Charlotte Jacobs and Playboy JT Z Make Moves in $75,000 Meijer CSI2* Grand Prix

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) premiere week, presented by B&D Builders, came to a close on Sunday afternoon with the week’s featured $75,000 Meijer CSI2* Grand Prix. Twenty-seven riders took to course designer Ana Catalina Cruz’s (MEX) track, with eight returning for the short course. Proving to be uncatchable over the tie-breaking jump-off was Charlotte Jacobs (USA) and Playboy JT Z .

Jacob’s nine-year old gelding (Presley Boy x Plot Blue) is still developing in the grand prix ranks, but showed great promise at Flintfields Horse Park over the weekend as part of owner North Star’s young horse development program. The pair came in with a target time to beat of 37.06 seconds set by USA’s Cathleen Driscoll, ultimately cutting the timer beam at 36.88 seconds. 

Charlotte Jacobs and Playboy JT Z stand for presentation with Kendall Meijer. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Jacobs, who was second in the Meijer Grand Prix in 2023 on Rincoola Milsean, came back for victory on her new mount. “Both horses I jumped today were nine-years-old and I’m still getting to know them,” said Jacobs of her winning mount and her second ride in the class, Instrumental. “I thought this course today was perfect for them. It rode well and you had to ride it properly.” 

Jacobs and her team at North Star are stationed in Traverse City for the summer with 12 horses in her string. “This is my fourth summer here,” said Jacobs. “Each year we end up coming back for longer and longer. We’re here for four weeks, take a break in August, then return for the September shows.

Cathleen Driscoll & Casalletto. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

I have two of my older horses here, one of which I’ll be aiming at the five-stars in September. Other than that, I have my younger horses here who are just moving up to the three-star level and this is really the perfect place for them to move up.”

Sam Schaefer and James Bond HX. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Driscoll, who won the class in 2023, piloted Casaletto (Cascadello x Clinton I), owned by Plain Bay Farm, to second place. Taking third was USA’s Samatha Schaefer and James Bond HX (Douglas x Cash), owned by Bonne Chance LLC. The pair came close to Driscoll in a time of 37.13 seconds. 

For the win, Jacobs was also presented with the Turnham Green Leading Lady Rider Award. The honor will be awarded each week throughout GLEF to the female rider who posts the best cumulative results in international classes throughout the week.

Charlotte Jacobs presented as the Turnham Green Leading Lady Rider by Ellen Sweetnam. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography
At the conclusion of Sunday’s competition, the Traverse City Horse Shows charity partner for GLEF 1, A Kid Again, was presented $2,835 by Gary Howe from ticket proceeds. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

At the conclusion of Sunday’s competition, the Traverse City Horse Shows charity partner for GLEF 1 A Kid Again, whose Michigan chapter provides year-round adventures to families raising a child with a life-threatening condition, was presented $2,835 from ticket proceeds. Show jumping resumes during week two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by B&D Builders, for another week featuring CSI3* action. 

Final Results: $75,000 Meijer CSI2* Grand Prix

1.Charlotte Jacobs (USA) & Playboy JT Z: 2015 Zangersheide gelding  (Presley Boy x Plot Blue)
Owner: North Star

2.Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Casaletto: 2014 Holsteiner gelding (Cascadello x Clinton I)
Owner: Plain Bay Farm 

3.Samantha Schaefer (USA) & James Bond HX: 2014 KWPN gelding (Douglas x Cash)
Owner: Bonne Chance LLC

4.Jimmy Torano (USA) & Kochio Z: 2014 Zangersheide gelding (Kannan x Diamant De Semilly)
Owner: Jimmy Torano

5.Hillary Mc Nerney (USA) & Riscalino: 2015 Holsteiner stallion (Riscal x Caretino 2)
Owner: Hillary Mc Nerney

For full results, click here.

Nick Haness and Odette Score a 99 to Win $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Presented by Don Stewart Stables

Nick Haness & Odette presented as winners and recipients of the Platinum Performance Horse of the Week honor. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Nick Haness, who hails from Temecula, CA, did what most hunter riders only dream of on the final day of week two at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by B&D Builders. In the Main Hunter Ring at Flintfields Horse Park, he and Odette, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, scored a 99 to win the $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Don Stewart Stables. The competition concluded the first week of GLEF with 22 horse-and-rider pairings jockeying for the prime position, but it was the eight-year-old Oldenburg mare by Casallco and Haness that most impressed the judges. 

The pair commanded notice from the get-go as they took to the track first in the classic round and laid down a trip to remember. The judges agreed with what Haness felt was a good round with an outstanding first-round score of 95 plus all four high-option points for a whopping total of 99 points to set the tone for the rest of the class. 

Nick Haness & Odette. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“Odette is simply incredible, I have almost no words,” confessed Haness. “She is one of the most fun horses to ride – she’s as smart of a horse as ever, she’s brilliant, she’s also special, her technique is flawless because she’s so light at the top of the jump and lands effortlessly, and on top of that she has a good character. A good mare is a good mare, and she’s an amazing mare.

“I ended up going first with her,” he continued. “I actually like going first, some people don’t like to go early, but I personally feel like going first is really fun. Especially with a horse like Odette because I knew she was capable of going really well.” 

One score in the 90’s wasn’t enough for the duo however, and as the final entry on course in the handy round, Haness and Odette debuted another flawless performance to earn a handy round score of 95 and an unbeatable score of 194 points. 

“I came back last because I was in first place with a high score of 99 which is a score you kind of can’t think about because it’s nerve wracking,” he admitted. “I just really tried to embrace the horse underneath me and ride every stride with her. I knew if I did my part, she would do hers.”

Augusta Iwasaki & Magic In The Making. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Young rider Augusta Iwasaki piloted Redfield Farm’s eight-year-old Selle Français gelding Magic In The Making (by Diamant de Semilly) into second place with a two-round total six points shy of the winning score on a total of 189 points. Top professional Geoffrey Hesslink found his way to the third place position with a two-round total of 186.5 points on Sara Hogan’s 12-year-old Hanoverian mare Belle (by Ballissimo M). 

Geoffrey Hesslink & Belle. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Hunter derby action earlier in the day saw Grace Loughlin (Austin, TX) and Loughlin Sport Horses’ 16-year-old Warmblood gelding Briljant Z (by Balougran Z) to the prime position in the $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby, presented by Makoto Farm and Walkenbach out of 34 total entries with the best earned score of 174 points. Ava Papez (McLean, VA) and Badger Sporthorses, LLC’s 12-year-old KWPN gelding Hamilton (by Apache) took home the final hunter derby win of the week in the Non-pro 2’6” Traverse City Hunter Derby. 

In the race for a new offering at GLEF, junior Eva Mackenzie currently sits atop the $5,000 Leading Junior Hunter Rider Bonus standings, while amateur Natalie Jayne leads the $5,000 Leading Amateur Hunter Rider Bonus ranks. These new bonuses are presented by Makoto Farms and Walkenbach Equestrian and will be awarded to the overall leading riders at the conclusion of GLEF IV.

For full results, click here

Ella Tarumianz and Nicarmargue Save Best for Last in East Wind Farms Junior Jumper Classic

Ella Tarumianz & Nicarmargue. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Junior jumper action kicked off bright and early in the Polk Family Arena on Sunday with the $2,500 East Wind Farms 1.10m-1.15m NAL/WIHS Junior Jumper Classic. Twenty-seven horse-and-rider combinations showed their Sunday best across the classic course, with 10 riders making it to the immediate jump-off. Out of the ten who took to the short course, it was the final combination who bested the rest. Ella Tarumianz of Charlotte, NC, and Nicarmargue, owned by Emma Brody, crossed the finish line in 24.432 seconds, beating out the lead by a tenth of a second. 

With Tarumianz only beginning the jumpers this season, she needed a horse to show her the ropes; that’s when the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding became part of Tarumianz’s career. “We really wanted to find a horse that knows what he’s doing,” said 15-year-old Tarumianz. “One of my friends owns him and I started leasing him in December. He’s just been the best partner to teach me.

Katherine Mercer & Colina SN. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We kind of have a similar way that we want to go about a course. He’s great at turning, he’s very fast on his feet and it’s been super special to learn the ropes with him. I’m just very grateful that he’s shown me the way and kept me safe.”

The jump-off track was the perfect time to test what Tarumianz has learned in the jumper arena so far, and she planned to go for the win. “The plan was to really go for it in the jump off,” said Tarumianz. “We were gonna do a few turns that really nobody else was doing and my trainer helped me plan out that track. I also just recently started doing the equitation so that’s also helped me with learning my tracks and the strides.” 

Liston Johnson & Chine Van’t Schanshof Z. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Following in second on a close time of 24.559 seconds was Katherine Mercer, of Wellington, FL, and Colina SN, owned by Taylor Landstrom. Liston Johnson, of Houston, TX, and their own Chine Van’t Schanshof Z closed out the podium on a time of 31.452 seconds.

Jumper action will pick up again on Wednesday, July 10th, for the start of the second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

For full results, click here.