Clean Sweep for Zone 5 in the Markel/USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships

The Markel/USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships for Zones 1, 2, 5, and 6 highlight the third and final week of the Traverse City Spring Series, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, at Flintfields Horse Park. After qualifying competition opened for juniors and amateurs at 1.30m-1.35m and 1.40m-1.45m heights on Wednesday, riders were challenged across a speed course on Thursday to determine overall team placings. 

While the time on the clock was important to take the win, leaving the rails in their cups was also imperative, as all faults incurred will count towards both team and individual placings throughout the week. It was Zone 5 that earned the gold, coming into Thursday’s class with three of their four team members jumping clear during Wednesday’s opening round. 

A Zone 5 sweep of the podium. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The difference between taking home gold or silver came down to the team’s final rider at the 1.40m/1.45m height,17-year-old Izzy Beisel. Beisel ended up the only rider to jump clear at the higher height.  

“At first, my strategy was to not keep track of the scores, that way I didn’t put all the pressure on myself. Then I heard the announcer say, ‘oh, if she goes clear, you’ll get team gold,’” said Beisel. 

The Zone 5 team featured Izzy Beisel and Vegas H, Lilly Yinger and Christiaan, Alina Zappone and Jack The Ripper 111, and Jessica Lobmiller and Frere D’Arme. 

Beisel’s win-determining mount was 11-year-old Hanoverian Gelding, Vegas H, owned by Courtney Berling and Izzy’s father, David Beisel. 

“He’s pretty cool; he’s a big snuggle bug and a treat monster,” said Izzy. “I’ve been riding him since 2019. My dad was actually getting him ready to be his grand prix horse, but I would do him in the 1.15m children’s jumpers and go cruise around when we first started. 

“It’s been special to ride him for this long; we know each other inside and out and he’s been pretty awesome,” continued Izzy. “I would also like to say I’m so thankful to Courtney Berling who partnered my dad with him.” 

Riding for both themselves and their teams this week, riders are experiencing added pressure, conditioning them for possible future senior team opportunities. “It’s definitely a different version of pressure,” said Izzy. “People talk about equitation finals, but that’s only a you thing. In this situation, you don’t want to let anyone down. It’s a whole different kind of pressure that gets you ready for other team settings too.”

Thursday’s championship was a clean sweep for Zone 5 riders, with the silver and bronze medals also going to Zone 5 teams. Silver was won by Ashley Stumm one Lagergeld, Allison Orth riding Constakko’s Boy, Rebecca Gutstein on Masoranta and Molly Kindness aboard HJ Blind Date. 

The bronze medal went to Isabelle Collister with Thalia SR Z, Maya Rahaim on Japan HS, Izzy Beisel on her second mount Diaz Barbotiere and Caitlin Creel riding HH Motown.

Markel/USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships athletes will have the opportunity to vie for individual medals on Saturday. 

Part of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Program, the Markel/USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships are open to professionals, juniors and amateurs, offering team and individual competition and an opportunity to qualify for continued education with top national and international industry experts. The championships are held regionally and have called Traverse City Horse Shows home once again this year. 

For full results, click here

Francisco Goyoaga Mollet Races to The Top in $32,000 CSI2* Speed

Highlighting the afternoon in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring on Thursday, course designer Anderson Lima (BRA) opened international competition during the third week of the Traverse City Spring Series. The $32,000 CSI2* Speed welcomed 22 competitors who battled it out against the clock to take home the lion’s share of the opening-day prize money. With an unmatched time of 65.22 seconds, the winning rosette went to Spain’s Francisco Goyoaga Mollet and Allie Rae Hayes’ Onatella v.d Vinkhoeve. 

Francisco Goyoaga Mollet and Onatella V.D Vinkhoeve. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“There was an inside turn at the beginning of the course that no one was doing,” explained Mollet. “She turns really fast and tight, and I know she is quite careful, so I went for it. I think I gained a lot of time there, but she is also just naturally so fast across the ground.” 

The 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (VDL Zirocco Blue x Osta Rugs Quintus) has only just made her home in the states in the last couple of months after making the trip from Europe where she competed at the two-star level, also under the Spanish flag. 

Francisco Goyoaga Mollet and Onatella V.D Vinkhoeve. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“She is only ten years old and has just competed in two-star shows over in Europe,” detailed Goyoaga. “She did her first three-star in Kentucky and did well but was a little green still in the grand prix, so our goal this season is to continue to develop on the talent she has and bring her up the levels.

“She is extremely quality and works so hard for the rider,” he continued. “If I don’t jump clear it’s usually my fault because she really tries to leave the jumps up, and when I ask her to go fast it is such a pleasure because she gives it her all. I think she’s going to make an excellent grand prix horse.” 

For Mollet, the win is the cherry on top of his return to Traverse City. 

“I love this place; I have been waiting since I left last year to come back,” he enthused. “The footing here is the best I’ve jumped on in the U.S. and every year they are improving things. It’s an amazing place.” 

Lillie Keenan and Le Louvre 5. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Going late in the order but always one to be counted on for a quick effort, Lillie Keenan (USA) delivered a round worthy of second place as she and the Chansonette Farm LLC‘s nine-year-old Westphalian gelding, Le Louvre 5, crossed the timers in 68.11 seconds. As the first to go and the class’s original leader, Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) and the Gladewinds Partners LLC’s 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, JackOfHearts, rounded out the top three just off the pace with a time of 68.66 seconds. 

Margie Goldstein-Engle and JackOfHearts. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

International competition returns to the main ring at Traverse City Horse Shows on Friday for the GFL Environmental CIS2* Welcome. 

For full results, click here

Nick Haness and Estimated Prophet Notch Championship in Perfect Products High Performance/Green 3’9” Hunter Division

Whether across the country in California or in the Main Hunter ring of Traverse City Horse Shows, Nick Haness (Temecula, CA) and Estimated Prophet are a duo that are difficult to beat. That once again proved true as the pair put on the tricolor ribbon at the completion of the Perfect Products High Performance/Green 3’9” Hunter Division during World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week on Thursday. 

Nick Haness and Estimated Prophet. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Having captured three out of four first-place finishes in the over-fences portion of the division, the pair emerged the clear division leaders as the competition drew to a close with scores of 86, 87 and 88. 

“He is a beautiful horse and the way he goes is effortless,” Haness said of the Roaring Fork Farms-owned 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Cornet Obolensky. “When he gets to the jump on a good gallop and explodes over the top of the jump, it really demonstrates so much athletic ability and scope, and I think the judges really love that.” 

The pairing is one of several that Haness has in conjunction with Balmoral Farm and he believes much of the success can be credited to the partnership of those involved.

“It’s really fun for me to be involved with Tracy and Carleton [Brooks] and to work with them because I think we each bring something unique to the table,” he said. “They are able to prepare the horse beautifully and I am able to put on my finishing touches at the show ring – that teamwork seems to have a great success rate so far. You can’t replace the expertise and years of success that they bring to the table.”

Nick Haness and Estimated Prophet, pictured with Carleton Brooks, are presented as champions by Kristen Bauknecht, Director of Product Development and Outside Sales for Perfect Products. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

With their eyes aimed at a win for Estimated Prophet in this year’s Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, Haness says that their time spent in Traverse City acts as the perfect preparation. 

“Estimated Prophet was fourth last year at the finals, so this year our main goal is to win and that is why we are here right now getting our eyes on some bigger jumps,” explained Haness. “Here you really feel like you’re putting on a showcase every time you go in the arena and want to make each round better than the last.”

Hunter competition will resume on Friday as anticipation builds in anticipation of the $100,000 World Championship Hunter Rider Central Spectacular, presented by Debbie Smith, Ltd., taking place on Saturday evening. 

For full results, click here