Traverse City, MI - July 15, 2011 - Clouds and a light breeze kept the temperatures cool as the Amateur Owners and Juniors took over in the R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter ring at Horse Shows by the Bay Series II. As the week continues, all points earned by riders will count toward World Champion Hunter Rider points.
The points earned will give the top ten riders, those with the most points nationally at the end of the year, as well as the top six riders from each region, the chance to compete in the finals held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show. There is also the chance to win some spectacular year-end awards for professionals, emerging professionals, amateur owners, amateur adults, juniors, children and pony riders. Points can only be earned at Member Events and Horse Shows by the Bay Series II has been granted the honor of being one the only seven Member Events held in the region. The cooler weather made the Junior Hunters a bit more challenging today, with frisky horses eager to take on the challenge.
Following the 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunters was the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Classic Hunter Phase, with many impressive rides over a classic hunter course. It looked to be a tough call when it came to judging the class, as there were so many riders with talent to spare. Top honors went to Hallie Miller aboard Discovery with a very smooth and composed round; it was clear that she has a great connection with this horse. Second place went to Virginia Ingram, who seems to have been picking up equitation ribbons left and right the past two weeks. Laura Baginski, on Devout has also been riding to the top of the equitation classes, as well as in the Junior Hunters, taking home third place in the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic.
Kicking off the Junior Hunters were the older Large Junior Hunters, which had a total of 15 competitors today. Each horse and rider completed two hunter rounds and an under saddle class this afternoon, their first day of classes. The brisk breezes seemed to be part of the challenge in the hunter ring today, but these young riders proved they could handle it and continued to create some beautiful trips. The first place prize in the first hunter class went to Madison Hayes and Santiago, who also took home second place in the second course. Carson Gibson guided Caden to second place in the first class and swapped positions with Hayes in the second class, eventually taking home the blue ribbon. Devout and Laura Baginski earned third place in the first class, while Lacey Gilbertson and Condanas received the yellow ribbon in the second class.
Moving on to the younger Large Junior Hunters, the challenges continued to appear, with a long straightaway to a single oxer. In the first class of the day, Lauren Westerhouse - aboard her own Debonaire - took home the blue ribbon with a score of 78. Taylor Schmidt rode Delgado 47 into second place in the first class and third place in the second class. In the first class, Madison Free took home the yellow ribbon aboard Coin Toss. She also earned the red ribbon in the second class aboard Cavalier. First place in the second class was earned by Maggie Ridenour and Savvy, who also had some winnings in last week's Junior Hunter classes at Horse Shows by the Bay Series I.
Laura Baginski continued having top rounds as she took home top honors in both hunter rounds today aboard Barbados in the older Small Juniors. Baginski and Barbados had also topped the Small Junior division classes last week. Kaitlyn Blum guided Calumet through a graceful first round, earning the second place honors in the first class while Carson Gibson rode Holiday to the red ribbon in the second class. Natalie Liberman and Belagio, who were also one of the top pairs last week, took home the yellow ribbons in both hunter classes today for the older Small Juniors.
Commenting on the significance of this week's WCHR hunter events, show owner and manager Alex Rheinheimer noted, "Horse Shows by the Bay is very proud to host WCHR week, as it provides extra recognition for the work our hunters put into their skill development and show performances." All of the riders, who are registered to be a part of the World Champion Hunter Rider Program, will be able to earn points toward year end points and prizes. Chloe Johnson was very excited about her win the younger Small Junior Hunters and smiled, "He [Park Place] always tries his best, even though he's kind of lazy sometimes. He's a lot of fun and loves food and treats."
As the day wound down, Isabella Carroll aboard Braddock took home the blue ribbon in the first round of the younger Small Junior Hunters. Catherine Hanlon and Westray showed their consistency and took home the second place honors in the first class and the third place honors in the second class. Chloe Johnson and her Park Place earned third place in the first class and then sparked up their ride, taking home first place in the second class. Earning second place honors in the second class was Ellie Trepte aboard Asiago.
Horse Shows by the Bay will continue to offer riders and fans the ideal horse sports venue throughout the next three 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: Carson Gibson on Caden Credit: Katie Anich/PMG