Traverse City, MI - July 27, 2011 - In contrast to last week's soaring temperatures, today's weather was crisp and refreshing at Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, MI. Spectators dusted-off their sweaters, riders happily re-donned their jackets, and the jumper ring witnessed a few frisky performances by horses grateful for this breezy start to Series IV. The 1.30m Jumpers saw an amazing number of clear rounds, while the 1.35m Jumpers continued to raise the bar. Several other jumper classes also took advantage of the brisk conditions and delighted in showing-off their skills and speed. Today marks the first day of the final week of Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival, which will last through Sunday, July 31.
The first jumper event held in the Grand Prix ring this morning was the 1.25m Jumpers, sponsored by Wild Oak Farm and the Lenkart family. Winning this class took two to tango, as Sandra Dalman and her own Tango danced around the course without a fault. Close behind was Lisa Goldman on her own Fontaine in second place, and Lisa Baker on her horse Zyminka in third. Next up was the 1.30m Jumpers, sponsored by Denise Wilson and Blue Gate Farm. Wilson rode Blue Gate Farm's Casey Jones in this event and placed second with a jump-off time of 37.938 seconds. Despite Wilson's early lead, Alejandro Karolyi, winner of last week's $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Prix, was eventually welcomed into first place aboard Warnike, owned by Torrey Pines Stables. The duo sped through their second round in just 36.355 seconds, getting their week off to another promising start.
The other members of the top three in today's 1.30m class were Theo Genn and Bridlebourne Stables LLC's Zenith Dance, who cleared their second round in 38.291 seconds. The competitive class of 14 entrants saw a whopping 12 clear first rounds, and an equally impressive eight clear second rounds. Lisa Jacquin and Chapel Z were among the many with a clear pair of rounds, coming in fourth overall. Chapel Z is owned by Flintwoode Farms, LLC. The fifth place spot was earned by Wilhelm Genn on Janitzio of Eduardo Leon. Genn won last Sunday's $30,000 Grand Prix of the Great Lakes aboard his own mare, Marlo.
Wilson's mount in today's class, Delphine Van Het Orshof, "was extra feisty today with the cold weather," Wilson laughed. "She's a small, hot mare. She's a bit of a different ride for me, but we've really clicked in the last month or two. She's only eight years old; I bought her in February from Alejandro Karolyi and Eric Lamaze, and she's been a really good horse so far. I had some immediate success, and then I stepped her a level down just to work on rideability because she's already got the jump, and we're really starting to turn on the speed now, which she is taking really well! We came here thinking I was just going to do the 1.35m classes and work on speed, but she has stepped up into the welcome prix, and it's been amazing. She's coming along really well, even better than expected. It's nice when things come together that fast."
Wilson and Blue Gate Farm sponsored today's 1.30m class, having sponsored the same division last year. "I like to support good shows that try really hard," said Wilson, "and I plan on coming here every year. It's such a beautiful vacation spot as well as a horse show, and the management has done a really nice job trying to make sure everyone's happy, and I love to support people like that. We also sponsored the same division last year." The biggest benefit of being a sponsor, Wilson noted, is "supporting the show, and letting management know that you support the show. It's also our way of thanking them for accommodating us and being so helpful."
In the 1.35m Jumpers, Charles Jacobs swept the top two spots aboard Flaming Star, with whom he came in first, and Leap of Joy, who placed second in the class. Flaming Star is owned by CMJ Sporthorse, LLC, and Leap of Joy is of Deeridge Farms. Both horses performed well in last week's Open Jumper Grand Prix, with Jacobs and Leap of Joy placing second and Jacobs and Flaming Star finishing fifth. In today's class, Kate Bomgaars and Online logged-on to a third place finish, while Chris Kappler rode Sand Castle Farm's As Di Volare smoothly into fourth place.
Kappler is an Olympic gold and silver medalist, and is the current President of the North American Riders Group (NARG) as well. Also a founding member of NARG, Kappler brings a unique perspective to his current showing. "I've heard a lot of good things about the show," he said, "and I know that they have been making a lot of investments here to make these really great show grounds. As president of NARG, our number one goal is to make the showing better in the United States, and we're not going to make it better if everyone has to keep leaving to go all over. So this year I have some interim horses, and some new people, and I wanted to try some shows around home. I had heard a lot of good things about this show, and I wanted to make the effort to come here. I have been refreshed to find that this show is such a beautiful effort. I'm always looking to go to where my horses and riders are going to get the most out of it. Good experience, good mileage, and good competition for the levels we're at. Then, I try to pick the shows that are making the best efforts in America and go from there."
Kappler arrived at Horse Shows by the Bay midway through Series II, and has been taking advantage of the varied opportunities available for both his horses and his students. "Having been here in the jumper ring these past two weeks," Kappler stated, "I've noticed that they have great course builders, with good, interesting, and new fences instead of the same old jumps you get everywhere else, so it's a fresh look. They actually have some plants and flowers, and the Grand Prix ring is a very beautiful, aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. Even though the builders have been building for the maximum height every class, these shows are where riders can take advantage of the good footing and do an extra class if they want, so they can do a smaller class and then a bigger class, and riders can extend themselves a little bit. Again, since the footing is so good, you can maybe show in a few more classes than you're normally used to. It's a good place to get more mileage than the average horse show."
Kappler continued, "Since the horses I have here are all young ones, they just need to be jumping in the ring, gaining mileage and experience, so that the riders can make partnerships with the horses they've got and feel confident moving up through the ranks. My students have been doing really well in the juniors and amateurs, and it's just been really pleasant to be here. I've been enjoying myself a lot, so it's nice to have a show that is competitive, fun, and relaxing all at the same time."
Among his many students at Horse Shows by the Bay this year is Samantha Ramsay, who won today's Five Year-Old Young Jumper class aboard Bryere Grandeur, owned by Robertson Kabnick. Second place was earned by Brian Shook and Batman VDL, owned by Equestrian Endeavors. Third place in this youngest jumper class was also earned by Ramsay, this time on Marquis of Kathleen Kamine. In the Six Year-Old Young Jumpers, David Beisel won aboard Ammeretto of Equine Holdings, while Ramsay picked up second place on Kathleen Kamine's Ladonna. Lisa Goldman and her own Rococo came in third. In the Seven/Eight Year-Old Young Jumpers, age was just a number for Lawinia, who together with owner Tracey Weinberg placed first. Weinberg also placed third on her own Wild Card, while Wilhelm Genn came in second on Jana Rodes' Lacy.
During Series IV, 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. The final week will also feature the fourth $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Prix, multiple equitation medal classes, and the finals for the Hunter Jumper Association of Michigan's medal events. 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: Chris Kappler and As Di Volare. Credit: Katie Anich/PMG.