Hallie Grimes has had a lot of firsts in Traverse City. She jumped her first ranking class at Flintfields Horse Park, her first CSI2* grand prix, appeared in her first FEI North American Youth Championships, had her first high junior jumper victory, and now she scored her first grand prix win with her new mount, Margriet de Mariposa.
The duo topped an impressive field Saturday in the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix, the fastest of only three double-clear efforts during the second week of the Traverse City Spring Horse Shows, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. Taylor Land was second with Escobar WW, owned by Jay Land, while Jonathan McCrea took third with Jannan S, owned by Windsor Show Stables.
“I showed her for the first time last week; this is my fourth class with her,” Grimes, 21, said of the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Nabab De Reve x For Pleasure), owned by Can We Keep It? LLC. “I’ve always loved her. I watched her with Jerome Guery. and she was always a great contender. Last September, my good friend Sarah Scheiring bought her, and I was a part of that journey. I loved her and got to watch her for a long time closely through that. She’s mine now!”
Grimes knew Margriet de Mariposa would be a special one, mainly due to the competitive genes that run in the mare’s family.
“My favorite horse, Malissa de Muze – she’s related to Margriet on both sides, which is interesting because they really remind me of each other personality-wise,” Grimes explained. “She was always quite sporty. When Sarah had her I got to know her in the barn. She’s cool as a cucumber and happy to see you every morning. She’s part of the team and happy to be here. If she likes you she’s always going to try her heart out for you.”
Grimes started college two years ago, thinking she would take a step back in her riding and enjoy the amateur life, but she changed her mind and decided to go the opposite direction.
“I decided if I was going to do it I was going to make a go at it,” she said of pursuing the sport at a higher level. “After I bought Margriet I realized this is it. I have a string of seven horses that I think are really spectacular. I have enough to be competitive and be a part of Major League [Show Jumping] this year and make those goals a reality. I’m really lucky to have these horses. Every role is filled for the first time ever.”
Being back in Michigan brings back big memories for Grimes, but she’s using those memories to motivate her to reach even bigger milestones this time around. Later this summer, she’ll return to the FEI North American Youth Championships, where she’ll have her choice between piloting Margriet de Mariposa and Malissa de Muze. With added horsepower, she’ll be one to watch at the prestigious event.
“Traverse City is a really special place for me,” Grimes continued. “The horses jump great in this ring. My favorite thing about this facility is it seems to get better every year. Now we have the permanent barns and the stalls are bigger. All my horses are really happy here. We love it.”
Show jumping during Traverse City Spring II culminates Sunday with the $145,100 4G Surfaces CSI3* Grand Prix.
Ella Jane Howard Keeps it in the Family
Twelve-year-old Ella Jane Howard has a special bond with her family man Charming Charly 5. She’s been competing in the children’s hunters since January with the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding, and on Saturday at the Traverse City Spring Horse Shows, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, she took home the $1,200 North Star Reach Camps NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic.
“He’s been in the family a long time,” Howard said of Charming Charly 5, owned by Fox Meadow Farm, who carried her to scores of 86 and 78 in Saturday’s classic. “My cousin did him and then he got passed down to our family friend, and then another cousin had him, then my sister had him, and now I have him. It took me a little bit before we really got to know each other but we started to get the hang of it.”
With all the family experience, Howard was able to get to know her mount prior to being handed the reins, which allowed her to come into the Children’s Hunter division strong from the get go. “He’s really sweet,” she continued. “He’s a really good boy. He doesn’t care about anything. I do some crazy things and he doesn’t care.”
A Michigan native, Howard and her family have been attending Traverse City Horse Shows for quite some time, so Howard has been able to rise through the ranks with a consistent backdrop. From the Short Stirrup through the Children’s Hunters, and with still quite a bit to come in her riding career, she’s jumped to big milestones in her home state of Michigan.
Staying busy with the Pony Hunters as well, Howard has a busy show schedule over the weekend in Traverse City, while also getting to know her still relatively new mount Charming Charly 5. But she is learning quite a bit from each trip in the ring and each horse she pilots. “I went in and did my best,” she said of her performance Saturday. “I’m always up for a challenge. I just want to be the best I can be.”
The week wraps up Sunday with the USHJA National Hunter Derby and the culmination of Amateur-Owner and Adult Hunter divisions.
Schuyler Dayner Sweeps 15-17 Equitation, Sponsored by Albion College
Schuyler Dayner had an incredible outing on a borrowed ride Saturday in the 15-17 Equitation, sponsored by Albion College. Dayner and Van Gogh, owned by Brooke Borges, took the win in all three classes to claim championship honors.
“His name is Stitch in the barn. [Brooke] let me borrow him and have some fun,” Dayner, 16, said of her ride for Saturday’s division. “I thought they were great courses. They were technical enough that you stood out if you did it all right. I thought he handled them great. He was great on the flat too and he won all three. He was super.”
Traverse City will be a key stop for Dayner in her pursuits to attend and ribbon at the equitation finals in the fall. “We’re here all summer through the end of July and we will do finals for all the 3’6” indoors. Top 25 at indoors is a big goal, [as is] being competitive at the Gladstone Cup in two weeks,” she said.
But being in Traverse City for the summer certainly isn’t something to complain about for Dayner, a local of Tampa, FL. “I love it,” she said of Northern Michigan. “The weather is so amazing. We’re from Florida so it’s cool here and it’s so nice. The footing is great and all the jumps are beautiful.”
Dayner trains at home with her mother, Heather Dayner as well as with Don Stewart, who owns several of her mounts in the equitation and hunters.
“I catch-ride a bunch for Don and I catch-rode a hunter for Jim Hagman [this week] that was champion too,” she said of her busy riding schedule. “I have a couple of my own equitation horses and hunters. This is my seventh horse of the day with three more still to go.”
Staying busy with her riding schedule will come in handy as Dayner plans to take her riding to the next level, competing on an NCEA equestrian team. “I plan to ride [Division] 1 in college. That’s the goal. I just started talking to coaches.”