Ali Wolff (USA) has always known her partner Casall is dependable, and their partnership proved picture-perfect yet again as the pair flew to a win in the $138,600 CSI3* Grand Prix to close the fourth week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.
Brazil’s Marina Azevedo built a tough track for round one, leading to only four clear rounds from 29 entries. Several finished just on time faults and managed to take a top-10 result, but the four on clear rounds went head-to-head for the top prize. Jim Ifko (CAN), as first to go, took down two rails with a quick time of 48.63 seconds, ultimately taking third. Wolff, aboard the 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Capitol I) took down one rail in her effort but came home in 47.09 seconds, leaving the door open for a double-clear round to take the lead.
Last to go, Georgina Bloomberg (USA) kept the pace steadier while hoping for a double-clear round, but a rail midway through the track put her on the same score as Wolff, ultimately coming up just short in 53.53 seconds, awarding Wolff the win and putting Bloomberg in second place.
“It was nice to only have four in the jump-off, so we knew we could all take a bit of a risk and still get a decent paycheck,” Wolff said of her plan with Casall. “He just keeps learning and getting better and better. At 17, he’s still learning and he’s also so smart. He knows me so well and what I try to ask of him. He’ll do everything I ask of him and more.”
Wolff’s partnership with Casall is 10 years in the making, having purchased him as a 7-year-old to be a sales horse. “He is obviously the barn favorite,” she continued. “He can do no wrong and he’s spoiled beyond belief but we all laugh and think that it’s funny. He can get away with murder and its still okay because it’s him. He is the ultimate great guy and a favorite among a lot of our friends because he just has such a great personality.”
The accolades they’ve racked up were not expected when the partnership initially came together. “Our partnership developed quickly,” Wolff elaborated. “I needed him to step up and fill the place of one of my horses that had gotten hurt at the moment and he stepped into the role as my second-string horse. From there he just kept blossoming. We were taken aback a bit. He trusts me beyond belief so I’m always a little bit cautious of what I ask of him.
“We love it up here,” the New Albany, OH, native said of Traverse City. “Where else can you get this beautiful weather in July? And the competition is great; we have a lot of top riders, like Margie [Engle] and Kent [Farrington], so you get to compete against the best. It’s also a great place to take clients because there’s so many classes offered and luckily for us it’s pretty close by. We love coming here, we always have a great time, and we’ve always been lucky so we’ll keep coming back.”
With a fourth-place finish, Margie Engle (USA) earned more points on the CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus standings heading into the fifth week of GLEF, but still sits in second below Cathleen Driscoll (USA) by one point.
Final Results: $138,600 CSI3* Grand Prix
1. CASALL: 2005 HOLST gelding by Casall x Capitol I
ALI WOLFF (USA), Blacklick Bend Farm: 0/4/47.09
2. TULARA COLMINE: 2010 AUSWB stallion by Colman x Quinar Z
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/4/53.53
3. UN DIAMANT DES FORETS: 2008 SF stallion by Diamant De Semilly x Papillion Rouge
JIM IFKO (CAN), Eventyre Farms Ltd.: 0/8/48.63
4. DICAS: 2009 RHEIN gelding by Diarado x Cassini I
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/18/70.39
5. LANDON: 2013 ZANG gelding by Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney: 1/79.10
6. AROME: 2010 SF gelding by Norway De La Lande x Attila III
CATHLEEN DRISCOLL (USA), Plain Bay Farm: 2/80.25
7. ANIBALE DE HUS: 2010 SF stallion by Conrad x Argentinus
SARAH SCHEIRING (USA), Bellwyn Farm LLC: 2/80.38
8. HELIOS VD NOSAHOEVE: 2012 KWPN stallion by Numero Uno x London
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Kisma Equestrian, LLC: 4/75.96
9. CAILLOU 24: 2007 HOLST gelding by Casall x San Patrignano Corrado
KARL COOK (USA), Signe Otsby: 4/76.55
10. KAMILLA D: 2011 SCSL mare by Kashimir Van Schuttershof x Canturo Bois Margot
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 4/76.77
11. OAK GROVE’S DESPERADO: 2013 SF gelding by Diamant De Semilly x Lux Z
NICOLETTE HIRT (USA), Iron Horse Equestrian: 5/79.86
12. CARISSIMO 25: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cascadello x Clinton
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Georgy Maskrey-Segesman: 5/79.97
Didgereedoo and Kelsey Epperson Capture $10,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby
Kelsey Epperson knows her mount Didgereedoo VDL well enough to rack up hunter derby wins nationwide. The dynamic duo captured a big win in the $10,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby Sunday afternoon as the top pair in both rounds.
“It’s really special,” Epperson said of her relationship with the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zavall VDL x Indoctro). I definitely think he’s a horse of a lifetime. It’s really cool – like nothing I’ve ever felt before – that I can walk down to the ring and everybody knows who he is and says hi to him. It puts a little bit of pressure on me but it’s really cool.”
Epperson did not succumb to the pressure of all eyes on her, nor the pressure of holding the top spot, piloting Didgereedoo to the win scoring a 90 in round one and a 92 in the handy, for a combined total of 182.
“He really just loves to horse show,” Epperson continued. “Keeping him interested and excited about his job is the biggest thing for him. I think he definitely enjoys the handy the most. From his jumper background he knows when he walks into the handy and I pick up the canter, it’s go time and he’s super focused the entire time.”
Second-place honors went to GLEF III’s winner Calisto with Greg Crolick aboard for owner Jon Cotton. The pair rode to scores of 87.5 and 91 for an overall 178.5. Claudia Millstone’s Cullighan and Tiffany Morrissey finished third on a 177.5 total score.
With his win, Didgereedoo VDL was awarded the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week for GLEF IV.
Final Results: $10,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby
1. Didgereedoo VDL / Kelsey Epperson / Lashier Properties LLC / 90 + 92 = 182
2. Calisto / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 87.5 + 91 = 178.5
3. Cullighan / Tiffany Morrissey / Claudia Millstone / 89 + 88.5 = 177.5
4. Copernicus K / Tiffany Morrissey / Kathryn Withers / 88 + 87.75 = 175.75
5. Red Label / Tamara Provost / Dean Burger / 85.5 + 90 = 175.5
6. Testify / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 87 + 87 = 174
7. On Your Mark / Tiffany Morrissey / Lisa Berger / 85 + 88 = 173
8. Cooley Moondancer F / Tina Judge-Boyle / Alexandra Roe / 86 + 85 = 171
9. D’Esparges / Sarah Robertson / Grace Weber / 84 + 86 = 170
10. Cahdou / Tina Judge-Boyle / Ashland Farms / 86.25 + 83 = 169.25
11. Chicago / Ehrin Rittmueller / Christine Braeutigam / 82 + 84 = 166
12. Curtain Call / Erica Quinn / Olivia Blake / 80 + 76 = 156
Zygmunt and Catherine Kramer Conquer $10,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby
Catherine Kramer started out Sunday of GLEF IV on a winning note, capturing top honors in the $10,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby with her new mount, Zygmunt. Kramer and the 8-year-old Polish Warmblood gelding rode to two top scores, sealing the deal in the first derby of the day.
“Our partnership is fairly new,” Kramer said of her relationship with Zygmunt. “I started riding him at the end of the 2022 winter season. I’ve gotten to know him very well since then. He’s fairly green still so we’re working out some kinks. He’s grown a lot and I’m very excited for the future with him. He’s been a really good boy for me.”
Scoring a 90 in round one, Kramer was last to return for the handy. Augusta Iwasaki set the bar high with scores of 89.5 and 91 for an overall score of 180.5, so Kramer knew she had to deliver in order to take the win.
The Indianapolis, IN, native struck a balance between taking risks and playing it safe in the handy round, watching each of the pairs before her and knowing what it would take to get the highest score for round two. Earning a high score of 92 in the handy round, she secured her win with an overall score of 182. Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly’s Small Moments took second, while Katie McDonnell and Ritz claimed third on a 174.5 final score.
“He’s very much a puppy dog around the barn,” Kramer continued about Zygmunt. “He’s super sweet and so spoiled. He loves treats. As far as his ride, he’s very easy going. He likes to be left alone once you establish your pace. He’s learning his job and doing really well.”
After four weeks in Michigan, Kramer plans to stay one more week and hopes to capture some top results before she heads to college in the fall. The 18-year-old rider will be competing for Baylor University’s equestrian team while also continuing to grow with her new horse.
Final Results: $10,000 Non Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby
1. Zygmunt / Catherine Kramer / Catherine Kramer / 90 + 92 = 182
2. Small Moments / Augusta Iwasaki / Elizabeth Reilly / 89.5 + 91 = 180.5
3. Ritz / Katie McDonnell / Katie McDonnell / 88 + 86.5 = 174.5
4. Breckenridge / Abigail Gordon / Ashland Farms / 85 + 88 = 173
5. Easter / Sarah Stary / Kristoff Petro / 86 + 86 = 172
6. Kuore / Maya Rahaim / Renaud Farm LLC / 87.5 + 82 = 169.5
7. Harvard Grad / Avery Lambert / Avery Lambert / 88 + 80.5 = 168.5
8. Gladwell / Riley Hogan / Donald Stewart / 83 + 85 = 168
9. Black Label B / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch / 84 + 83 = 167
10. Fernando HS / Olivia Pittenger / Peyton Rathbun / 87 + 79 = 166
11. Million Reasons / Ella Reinauer / Gillan Wing / 81.5 + 70 = 151.5
12. Indigo / August Sanders / Briton Sanders / 82 + 49 = 131