An Unbelievable Finish for Jacob Pope in $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Jacob Pope wowed the crowds Saturday evening with his longtime partner, Unbelievable, taking top honors in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox, LLC. With three mounts in the class, Pope qualified all three for the handy round, but it was Forget Me Not Farm’s 12-year-old Warmblood mare that impressed the judges the most, convincingly earning the win by over 17 points.

“I love this horse,” Pope commented on his winning mount. “She’s everything to me. I feel like every time I can go in the ring and have a good round. She gives her all at every jump. Between the team at Forget Me Not Farm, Stephanie [Mazer], and Unbelievable, it’s just an incredible combination. I’ve known the mare for three years and we’ve had lots of wins together. She always tries her hardest.”

Jacob Pope and Unbelievable. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Pope scored an 89 and 90 for an overall 179 in round one, comfortably sitting in a three-way tie for third as the handy round began. Knowing what was on the line, he stepped up to the plate and delivered top scores in the handy of 105 and 107 for a combined two-round total of 392.

Stella Wasserman and Skyhawk. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Early to go in the handy round, Stella Wasserman produced a stellar trip with Laura Wasserman’s Skyhawk, riding to a total score of 374.5 and taking second as the class drew to a close. Third place went to Greg Crolick and Carole Chase’s Chappy on a total score of 372.

“We call her ‘Luna’ in the barn, or ‘Handy Queen,’” Pope continued regarding Unbelievable. “She’s amazing. Stephanie Mazer and I always say to go for it in the handy.”

Greg Crolick and Chappy. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

His efforts paid off taking risks in the handy round, opting for inside turns and high options that propelled him to the top. He also placed two other mounts inside the top 12, Don Stewart-owned San Pedro 15 and G. Eleven.

“I’m very thankful to have the ride on three very nice horses at this level,” Pope remarked. “I’m thankful to both Stephanie and Don Stewart. I ride a lot of horses throughout the week so I’m used to having to adapt my ride. Each horse is different, so I changed my ride in the handy depending on the experience level and strength of each horse.”

Pope now focuses his efforts with Unbelievable on USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in August 2022. On his preparation, he commented, “After a win today I feel super confident. She’s a super solid mare. We’ve been knocking on the door a bit and having nice placings. I feel well prepared for [Derby Championships] in a few weeks.”

National derby riders take to the Main Hunter Ring Sunday morning for the Pro and Non Pro sections of the $10,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby.

Final Results: $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC

1. Unbelievable / Jacob Pope / Forget Me Not Farm / 179 + 213 = 392
2. Skyhawk / Stella Wasserman / Laura Wasserman / 175.5 + 199 = 374.5
3. Chappy / Greg Crolick / Carole Chase / 173 + 199 = 372
4. Zanziebar R Z / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 181.25 + 189 = 370.25
5. Heartfelt II / Tiffany Morrissey / Diener Farms, LLC / 176 + 194 = 370
6. San Pedro 15 / Jacob Pope / Don Stewart / 179 + 169.5 = 348.5
7. Folklore / Rachel Lindsey / Amberlea Tribble / 167.5 + 178 = 345.5
8. Insightful / Augusta Iwasaki / Sunset View Farm LLC / 155 + 187 = 342
9. Catwalk / Greg Crolick / Renaud Farm, LLC / 165 + 158 = 323
10. Day Glow / Alex Granato / Rena Lalley / 179 + 103 = 282
11. Small Kingdom / Augusta Iwasaki / Elizabeth Reilly / 181 + 95 = 276
12. G. Eleven / Jacob Pope / Don Stewart / 158.5 + 112 = 270.5

Taylor Madden Masters Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship

The nation’s top equitation athletes all went head to head after qualifying for the Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship by securing a top-three ribbon in the big equitation classes throughout the Traverse City Horse Shows circuit so far. The feature equitation class, taking place Saturday afternoon of the fourth week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, welcomed 39 entries over the first-round course, set by Marina Azevedo.

Taylor Madden and Mac One III. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

For round two, the top-12 scores returned over a slightly modified track. Madden set the top score in round one of 92, returning last in the second round aboard Mac One III. At the conclusion of round one, judges Steve Heineke and Sydney Shulman Desiderio invited Madden and Augusta Iwasaki, who scored a 90 in round one, to test.

Taylor Madden and Mac One III. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I’ve had Mac for a really long time so I know him well,” Madden said of her ride for the Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship. “Luckily I got to watch [Augusta Iwasaki] go first. She decided to hold the counter canter after the first jump, but my horse likes to land right so I thought I’d be better to let him land right and get the flying change onto the counter canter. I made a double inside turn to the trot jump and he jumped that great. I got a nice hand gallop to the next vertical and halted. He was really good; I’m proud of him.”

Iwasaki and Izar, owned by Ashland Farms, rose to second place after a flawless second-round performance, and Alexander Alston aboard Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg, for Plain Bay Sales, took third after a first-round score of 90.5.

Augusta Iwasaki and Izar. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Madden and Mac One III rode to several top placings in equitation finals, including a win in the USEF/Dover Saddlery Hunter Seat Medal Finals in 2020. Though she’s not actively competing with “Mac” much anymore, she still gets to ride him often.

“Paige Walkenbach has leased Mac for this year,” Madden continued. “I’ve been riding him and preparing him for when she comes back to the East Coast. She’s going to do all of the indoors with him, so this is his preparation.”

Alexander Alston and Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I got him when he was eight years old and now he’s 13,” Madden said of the Anglo European gelding (Luidam x Lagos). He was very jumper-y [when I got him]. He was doing the 1.45m with Lauren Hough. He learned super fast so it took a year for him to get [the equitation], but as soon as he did he was hard to beat. I’ve known him forever and he’s helped me accomplish so many of my dreams.”

With her equitation years mostly behind her, Madden is now focusing on jumping bigger tracks in the jumper ring. During GLEF II, she jumped double-clear to second place in the $30,000 National Grand Prix.

“We love Traverse City,” the Wellington, FL, native continued. “We’ve been here since the beginning of June. we’ll definitely be here longer next year; it’s just so pretty here.”

Final Results: Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship

1. Mac One III / Taylor Madden / Taylor Madden / 92
2. Izar / Augusta Iwasaki / Ashland Farms / 90
3. Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg / Alexander Alston / Plain Bay Sales / 90.5
4. Jamaica / Luke Jensen / North Run / 88
5. Iwan / Christian Dominguez / Christian Dominguez / 86
6. HH Moonshine / Tessa Downey / Double H Farm / 91
7. Munich / Stella Wasserman / Elvenstar Farm / 87.5
8. Commentator / Elianna Kirson / Skyler Fields / 85.5
9. Tanzanite De Semilly / Cody Rego / Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc / 87
10. Bigtalu G Z / Hanna Dolan / Missy Clark / 85.75
11. Conthacco / Ellie Aronson / Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc / 86.5
12. Jeffery RW / Josselyn Merserau / Joyce Merserau / 85

First Week, First Win for Audrey Schulze and Darquito in $30,000 National Grand Prix

Audrey Schulze did not need long to adjust to her new partner, Darquito. The young rider piloted the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC, to the win in Saturday morning’s $30,000 National Grand Prix, beating out top professionals and claiming top honors.

Audrey Schulze and Darquito. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I just got this horse last week from Andrew Bourns,” Schulze, of Saddle River, NJ, said. “This is my first show with him. I’m really excited for the future; he’s a super horse. I’m jumping the two-star on him next week so I’m really excited [about this win].”

Marina Azevedo (BRA) set the track for 42 combinations to test in the first round of competition. As the final pair on course in the jump-off of 10, Schulze used her new mount’s large stride and careful edge to sneak past the current leader, Kent Farrington with Greya, owned by Kent Farrington LLC. Schulze’s time of 40.820 seconds topped Farrington by nearly one second, securing the win and putting Farrington into second with a jump-off time of 41.760 seconds. Third-place honors went to Mark Kinsella and Quality H in a jump-off time of 41.910 seconds.

Audrey Schulze and Darquito. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We’re just a really good match,” Schulze continued about Darquito. “I get along with him well. As soon as we got to the ring I felt like I knew how to ride him and what he would like. His stride is really big and he’s got a lot of scope and quality. I’d like to jump him in some bigger classes, some three-and four-stars.”

Kent Farrington and Greya. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Bourns competed Darquito up to the CSI4* level to countless wins, including a CSI2* Grand Prix. The pair also helped secure the gold medal in July of 2021 at the inaugural Major League Show Jumping event in Traverse City. With a 65% clear round rate at 1.45m, Darquito has plenty of scope for the national grand prix level, and that number increases to 67% when the fences are 1.55m and above. Schulze has high hopes for her future as a grand prix competitor aboard the seasoned horse.

Mark Kinsella and Quality H. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I’ve been coming to this show for the past four years,” Schulze commented on Traverse City Horse Shows. “It’s nice to see every year there are so many improvements and it’s fun to come back every summer.”

Final Results: $30,000 National Grand Prix

1. Darquito / Audrey Schulze / Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC / 0/0/40.820
2. Greya / Kent Farrington / Kent Farrington LLC / 0/0/41.760
3. Quality H / Mark Kinsella / Mark Kinsella / 0/0/41.910
4. Manhattan / Georgina Bloomberg / Gotham Enterprizes LLC / 0/0/43.109
5. High Nitro / Cathleen Driscoll / Margaret Frank / 0/4/40.422
6. Jiselle / McKayla Langmeier / Linda Langmeier / 0/4/40.769
7. Nanini Van D’Abelendreef / Sydney Shulman Desiderio / Esperanza Imports LLC / 0/4/41.389
8. Lord Up / Audrey Schulze / Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC / 0/4/42.164
9. Cassio Melloni / Kaitlyn Williams / Kaitlyn Williams / 0/4/42.347
10. W. Tonix Hero / John Angus / Stephanie E. Angus / 0/4/43.152
11. Costa Quick PS / Alejandro Leonardo Winkler / Alejandro Leonardo Winkler / 1/80.225
12. Darknight De Maluga / McKayla Langmeier / Bridget Ennevor / 2/81.161