Traverse City, MI - July 16, 2011 - As the weather warmed up at Horse Shows by the Bay today, so did the competition. The R.L. Polk Family Hunter Ring wrapped-up the Amateur-Owner and Junior Hunter Divisions, in preparation for tomorrow's $10,000 Horse Shows by the Bay Open Hunter Classic and $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic. The Horse Shows by the Bay Open Hunter Classic is a two round classic, with only the top 12 riders returning for the second round. This classic is open to all riders, with 3'6", 3'9", and 4' sections, including professionals, amateurs and juniors. The horse and rider must have completed at least two over fences classes in the height section in which they wish to compete. First place in this classic will receive $3,000 in prize money.
The $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic is a member event for the 2011 USHJA National Hunter Classic Program, and horses will receive Zone Horse of the Year points for the class. The fences will be set at 3 feet, with 3'3" to 3'5" option fences. This classic is also open to all horses and riders and will consist of two rounds, with the first place winner receiving $1,250 in prize money. The $1,000 Adult Hunter Classic took place today, with an impressive top 11 riders returning for round two.
It was a spectacular day for Lynn Walsh today in the Older Amateur-Owner Hunter division, as she took home the champion honors in the class aboard her Ocean Park. On top of her champion title, Walsh earned the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion title, as well as the high score honors in a three way tie. "It's great being a part of a competition like this," noted Walsh. "Everyone is doing so well, and I'm glad to be a part of the hunter tradition." Also tying for the high score prize was Kenzie Donovan on Flower and Caroline Gibson on Primetime, both competing in the 3'3" Amateur-Owner division. Caroline Gibson also took home the young Amateur-Owner champion ribbon, riding Silvano. In the 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunters, Kenzie Donovan and Flower rode smoothly to the tricolor. Lynn Walsh, Caroline Gibson, and Kenzie Donovan dominated the Amateur-Owner Hunter division with confident, put-together rounds this week at Flintfields Horse Park in scenic Traverse City, MI. "I'm really proud of Silvano," remarked Gibson. "This horse did really well out there and I appreciate the hard work so much."
The Series II Junior Hunters also came to a smooth close today. The Large Junior Hunters were the first to go after the Amateur-Owner Hunters awarded their top honors. Delgado 47 and Taylor Schmidt earned the champion title in the younger Large Junior Hunters with consistent and flowing rounds. Maggie Ridenour guided Savvy to the reserve champion title, earning two blue ribbons in the division. In the older Large Juniors, Carson Gibson guided Shadyside Farm's Caden to the tricolor. With 32.5 points, Gibson earned the champion title by an impressive 7.5 points. Racking up 25 points, Lacey Gilbertson and her Condanas took home the reserve champion honors.
The Small Junior Hunters were ready to show what they are made of after the Large Juniors finished up the main hunter ring. Older Small Juniors went first, with another impeccable day for Laura Baginski, earning the Small Junior Hunter champion title aboard Barbados. Baginski and Barbados also earned the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title with a total of 42 points, winning three of their five classes and earning second in the other two. Holiday and Carson Gibson took home the reserve champion ribbon for the older section, earning 34 points. As the younger Small Juniors took the ring next the points were fairly widespread, but Catherine Hanlon stepped up her game and was able to take home the tricolor, with 30 points. Chloe Johnson and her Park Place took home the reserve champion title, with her two spectacular rounds yesterday, earning a total of 26 points.
In hunter ring three, round two of the $1,000 NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter Classic stirred up quite a crowd. The top 11 horse and rider pairs were invited back after the first round to complete a second round. A nice flowing course allowed the riders to really show off their horses' strengths, style, and form. Kyle Owens took advantage of the beautiful day and beautiful course and rode Charade to a final score of 168 impressive points. With 165 total points, Micah Gentry and INXS took home second place honors. Kendall Meijer and Tundra jumped beautifully right into third place, with 161 points after the two rounds. Ebb Tide and Sherri Werner splashed into fourth place with a fantastic round two and 156.5 points.
Horse Shows by the Bay will continue to offer riders and fans the ideal horse sports venue throughout the next several weeks. This week's highlights include a new $10,000 Horse Shows by the Bay Open Hunter Classic, a new $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic, and the $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 the $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: Lynn Walsh and Ocean Park Credit: Katie Anich/PMG