Karl Cook (USA), time after time, proves that it’s never over until it’s over. He did it again Sunday with Caracole de la Roque, a newer ride of his owned by Signe Otsby, stunning the crowd with a blazing-fast jump-off to win the $145,100 CSI3* Grand Prix of Traverse City.
Cook and the mare were one of 10 pairs qualified for the short course over Andy Christiansen’s (ECU) track. Kent Farrington (USA) made everyone think it was over with Greya, clocking in at 39.85 seconds. As more pairs went and couldn’t get near the time Farrington set, it became clear just how fast he was.
“I agreed because Kent was very fast and he didn’t add anywhere,” Cook said. “Then when I saw the people after him go that much slower, that further cemented that it was real. Sometimes things will look fast and the next person beats it and the next person beats it. They were four seconds slower and still going.”
But Cook didn’t let that alter his plan. He went in determined with Caracole de la Roque, took the pace up a notch, kept the turns tight, and proved to everyone that it wasn’t over. His time of 38.73 seconds took over the lead with only one remaining.
“I didn’t change my approach to the jump-off,” he explained after seeing how the class was unfolding. “It’s still a new partnership so I didn’t know 100% what to expect. I tried to ride the plan accurately. She’s so naturally fast and her stride length was a bit better suited to this jump-off than [Greya] so that’s what helped us.”
Cook is always keen to think about improving his turn after the fence by fixing his approach to the fence. “To the oxer at fence 11, it’s a forward seven [strides] and most people were landing and pulling,” he explained. “Because we have a bigger stride, I could do a more bending seven and get the turn done before the fence, then shave off two strides between fence 11 and fence 9A. Everything kept going and it was because she had a bigger stride than Kent’s horse. It favored me a little bit.”
Farrington ultimately took second place with Greya, and Callie Schott (USA) secured third place as last to go with Garant, owned by Southern Arches LLC.
Never quite satisfied with even the most exciting of wins, Cook is already aware of what he has to improve upon with his round Sunday.
“Of course I feel really good, but also fence one to two in the jump-off was not right. That’s something I need to fix,” he explained. “The rideability is getting better but it’s still new territory with her. I need to learn her more because she’s a horse you ride off feel. You can only do that with time.”
With another CSI5* contender who’s already a CSI5* grand prix winner in the barn, Cook is setting himself up to have two top mares to place in the highest divisions. “In an ideal world she and Kalinka [van’t Zorgvliet] would trade off,” he said of his plan with his two top mounts. “That was our hope when we got her. Then it’ll take a lot of pressure off both of them. One horse won’t have to shoulder all the load. If we can pull that off it’d be really great.”
CSI5* show jumping returns to Traverse City as Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) ascends on GLEF V, and Cook has a general game plan to use both Caracole and Kalinka to earn team and individual results.
“I wanted to see how this class would go, and I’m happy with today so we’re going to do the team class [for Helios] next week instead of continuing to move up. The team event is close to this height so it’s good to not sail to the ceiling,” he shared.
Ticket proceeds from Sunday’s $145,100 CSI3* Grand Prix of Traverse City were donated to Traverse City Horse Shows charity ticket partner, Little Traverse Bay Humane Society, in the amount of $3,010.
See full results here from the $145,100 CSI3* Grand Prix of Traverse City.
Tiffany Morrissey and Cullighan Claim $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Presented by Makoto Farm
Tiffany Morrissey captured a big win Sunday in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Makoto Farm, aboard an up-and-coming hunter mount, Cullighan. Claudia Millstone’s stunning gelding put his heart into two beautiful rounds, taking top scores and the top call as the class came to a close.
Morrissey went later in the starting order of go, but she recorded the high score of 93, putting her in the lead going into round two. Just behind her was Kelsey Epperson aboard Didgereedoo VDL, owned by Lashier Properties LLC, scoring a 92, and Sarah Duhon and Wendy Hofmeister’s Better In Blue scored a 91, putting pressure on all the top three to bring their best in the handy round.
Morrissey went in with the plan to be bold to bring home the win, especially after Duhon and Epperson doubled their scores with near-perfect rounds.
“There was a hard inside turn only Kelsey and I did,” Morrissey said of her handy course plan. “I figured I might as well give it my best shot. It all worked out.” Following suit, Morrissey and Cullighan doubled their first-round score, earning another 93 and taking the win on a two-round total of 186. Epperson and Didgereedoo VDL took second, while Duhon and Better In Blue claimed third.
“We bought him two years ago,” Morrissey continued of Cullighan, an 11-year-old Selle Français gelding by Diamant De Semilly. “Henri and Katie Prudent imported him and then Don [Stewart] was helping with him and we bought him. He’s owned by an amateur, Claudia Millstone, and she shows him in the Amateur [Owners] as well. I’ve been lucky enough to get to do him in a bunch of derbies.”
Though hunter derbies are still relatively new to Cullighan, he is quite at home in the derby ring, making it look like he’s done them his whole life. “He had never done the hunters when we bought him,” said Morrissey, head trainer at East Wind Farms. “So I started in the 3’ pre-green and worked my way up to 3’3”. Now he’s done all the derbies here and in Florida on the grass.”
As he continues to take top placings in derbies, Morrissey feels the horse improving with each outing. “He’s such an athletic horse,” she said. “He’s a great jumper, he’s super brave and he gets better and better. He’s definitely a big personality; he’s the same every day and we’re lucky to have such a quality animal.”
Though Traverse City is a second home for Morrissey and her family, she heads back to Florida before the end of the season. Heading into her final couple weeks of showing, the Morrissey family has hit several highlights. Earlier Sunday, Matty Morrissey claimed championship honors aboard Honey Bunches Of Oats in the Cross Rail Hunters.
“We are here through the end of GLEF and we have to go back to Florida because my daughter goes to school,” Morrissey explained. “It’s been good; we’ve been here since June 1. Cullighan will do the [Green Incentive Finals] in Kentucky, take a little break and then Capital Challenge in the fall.”
For his win, Cullighan was named Platinum Performance Hunter of the Week.
Earlier Sunday, juniors and amateurs vied for the top spot in the $5,000 Non Pro Traverse City Derby. Capri Truesdale came out on top with Arnac D’Elphen after scoring a two-round total of 172. Kelly Doherty and All Eyes On Me were second, and Grace Loghlin took third with Briljant Z, owned by Loughlin Sport Horses LLC.
Hunters resume Wednesday, August 2, for week five of GLEF.
Hailey Guidry Wins East Wind Farms Children’s Jumper Classic
Between the equitation, hunters and jumpers rings,13-year-old Hailey Guidry stayed very busy at the Flintfields Horse Park during week four of GLEF.
She ended her week with a bang, topping 29 entries in the East Wind Farms NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic aboard Colina SN. Her jump-off time was about two seconds faster than any other competitor, besting 10 double-clear rounds.
Currently leading both the WIHS and NAL standings by quite a margin, Guidry has all but guaranteed she’ll get the chance to compete with Colina SN at the Washington International Horse Show and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in the respective Children’s Jumper Finals.
“We were trying to win but also I’m high enough in the standings for WIHS and NAL, that it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t win. I’m just happy I did win!” she expressed.
She’s been forming a partnership with Colina SN for several years, and it’s apparent that their bond grows stronger with time.
“Her barn name is Lina,” she said of Taylor Landstrom’s 13-year-old mare. “She’s the sweetest. We’ve had her for about two years now and she’s the best. My whole family loves her. She’s really sweet in the barn and every time she goes in the ring she is ready to go.”
In Traverse City, the season has been good to Guidry. “My season has been going very well. This weekend I was 8th in the international derby, my first one, so I’m very happy with that. I’m very happy to be here. It’s so nice and the weather is gorgeous,” she remarked.
With seven years remaining in her junior career, there is quite a bit of time to accomplish some lofty goals. “I’m hoping to be top-20 at Medal Finals and Maclay Finals. I’m hoping to get good finals ribbons in the High Juniors and Medium Juniors and hopefully jump my first National Grand Prix.”