory and a previous second-place finish.
The $2,500 Pinecone Shavings Adult Amateur Jumper Classic challenged the same track as the Children’s Classic immediately following the first class of the day, once again offering the field a final shot at the tricolors. Going one-two as the two swiftest of only four double-clear competitors, Lindsey Tomeu galloped to first place and second place in the class, which propelled her to the championship honors, as well. With the reins on Siboney Ranch’s Gold Lux, Tomeu broke the beam in 28.640 seconds as the quickest of the day, and turned in another solid performance riding DBHC Inc.’s Bonapart with a penalty-free effort in 29.063 seconds, good enough for the reserve spot. With a first-place finish earlier in the week in the $500 class and a sixth-place result Sunday, Molly Athey clinched the reserve honors with SL Olada, owned by Daneli Miron.
Sunday concluded the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. Riding will resume Wednesday at Flintfields Horse Park for the 50th American Gold Cup, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC and featuring the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Margie Engle (USA) on her win:
“It was quite a good group this week. I was really excited with Royce and he’s jumping fantastic. He’s had a long break. I showed him a couple of weeks ago and his fitness schedule seems like it’s right on queue. He’s normally not the quickest but he was really on today.”
On Royce’s speed:
“I took a shot at the beginning. I tried to be as quick as I could and I knew I could gallop. [Royce] is really good at backing up once I get there, so I galloped across the middle and went as fast as I could across there and back to the double combination. He was fantastic inside because I landed and I was on top of jump B and he backed up really well with the turn, then he ran down to the oxer. I actually thought I left the door a little bit open to the last line because when I turned back he gave me a great rollback to the last line, and I know some of them did six strides. I tried to keep kicking to it but he jumped so high over the oxer I thought I took enough chances, I better just wait for seven strides and be a little bit safe there. So I did think I left the door open, but he was very quick for the rest and I couldn’t be happier with him. He didn’t touch a jump all week.”
On the jump-off:
“I tried to get him really opened up in the circle because I knew there was a forward eight strides from one to two, and I just tried to get a good gallop to the first jump. He really opened up nicely and the second jump looked far away to me in the eight strides and he jumped it great, and by meeting it forward he landed and was really forward across to the double and I saw a forward one coming in. I knew the double was going to get quite tight, and he gave a great effort there. He backed up fantastic on the out of the in and out. He landed quiet enough so I could spin right back on the liverpool, and I was able to catch that out of stride. I ran as quick as I could down to the oxer and then he met it deep; I didn’t even really have to pull on the reins. I just let off the gas a little so he would make a quick turn. He turned great going to the last line and I tried to kick to it. I was thinking of doing the six strides but he jumped so high over the pink oxer I thought I should play it safe and stuck with the seven strides. That’s where I thought someone could possibly catch me was the last line. I was thrilled with how he went.”
On looking ahead to the American Gold Cup:
“I’ve had lots of seconds, lots of thirds, so who knows. It will be a good class. There are a lot of good horse-and-rider combinations here, so you never know!”
$137,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Royce / Margie Engle / USA / Gladewinds Partners LLC / 0 | 67.10 / 0 | 37.410
2. Chic Hin d’ Hyrencourt / Beezie Madden / USA / Abigail Wexner / 0 | 67.48 / 0 | 37.460
3. Alejandro / Shane Sweetname / IRL / Seabrook LLC, Spy Coast Farm, Shane Sweetnam / 0 | 67.480 / 0 | 37.550
4. Baloutinue / Adam Prudent / USA / Plain Bay Farm / 0 | 68.76 / 0 | 39.130
5. Ginger Pop / Alison Robitaille / USA / Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone / 0 | 67.52 / 0 | 39.180
6. Galan S / Beat Mändli / SUI / Grant Road Partners LLC / 0 | 70.560 / 0 | 39.840
7. Kirschwasser SCF / Freddie Vazquez / PUR / Freddie Vazquez / 0 | 68.66 / 0 | 40.220
8. Antidote de Mars / Bliss Heers / USA / Bridgeside Farms LLC / 0 | 67.90 / 4 | 37.610
9. Clinta / McLain Ward / USA / McLain Ward, Heller & Sagamore / 0 | 67.31 / 4 | 39.460
10. Agana Van Het Gerendal Z / Lillie Keenan / USA / Chansonette Farm LLC / 0 | 66.61 / 4 | 41.720
11. My Way / Luiz Francisco De Azevedo / BRA / Santa Cecilia Stables LLC / 0 | 69.66 / 4 | 43.240
12. Ayade Hero Z / Spencer Smith / USA / Ransome Rombauer / 0 | 66.88 / 8 | 40.740