Alberto Michan and Firewall are Fastest in MLSJ CSI5* Two-Phase

Seventy-five entries took their shot at the Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) 1.40m CSI5* Two-Phase, the first CSI5* event of the season in Traverse City. But, it was Israel’s Alberto Michan who emerged victorious with Eduardo Leon’s Firewall on the opening day of week five of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.

Early to set the pace over Cedric Longis’s (FRA) course, Sydney Shulman Desiderio (ISR) was third in the order and sped to a speed phase time of 42.23 seconds. The lead held until the last few went in, and Michan galloped the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lexicon x Padinus) to a time of 41.43 seconds, pushing Shulman Desiderio to second. Kyle King and the Seabright Investment Consultants entry Enzo finished third in 42.97 seconds.

Alberto Michan and Firewall. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I brought this horse as my third horse,” Michan said of bringing Firewall to Traverse City for MLSJ. “He’s doing slightly smaller stuff so I thought this was a good day to give it a shot with him. It went well. He’s been jumping great the last few weeks and he felt amazing today as well.

“He’s a real fireball,” Michan continued. “He has a lot of blood but he’s very kind. He likes his job and he always tries his best. He’s a pleasure to ride.”

Sydney Shulman Desiderio and Narcotique v/h Dingeshof. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

As the second stop on the 2022 MLSJ schedule continues throughout the week, Michan commented, “I hope we can keep winning. That would be great. It’s amazing what [MLSJ] is doing for the shows here in America. There’s big prize money at these shows. It’s great for us professional riders to have this option. The competition is at a great level. It’s amazing just to be part of it and try to do well.”

In his first year in the league, Michan is riding for the Desert International Horse Park Roadrunners. “It’s very nice,” he remarked on being part of a team. “I think it has made us more of a team even though we are riders from different places. It for sure unifies us. It’s been fun. That’s another purpose of these shows – to have fun. The riders enjoy it as well as the crowd.”

Kyle King and Enzo. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In his first appearance in Traverse City in several years, Michan was impressed by the changes he has seen at Flintfields Horse Park. “The Morrissey team has worked very hard on this place,” he said. “There are more rings, they take great care of everything, they have great footing and course designers, the best jumps, and it’s one of the best horse shows.”

CSI5* competition resumes Thursday in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring with the $1,500 Iguana Yachts 1.45m CSI5* Speed Stake, followed by the $138,600 Premier Equestrian 1.50m CSI5* Welcome Stake.

Final Results: 1.40m CSI5* Two Phase

1. FIREWALL: 2010 KWPN gelding by Lexicon x Padinus
ALBERTO MICHAN (ISR), Eduardo Leon: 0/0/41.43

2. NARCOTIQUE V/H DINGENSHOF: 2013 BWP mare by Harley VDL x Chacco Blue
SYDNEY SHULMAN DESIDERIO (ISR), Ilan Ferder: 0/0/42.23

3. ENZO: 2009 KWPN gelding by Ustinov x Lord Lancer
KYLE KING (USA), Seabright Investment Consultants: 0/0/42.97

4. QUINN 33: 2012 HOLST gelding by Quidam De Revel x Contender
TANNER KOROTKIN (USA), Zascha Nygaard Andreasen: 0/0/43.70

5. KAMILLA D: 2011 SCSL mare by Kashimir Van Schuttershof x Canturo Bois Margot
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 0/0/45.40

6. NALU QUALITY: 2013 BWP mare by Numero Uno x Con Air
SAM WALKER (CAN), Forest Hill Farm: 0/0/45.49

7. CHEROKEE: 2007 KWPN gelding by Cardento x Creool
EMMA MARLOWE (USA), Trelawny Farm LLC: 0/0/46.51

8. CONTHARGOS: 2011 OS stallion by Conthargos x Quidam’s Rubin
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), The Berry Group: 0/0/49.00

9. MENDINI DR: 2012 BWP mare by Scendix x Cassini
CONOR O’REGAN (IRL), Dynomite Ranch LLC: 0/0/50.89

10. NAMASTE VAN HET EYCKEVELD: 2013 BWP gelding by Elvis Ter Putte x Coriall
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm: 0/1/47.79

11. CORNET’S CAMBRIDGE: 2012 OS gelding by Balou Du Reventon x Cambridge 8
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), The Berry Group LLC: 0/2/53.67

12. KONAK: 2010 BWP gelding by Nabab De Reve x Cash
CHANDLER MEADOWS (USA), Chandler Meadows: 0/3/53.40

Layla Kurbanov and Ronja Race to MLSJ CSI2* Two-Phase Win

August 3 is a special day for Layla Kurbanov (USA), not only because she won the MLSJ 1.40m CSI2* Two-Phase to kick off MLSJ, but also because it was the very day one year ago that she first sat on her winning mount, Ronja.

Layla Kurbanov and Ronja. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Forty-five international entries came forward in the first FEI class of the week. Over a track set by Cedric Longis (FRA), riders set their mounts up for a successful week of competition at week five of GLEF.

Kurbanov and Ilan Ferder’s 11-year-old Swiss Warmblood mare navigated the speed phase in 34.11 seconds, setting a quick pace that held until the class drew to a close. Just over a second off her time was Mexico’s Luciana Roberto Gonzales Guerra with Ehrens in 35.23 seconds, and Michael Murphy (USA) took a late claim on third place with Cerolino in 35.48 seconds.

Layla Kurbanov and Ronja. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“She’s been a great horse for me,” Kurbanov said of her partner for exactly one year. “I love her a lot. She’s got a great personality in the barn. She can be grumpy but all she wants is attention.”

The search for Ronja was long and tiresome, but once they met, Kurbanov knew it was a match made in heaven. “I tried a lot of horses and I couldn’t find one I matched with,” she recalled. “The second I jumped the first jump on her I knew I loved her. She has the best feeling. I’ve never ridden any horse like her. I knew she was the one.”

Luciana Roberto Gonzales Guerra and Ehrens. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

This week in Traverse City marks Kurbanov’s first MLSJ appearance. With a win in her pocket already, the experience has been nothing but good. “I thought the course today was really welcoming and set everyone up for a good week here,” she reflected. “I thought we won it to the Cabana Coast fence; our turn was really neat. She’s a naturally fast horse so across the ground [between fences] she was really quick.”

Michael Murphy and Cerolino. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Kurbanov has one remaining show this week with Ronja before the 19-year-old from Greenwich, CT, competes at the FEI North American Youth Championships next week and then heads to Tulane University, where she will be a freshman in the fall. Her training with Sydney Shulman Desiderio of Back Country Farm has led her to great success from the Short Stirrup to U25 and now FEI competition..

CSI2* athletes return to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International ring Thursday afternoon for the $37,000 Callidae 1.45m CSI2* Speed.

Final Results: 1.40m CSI2* Two Phase

1. RONJA: 2011 CH mare by Conteur x Czandor
LAYLA KURBANOV (USA), Ilan Ferder: 0/0/34.11

2. EHRENS: 2009 KWPN gelding by Cardento x Concorde
LUCIANA ROBERTA GONZALEZ GUERRA (MEX), Luciana Roberto Gonzales Guerra: 0/0/35.23

3. CEROLINO: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cero x Come On
MICHAEL MURPHY (USA), Esperanza Imports LLC: 0/0/35.48

4. DALAKANN DE BREMOY: 2013 SF mare by Kannan x Carthino Z
AUDREY SCHULZE (USA), Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC: 0/0/36.17

5. HYPERBOLICS: 2012 KWPN gelding by Berlin x Tlaloc M
ALEXANDRA PIELET (USA), Co-Pielet LLC: 0/0/36.26

6. MANOLO Z: 2013 ZANG gelding by Mylord Carthago x Corofino
NICOLETTE HIRT (USA), Ballywalter Stables Ltd: 0/0/36.89

7. AQUILES DEL CARIBE Z: 2014 ZANG mare by Action-Breaker x Gerlinus
NIKKO RITTER (USA), Nikko Ritter: 0/0/37.10

8. ILLUSION CL: 2013 KWPN stallion by Arezzo VDL x Ukato
ELLI YEAGER (USA), Elli Yeager: 0/0/37.57

9. CARLA DU MORION: 2012 mare by Ogrion Des Champs x Elan De La Cour
CARLIE FAIRTY (USA), Fairgreen Sod Farms: 0/0/37.69

10. IRONIX: 2014 SBS gelding by Curby Du Seigneur x Calvaro
CALLIE SCHOTT (USA), Southern Arches LLC: 0/0/38.44

11. CALCIET EB Z: 2013 ZANG mare by Cornet Obolensky x Berlin
ALEXIS SOKOLOV (USA), Hot Horses LLC: 0/0/38.57

12. DOLITAIRE CHAVANNAISE: 2009 SBS mare by Cicero Z Van Paemel x Voltaire
CAROLINE MAWHINNEY (USA), Caroline Mawhinney: 0/0/38.73


Lawton and Goldman-Smolen Lead the Way in USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships

Day one of the USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships kicked off with 1.30m/1.35m and 1.40m/1.45m competitors taking to a speed round for top honors in the first individual qualifier. The championship, set over three days during GLEF V, will feature team and individual competition where riders will vie for medals and podium appearances.

Topping the 1.30m/1.35m section of the Platinum Jumper Championships was Olivia Lawton with Froukittaire for M.D.L. LLC. The pair sped to a time of 70.507 seconds in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, a time that could not be caught by any other competitor. Second went to The Countess and Skylar Hendricks, while Taylor Flury and Pharoah OBF, the ride for Aliboo Farm Inc., rounded out the top three.

Olivia Lawton and Froukittaire. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In the 1.40m/1.45m section, Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Barbara Disko’s Sovereign started their week with a win, jumping to a time of 66.191 seconds in the single speed round. Second-place honors went to Hillary Johnson and Eastpoint, while Nicolas Gamboa and NKH LLC’s NKH Mr. Darcy took third.

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Sovereign. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Platinum Jumper athletes will compete for team medals Thursday morning while 1.20m/1.25m and 1.10m/1.15m riders jumping their first individual qualifier.