Traverse City, MI - July 9, 2011 - Another gorgeous day at Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, MI, as the Amateur-Owner Hunters finish up their first week at the show. Course designer Chris Brandt, of Ontario, Canada, created beautiful courses, allowing the Amateur-Owners to show off both their own skills and those of their manicured mounts. A smooth, flowing first hunter round and an exciting, performance-driven handy round showed the best of each horse and rider combination.
The Amateur-Owners 3'3" started off the day with a total of nine eager entries. Winning the hunter round was Weatherly Stroh aboard Sigfried, who is owned by Susanne Stroh. Sharie Maloney rode Savvy to the second place red ribbon in the first hunter round, as well as to the yellow ribbon in the handy round. Also this morning, Sherri Werner was carefully guided Unlimited to the blue ribbon in the handy hunter round of the 3'3" Amateur Owner Hunters. All About Me and Nicole Jefferies earned the second place spot in the handy hunter round, just in front of Maloney and Savvy. All of the tight competition throughout this division led to a three-way tie for the championship, with Sigfried, Savvy, and Magic Man sharing the spotlight. All three horse and rider pairs earned twenty-four points through the division, with the venerable Sigfried earning the most points over fences.
Rachael Herkowitz had a fantastic day aboard both of her mounts in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'6" division. She was able to take home both first place ribbons, winning the hunter round on Dakota, as well as the handy round on Brooke. Herkowitz also took home third place honors in both classes on Brooke and Dakota, respectively. Lindsey George and Timber Ridge earned second place honors in both the hunter and the handy rounds of the Amateur-Owner division. After two days of smooth, consistent rides, Rachael Herkowitz and Brooke attained championship status in the 3'6" Amateur-Owner Hunter division, while Lindsey George and Timber Ridge took home the Reserve Championship ribbon.
Brooke and Herkowitz also earned the Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Champion title at the conclusion of both Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions today. "I think we both know how to take care of each other," Herkowitz said of Brooke. "She's so supportive of me, and really takes care of me, and I take care of her. So it's a mutually beneficial relationship that we have. We're in sync." Describing Brooke's personality, Herkowitz remarked, "she's a little princess. She knows when she does well and she always tries her best. She gives her best every single time we go out there, whether it's schooling or showing. She's just got a heart of gold. I'm very proud of her and what we do together. I probably wouldn't be doing so well if it wasn't for her and her heart. She's such a special horse, and I'm just glad that I'm the one sitting on top of her."
Also having a fantastic day, Weatherly Stroh talked about her success in the show ring. "I think our success out here so far," she said, "has been a combination of our trainer, also our groom, Marcel, and just the whole program has really worked. Also Erynn (Ballard) has been great; she showed Sigfried in the Second Years..the whole team has really made such a difference with this horse. He's really fit. He doesn't do a lot in-between the horse shows, so he's really well-rested, too. Sigfried has lots of personality. I actually think he's really sensitive. It's funny, he kind of tells you when something's bothering him, so it's just a matter of trying to figure out what that is. He also tells you when he likes things. He definitely tells you exactly what he's feeling."
The Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic, sponsored by the Cherry Capital Airport of Traverse City, was a fitting conclusion to the Amateur-Owner Hunter action this week at Horse Shows by the Bay. High-achiever Herkowitz was able to take home both the first and third place ribbons in this lively event. Winning the class aboard Brooke with a two-round total score of 159 points, the rider also took home a yellow ribbon aboard Dakota with 150 points. Weatherly Stroh and Sigfried earned a total of 154 points in the two rounds of the classic, landing the pair in solidly second place.
The multi-series Horse Shows by the Bay will continue to offer riders and fans the ideal horse sports venue throughout the month of July. Upcoming events for the remainder of this week, Series I, include the $30,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City on July 10. Accompanying this exciting jumper event will be a VIP sponsor luncheon.
During Series II, held July 13-17, highlights include a new $10,000 Horse Shows by the Bay Open Hunter Classic, a new $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic, and a $30,000 Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix and VIP Sponsor Luncheon. Series III, which occurs July 20-24, includes a $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, a $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix, and a $30,000 Grand Prix of the Great Lakes and VIP Sponsor Luncheon. During the fourth and final week of competition, notable events include the $30,000 D-BRAIDER Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix, as well as a $10,000 Children's/Adult Jumper Prix and VIP Sponsor Luncheon. Over half a million dollars in prize money will be awarded by the conclusion of this month-long celebration of equestrian athletes.
For more information or to view schedules, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com or call 231-267-3700.
Photo: Rachael Herkowitz and Brooke Credit: Katie Anich/PMG