Traverse City, MI - July 20, 2011 - A quick rain shower this morning lead to a pleasant breeze and a few clouds on the first day of Horse Shows by the Bay Series III. Everyone is hoping for a bit of a cool down for the rest of the week, with plenty of exciting events planned in both the hunter and jumper rings this weekend. Friday brings the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and exhibitor party, sponsored by Outback. In preparation for the derby, many of the horses that will be competing have limited their regular professional divisions this week. The horse and rider pairs are no less impressive with fewer competitors, but it does allow the day to flow more fluidly. Kelley Farmer took this opportunity and ran with it, topping the Green Conformation, the Regular Conformation, and the Green Working Hunter classes today.
The Green Conformation Hunters rode first with seven entries, with Kelley Farmer and Straight Talk, owned by CH Farm LLC, taking home the blue ribbon in the model, over fences, and the under saddle classes. Farmer showed her consistency and earned third place honors on Habana, owned by Spencer Ranch, in the model and both hunter over fences classes. She was also fourth in the under saddle. That was just the start to a fantastic day for Farmer and all of her talented mounts. Also in the Green Conformation Hunters, Maria Dritsas Rasmussen guided Katrina Markoff's Vosges Theobroma to second place in the first over fences classes as well as on the flat. Ehrin Braeutigam and Lockhart, an entry of Erin Galsterer, took over the second place spot in the second over fences class. The Green Conformation Hunters finished up just in time to miss the brief rain and blustery wind.
The drizzle came just a couple of rounds into the Regular Conformation Hunter division, but it did not manage to dampen any spirits. Kelley Farmer continued her winning streak, taking home the blue ribbon on a somewhat frisky Clearly, owned by Jane Gaston. The duo placed first in the model class, both over fences classes, and the under saddle. Farmer earned second place aboard ZZ Top, owned by Amanda Morressen, in the model and first over fences classes, as well as the yellow ribbon in the second over fences class and the under saddle. Westray, an entry of Catherine Hanlon and ridden by Kara Raposa, took home third in the model and first over fences classes. Westray also garnered the red ribbon in the second over fences class, as well as the under saddle. The rain wrapped-up in time for the jog and stand for modeling, and held off for the rest of the day.
Like Farmer's winning streak, the weather continued to heat up throughout the day. With just eight entries, the Green Working Hunter divisions were combined. Coin Toss, owned by Am Free, Inc and Larry Glefke, partnered with Farmer to earn first place in both over fences classes, with beautiful and flowing rounds. Farmer rode Habana to second place in the first class, and third in the second class, trading places with Peter Pletcher on Valobra, owned by Eva Bisso. Valobra and Pletcher also took home the blue ribbon in the under saddle class, followed by Habana and Coin Toss, respectively.
"It was a great day!" noted Farmer of her start to the week. "I don't mind the rain and neither do my horses. You have to be able to ride in anything. I couldn't have asked anymore out of any of these guys today. Clearly was a little more challenging today, but that happens," said Farmer as she finished up in the main hunter ring with a brush box full of blue and red ribbons.
In Hunter Ring 3, the 3'3" Performance Hunters showed all they had on this very hot day. Caroline Weeden and The Spy, owned by Ila Lemonis, earned the first place honors in both hunter classes today. Their rounds were smooth and confident, with style to spare. Peter Pletcher and Isabelle, an entry of Shadyside Farm, took home the red ribbon in both classes, with theirs being a classic approach to the show ring. Bianca Buschor's The New Yorker, who was fourth in the Green Working Hunter under saddle with Elizabeth Scoville, jumped into third place in the second over fences class in the 3'3" Performance Hunters. These impressive horse and rider pairs were able to jump right to the top in this rather large class of 33 horses.
The multi-series Horse Shows by the Bay will continue to offer riders and fans the ideal horse sports venue throughout the next two weeks. Highlights in Series III, held July 20-24, include 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. Additional feature events include a $5,000 Adult Jumper Classic and a $5,000 Children's Jumper Classic, both of which will be held before Sunday's Grand Prix. 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: Kelley Farmer on ZZ Top Credit: Katie Anich/PMG