Traverse City, Mich. – July 14, 2019 – The final day of World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by Captive One Advisors, LLC, brought a large pack of 43 horse-and-rider pairs to the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring to vie for first place in the $7,500 Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Camping World and Gander Outdoors. Topping the field, Jacob Pope of Team Rakowsky in Wellington, Florida, and Last Word ultimately led the lap of honor as the highest-scoring team thanks to two textbook rounds.
Following the first round of riding, the top 12 partnerships qualified for a return trip over course designer Nick Granat’s handy track, with the cut-off score sitting at 83.50. Heading into the handy round, the top 12 were led by Week I derby winner Courtney Lenkart aboard Lori Mathews’ Captain America with a score of 93. Pope and Becky Price’s Last Word sat in the fourth place position with a score of 90.50, but were able to make up the difference over the second round track thanks to a standout performance that earned them 96 points, the highest single score of the day, to finish on a cumulative 186.50 points. That score proved to be unbeatable, while Caitlyn Shiels and Corporate Way LLC’s Subject To Change claimed second place overall with a total score of 184 and Jordan Allen with Susan Stanley’s Rainier rounded out the top three with 182 points.
Pope is accustomed to the winner’s circle in derby competition at GLEF, having won the weekly feature hunter class on multiple Sundays in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, he opened the series with the Week I win with J’Adore, and finished full circle to conclude the circuit with the victory in the Week VI class aboard the same horse. In 2018, Pope took a one-two finish in the Week I derby riding Lovely Charity and Cariatide, respectively.
As the $7,500 Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Camping World and Gander Outdoors, champions, Pope and Last Word were also awarded the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week accolade as the pair earned the most points from the USHJA National Hunter Derby during the competition week.
On Saturday, in classic competition, Martha Ingram, Vimy Henderson, Jef Lauwers and Christina Rogalny each earned victories aboard their respective mounts thanks to their exemplary performances over two rounds of competition. In the $1,000 Pine Hollow Farm Amateur-Owner 3’3” Classic, Ingram maneuvered to a one-two finish, concluding the class as the champion with 173 points riding John and Stephanie Ingram’s Airport 48, while also garnering second place with a score of 171 aboard Antinori, also owned by John and Stephanie Ingram. It proved to be a stellar class for the Ingram family, as John was awarded fourth place following his rides on Snowday, which earned him a score of 161.
Riding to the head of the scorecard in the $1,000 Gene and Georgetti Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic, Henderson piloted her own Emir to an incredible score of 200 to easily secure the win, with the next-closest competitor finishing 10 points behind. In the $800 PJP NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic, Douglas Wheeler’s Diamond carried Lauwers to championship honors ahead of a lofty field of 33 combinations after being given a score of 174 from the judges. One of the final winners on Sunday afternoon, Rogalny and Popish Farms LLC’s Statement captured the top spot in the $800 True North and Corporate Way Farm NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic, earning a score of 173 to add a victory to their name.
Earlier in the week, Lola Head and Allen shared the title of Hillside Farm Large Junior Hunter champions after the division was California split to accommodate for the large number of entries. In Section A, Head jockeyed Spruce Meadows’ Quintessential to finishes of first and second place over fences in addition to second place in the handy as well as the hack and third place in the stake. Over the course of the division’s classes in Section B, Allen navigated Cartello Z, owned by Caroline Lloyd, to a series of top results including first place twice over fences as well as in the handy and fourth place under saddle.
Hunter competition will continue for four more weeks in Traverse City, with national derbies taking place each Sunday during Weeks III, IV and V. Week IV will also feature the highly-anticipated $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Copper Fox LLC, in the Grand Prix Ring.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Jacob Pope – $7,500 Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Camping World and Gander Outdoors, winner
On Last Word:
“I showed Last Word, one of Becky Price’s horses, [as well as] Meagan Murray-Tenuta and Ivan Rakowsky, the trainers. I’ve known him for a while. Meagan is the trainer that usually rides him, but she is getting ready to have a baby so I took over the ride in Kentucky. Ivan and Meagan have helped me on the ground. He is pretty young. I think he started his hunter career over the winter, but he has really come along and he is a fantastic horse.”
On his performances in the derby with Last Word:
“He was great. The first round was really nice and I thought he showed off his jumps well. The course and the ring were beautiful, and everything just showed up really nice out of the corners. I thought he really turned himself on for the handy. I got to do all of the inside turns and a nice gallop to the last jump. He really shined today.”
On the improvements at GLEF:
“[The new improvements are] incredible. We are standing next to a new pavilion, bar and lounge area that is right next to both hunter rings. I think it has created a huge atmosphere for both rings, and it has put a little bit of fun into the hunters. Down below, the rings make the whole place look like a real world-class show. It always has been a world-class show, but this really amps it up to a whole new level.”
On Traverse City:
“The area is fantastic. This is my third year here. I live downtown and I can walk to probably the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. The weather is incredible. I’m going out on a boat tomorrow for the day off. It can’t get much better than that.”
Jef Lauwers – $800 PJP NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic winner
On his horses this week:
“I rode two horses [Diamond and Moon River] this week, and they are completely two new rides for me. I got the opportunity from Will Roberts to lease two of his horses from his clients during this circuit because currently I don’t really have an amateur-owner horse. The one that was champion and grand champion here, [Moon River], is actually a 5-year-old. He just got imported about three months ago and he is doing really well. Sometimes he is a little green but he is doing awesome and he was really good in the adult division, so it’s been perfect.”
“I love it. The rings are awesome. They made a new ring [down the hill] for the jumpers, which is incredible. To be here as a sports member but also as a tourist is really fun. It’s chill and fun and all of my friends are here. There is happy hour and the food is good, so it’s been incredible for us.”
Martha Ingram – $1,000 Pine Hollow Farm Amateur-Owner 3’3” Classic winner
On Airport 48:
“My horse that I won on today is Airport 48. I just started doing him in the amateurs this past Florida circuit. My dad had been doing him in the amateurs for the last couple of years and was very successful, and then I actually did him in some equitation classes at Capital Challenge, which was really fun. He is the best horse — very cute and sweet and always tries his best all the time. He is really fun to ride, and you get to just gallop around. He was excellent.”
“I love it here. The pavilion is so nice, and the added jumper ring makes the [Jumper Annex Ring] feel so much more special. We love coming here. It is really enjoyable to see the improvements because you always want to see someplace you love improve.”
On Traverse City”
“I love the area of Traverse City. I was so excited to get here. The restaurants and food are so good, the weather is amazing and the people are so nice. It’s just really fun. It stays so light in the summer here too. Normally, at a horse show, if it runs late you basically just go to dinner or go to bed, but here if you wanted to you could go out on the lake until 9:30 or 10 at night. You still get to enjoy the city even if your day runs longer.”
Lola Head – Hillside Farm Large Junior Hunter Section A champion
“He is my trainer, [Peter Pletcher’s], horse and he is super sweet. He is absolutely perfect. This was my first time in the 3’6” [classes] and he did it really well.”
“I’ve been here [to GLEF] three times before. I love the weather here, and I love how big the rings are.”
Jordan Allen – Hillside Farm Large Junior Hunter Section B champion
On Cartello Z:
“I was champion on Cartello Z, who is owned by Caroline Lloyd, and Peter Pletcher helps me with him. I rode him for the first time at Devon and he is so fun and I love him. He just got up here this week and he requires no preparation. I just go in the ring and he is the best. He was amazing yesterday and today. The jumps don’t phase him, his stride is big and he is comfortable, so he was so fun to ride.”
“My favorite thing is the atmosphere. The restaurants, the people, everyone is so nice and the community is so close. At the [National] Cherry Festival, everyone loves being there and it is such a good time. I love the new additions. The new ring is amazing for equitation and the Williamsburg Ring, when it is not being used, you can use it for lessons. The days are going faster with the new ring, so I think that’s amazing. The footing looks incredible and the horses are happy, so I love it.”
$5,000 Outdoors USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Camping World and Gander Outdoors:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total Score
1. Last Word / Jacob Pope / Becky Price / 90.50 / 96 / 186.50
2. Subject To Change / Caitlyn Shiels / Corporate Way L.L.C. / 90 / 94 / 184
3. Rainier / Jordan Allen / Susan Stanley / 91 / 91 / 182
4. Corallo Z / Greg Crolick / Renaud Farm LLC / 89.50 / 92 / 181.50
5. Captain America / Courtney Lenkart / Lori Mathews / 93 / 86 / 179
6. Kasperato / Jacob Pope / Orpen Horses / 90.75 / 88 / 178.75
7. Grand Tour / Melissa Donnelly / Elizabeth Becker / 87 / 89 / 176
8. Castle Black / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 86.250 / 87 / 173.25
9. Honor / Ashleen Lee / Ashleen Lee / 86.50 / 85 / 171.50
10. Delightful / Abigail Gordon / Sloan Lindemann-Barnett / 86 / 84 / 170
11. CW Fringe Benefits / Caitlyn Shiels / Corporate Way L.L.C. / 88 / 75 / 163
12. Caption / Victoria Colvin / Victoria Colvin & Partners LLC / 85.50 / 55 / 140.50
For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.