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Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Two Wrap-Up: July 13-17

Aaron Vale continued his winning streak at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival on Sunday by winning the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan aboard Bonzini S.
Traverse City, Mich. - July 18, 2016 - A little rain did not stop the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) from putting on a fantastic event on Sunday to cap off Week Two of competition at Flintfields Horse Park with the week's highly anticipated feature class, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan, presented by Peninsula Capital Management and Craig Rosenberg. Aaron Vale continued his dominating ways to clinch the victory aboard Friday's $25,000 CWD Welcome Stake winning mount, Bonzini S.

It was a hard-fought battle against the clock around the short course with the first five horses and riders jumping fault-free and tripping the timers in faster and faster times with each new round. Hayley Barnhill was the first to return to the jump-off aboard Beezie, owned by The ISB Group LLC, finishing in 43.613 seconds. Vale followed her time aboard the first of three mounts entered in the class and invited back to jump-off - Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises. They finished in a time of 41.145 seconds to take over the lead.

However, Great Britain's Amanda Derbyshire set the pace to beat for the majority of the class as third to jump-off with Cannavaro BH, owned by David and Becky Gochman, in 40.011 seconds. Belgium's Filip De Wandel and his mount Gentley followed Derbyshire's round, but fell short by 4/10ths of a second in 40.498 seconds to position him in second place.

Jackson Brittan was next as fifth to go piloting Paradise Farms' Easy Contact Humlan to another clear round in 41.243 seconds - just 1/10th of a second off the pace from Vale and Carlo's time.

Lacey Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC's Echo D would have caught Derbyshire's time to move into first, but had an unlucky rail at the last fence to produce the first 4 fault effort of the class, garnering her the title of the fastest of the 4-faulters in 39.796 seconds.

It was Vale and Bonzini S, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Thinkslikeahorse, who took to the Grand Prix Ring after Gilbertson, laying down a thrilling performance and finishing clear to best Derbyshire's time by one second in 39.322 seconds.

Four contenders remained to challenge Vale's time, including himself on his third mount, Acolina R, owned by Sarah Turner. However, none were able to top his performance with Bonzini S. Derbyshire collected second place honors, while Wandel rounded out the top three in third.

Amanda Derbyshire and Cannavaro BH

"Boy, there were a lot clear!" said Vale. "It felt like a fight every time I was out there even though I had three clear. I only just barely rolled the first pole on my third horse, but I got them all around with good trips. It was a fight though. I wasn't thinking like, 'Oh wow that was easy.' It felt difficult, but we got a bunch in the jump-off so I couldn't be happier!"

After wrapping up a very successful first week at GLEF with a win in the grand prix, Vale is looking forward to spending time with his family on Monday and Tuesday and then returning back to the Flintfields Horse Park showgrounds on Wednesday to kick-off competition for Week Three.

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday

Aaron Vale and Bonzini S

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) capped off on Friday with the $25,000 CWD Welcome Stake, which saw 34 horses and riders battle it out for the coveted prize money. Wednesday's 1.40m Jumpers winner, Aaron Vale, and Thinkslikeahorse's Bonzini S came out on top to secure the win at the Flintfields Horse Park.

Belgium's Filip De Wandel of Five Way Farm and his own Gentley were the early clear pathfinders in the jump-off as third in the order-of-go. They stopped the clock in 49.390 seconds. Four horse and rider combinations followed and attempted to jump clear and catch Wandel's time but none were able to successfully pull the difficult feat off. Augusta Pines Farm's Zerro Leone with Martien Van Der Hoeven in the irons were seventh to go and finished with all of the jumps up but with a single time fault in 50.821 seconds, which put him into second place.

It was all left up to the last contender of Friday evening's $25,000 CWD Welcome Stake: Vale and Bonzini S. The pair entered the Grand Prix Ring and stole the show with a fast and faultless performance in 46.095 seconds - surpassing Wandel's time by three seconds to take the lead and knock Wandel into second and Van Der Hoeven into third.

Olivia Lawton and G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise

Olivia Lawton, an amateur rider from Burr Ridge, Illinois, and her 12-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding, G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise, outrode a field of 27 horse and rider combinations to win the $7,500 NAL Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Saturday. Eight exhibitors had clean rounds over the first round track in the $7,500 NAL Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, but only four were able to achieve double clear rounds. Bethany Bolen and her own Sullivan were the early double clear pathfinders, setting the pace for the jump-off round at 35.119 seconds as sixth in the order. Lawton followed Bolen four trips later and challenged her time with a double clear performance in 34.240 seconds to move into first.

Scott Lenkart and Ziezo

Scott Lenkart of South Haven Farm started his week at GLEF off strong, earning the first place ribbon in Thursday's 1.40m Jumpers aboard Ziezo. Eliza Lehrman and Lenkart were the only exhibitors out of 16 to navigate double clear rounds around both courses as Lehrman also took third place honors with her second mount of the class, Fenom Van Klapscheut, also owned by Five Way Farm LLC, as last in the order-of-go.

Aaron Vale and Carlo

Aaron Vale and Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises, took home another win on the Thomas Hern Jr.-designed course in Wednesday's 1.40m jumpers. They caught David Jenning's leading time by 8/10th's of a second, knocking Jennings into second place and Aidan Killeen into third, in 35.198 seconds to grab the blue ribbon. Immediately following the 1.40m Jumpers was the 1.35m Jumpers, which saw 31 horses and riders go head to head for the top spot on the leaderboard. Lisa Jacquin and Rolls, owned by Doublethink LLC, came out on top with a double clear ride in 38.971 seconds.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday

Maggie Gould and Drommels won Sunday's Glory Days Farm, LLC $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby for the second week in a row.

Maggie Gould concluded World Championship Hunter Rider week at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival by defending her title in the Glory Days Farm, LLC $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. After winning the class during Week One, Gould came back stronger than before to best the field of riders yet again.

The first round of the derby saw 23 riders, each one braving the rain and wind to try and take the top spot. The course included various high and low options, single fences, a two-stride and a bending line. After the first round, it was Geoffrey Hesslink riding Esco that took the lead. Hesslink and Esco earned a 92 for their first round after taking all of the high option fences. Gould and Taje Warrick's Drommels followed close behind Hesslink's round one score with a 91, also taking all high options. 

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco

The top twelve riders were invited back to the ring for the handy course, a more technical course with rollbacks and a trot fence. Douglas Boyd was the tenth rider to come into the handy round, and was sitting in fourth place with a score of 88. After being the first one to successfully pilot his mount, Calido's Son, around the tight rollback to the trot fence, the judges rewarded him with a score of 93 to move him up to first place.

Hesslink was second to last to complete the handy round and went directly after Boyd's stunning round. Hesslink made the decision to also try for the tight rollbacks, and was also rewarded with an impressive score of 94 to move him back into first. 

Maggie Gould and Drommels

Gould was the last rider to go as spectators watched anxiously to see what she would decide to do. Riding her jumper recently turned hunter mount, Drommels, Gould also beautifully demonstrated the rollback turn to the trot fence, earning a whopping score of 96 to bump her up to first place. Gould's spectacular round led to a total score of 187, pushing Hesslink down to second place by just one point, with a total score of 186. Boyd's total score of 181 rounded out the top three in the class, with Winn Alden and Marshall finishing in fourth with a total score of 177.5.  

Giavanna Rinaldi and Romance

An unfamiliar pairing was spotted in the Junior Hunter division on Saturday as Giavanna Rinaldi piloted a new horse, Romance, to a win in the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic and the Small Junior Hunter. Romance, a mount owned by Amanda Derbyshire, is normally seen competing with Mimi Gochman, but after Gochman sustained an injury on Friday, she took the rest of the show weekend off. Rinaldi was asked to step in to help with the division.

Rinaldi and Romance earned a spot in the top twelve call back for the classic after receiving an 87 during their first over fences round. The pair topped their score in the second round, earning an 88 and besting the field of 19 riders to win the blue. Rinaldi also helped Gochman earn the overall championship title in the Small Junior Hunter division after winning two blue ribbons on Romance. During Friday's portion of the division, Gochman rode Romance to a first place in the handy round as well as a fourth and seventh place. 
 
Emma Wujek and Puppet

Emma Wujek and her two impressive mounts, Puppet and Cuba, earned the champion and reserve in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division on Saturday. Wujek and Puppet returned to the division defending their championship win from Week One. After earning two firsts, two seconds and a third place ribbon, Wujek and Puppet, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, now have two consecutive championship wins under their belt. Riding Cuba, Wujek earned two first place ribbons as well as two seconds and an eighth to clinch the reserve championship title.

It was Summer Hill and Holly Orlando's Eclypse that won the championship in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division after a near clean sweep on Friday. Hill accumulated four firsts and a third during their two days competing in the division. Brett Burlington and Popish Farms, LLC's Due West took home the reserve champion ribbon in the division.

Summer Hill and C'est Blue

Summer Hill also rode to the win in the USEF Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search aboard C'est Blue, a catch ride owned by Emily Smith, on Friday. After an impressive over fences round, the top six riders were called back to work-off on the flat, with Hill and C'est Blue besting the class to receive the blue. Second place went to Addison Piper riding Even Keel, with Paige Matthies and Wachumean rounding out the top three.

During Week One of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Goguen and his newer mount, Category, owned by Garland Alban, made their way to the winner's circle after earning champion in the Green Conformation Working Hunter division. Goguen and Category returned to Week Two just as strong, defending their title in the division and again finishing with the championship on Thursday. Goguen also went home with the reserve championship in the Green Conformation Hunter division riding Splendid, owned by Belhaven Stables, LLC. 

Tim Goguen and Category

Goguen and Category also picked up a champion in the First Year Green Working Hunter division on Thursday, with Peter Pletcher and Quirino taking home the reserve. In the Second Year Green Working Hunter division, Maria Rasmussen and Memorable earned the tri-color champion, and Caroline Weeden and Oak Grove took home the reserve.

GLEF will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the next two weeks throughout the first series of competition, which runs July 6-31. Week Three will run July 20-24 and will feature highlighted jumper events such as the $25,000 Devoucoux Welcome Stake on Friday, July 22, and the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by the Ingram family on Sunday, July 24.

Horses are not the only form of entertainment lined up for this year's Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. The festival has teamed up with top musicians and entertainers from around the country to offer fun-filled evenings for this year's concert and dinner series.

To kick-off Summer Evenings at Flintfields, Porterhouse Presents hosted the Dirty Bourbon River Show's unique New Orleans Funk, Jazz and Americana sounds on the evening of Friday, July 15. The event was sponsored by East West Equine Sports Medicine, and featured North Peak Brewing Company and Black Star Farms products. The night kicked off at 6 p.m. with unique and entertaining music as well as New Orleans and Cajun food that was enjoyed by all.

Series Two kicks off on August 10 and runs through August 28 featuring three weeks of hunter and jumper competition with a FEI CSI2* rating Week Five and Six and a FEI CSI3* rating during Week Seven culminating in the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix on Sunday, August 28.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is set on 88 beautiful acres and showcases five world-class competition rings in addition to spacious schooling rings. The property features don't stop there as the park offers convenient on-site campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.

For more information, please visit www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.

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For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brooke Berganza at brooke.berganza@greatlakesquestrianfestival.com.

For questions and comments, please contact info@greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.