Olivia Chowdry and Chuck Berry 8 Charge to 37,000 CSI2* Speed Classic Win

Olivia Chowdry (USA) chased down the victory  Thursday afternoon to kick off the fourth week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, in the $37,000 CSI2* Speed Classic aboard her longtime partner Chuck Berry 8, owned by Atlas Equine Holdings, LLC.

Olivia Chowdry (USA) and Chuck Berry 8. Photo© Andrew Ryback Photography

From a field of 46 international entries, Chowdry, of Denver, CO, came in just before the midway point to test the speed track built by Marina Azevedo (BRA). First to go, Columbia’s Mark Bluman and his first of three rides, Noortje VD Windheuvel, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, captured the first clear-round time of 64.05 seconds, and it took until Chowdry, 19th in the order, before his lead was disrupted. Chowdry sped to a time of 61.40 seconds, which would hold until the class closed. The only pair close to catching her was Cathleen Driscoll (USA) with her on-form mount Magnolia in a time of 62.94 seconds. Their effort placed them second while Bluman settled for third.

“Today I went with what my horse’s strengths are,” Chowdry said of her strategy. “There were a lot of tight left turns and he likes to go left so that was definitely to my advantage. His scope and his speed are his best qualities. He was perfect. He loves to run, that’s the best thing for him. He’s a hot horse.”

“It started pretty rocky,” Chowdry said of the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Chacco Blue x Watzmann). “He’s a quirky horse but his characteristics are what make him the best. He really taught me everything I know to this point in my career. He continues to teach me; Everyday I’m learning something new with him. He gives me 100% every time but the speed classes are definitely where he shines.”

Paired together for about three years, Chowdry had the benefit of her trainers getting to know Chuck Berry 8 before she took the reins. “I ride with Katie and Henri Prudent,” she continued. “They found him in Germany. He’s quite quirky so it was great because Katiehad him for over a year, so she knew what was best for him and what his secret recipe was. The first time he jumped FEI they brought the passport over and a letter fell out of it. When they opened the letter it said, ‘I’ve never been flatted; I’m only lunged and I go to the ring. I love speed classes, I love to gallop, and nobody ever flats me.’ It was signed by Chuck. It’s a funny story.”

Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Magnolia. Photo© Andrew Ryback Photography

With two podium finishes already under her belt this season at GLEF, Chowdry feels good heading into her final week here in Traverse City. “This has been a fantastic show,” she continued. “We’ve had great weather. There’s so much to do outside the horse show. It’s fantastic for sponsors; they’ve done such a great job with bringing in local sponsors to support the area in Traverse City. The footing is fantastic; it’s the same in all the rings so you have lots of places to ride. Even if it really rains, their system keeps the footing good. It’s great for owners, for spectators, for the horses, and there’s lots to do. It’s a lovely place to be in the summer.”

Mark Bluman and Noortje VD Windheuvel. Photo© Andrew Ryback Photography

With her second-place position Thursday, Driscoll overtook the top spot on the CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus Leaderboard.

International competition resumes Friday with the $37,000 Groulx CSI2* Welcome Stake.

Final Results: $37,000 CSI2* Speed Classic

1. CHUCK BERRY 8: 2007 HANN gelding by Chacco Blue x Watzmann
OLIVIA CHOWDRY (USA), Atlas Equine Holdings LLC: 0/61.40

2. MAGNOLIA: 2012 KWPN mare by Mylord Carthago x Van Gogh
CATHLEEN DRISCOLL (USA), Plain Bay Sales: 0/62.94

3. NOORTJE VD WINDHEUVEL: 2013 BWP mare by Farfelu De Muze x Kannan
MARK BLUMAN (COL), Over The Top Stables LLC: 0/64.05

4. SEMPA FIDELIS: 2009 HANN mare by Stakkato Gold x Concetto Famos
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/64.95

5. COCOLINA: 2011 OS mare by Conthargos x Papillon Rouge
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 65.51

6. CASALL: 2005 HOLST gelding by Casall x Capitol I
ALI WOLFF (USA), Blacklick Bend Farm: 0/65.99

7. CENTANA: 2011 OS mare by Centadel x Contender
ELENA HAAS (USA), Elena Haas: 0/67.58

8. KIRSCHWASSER SCF: 2010 BWP gelding by Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve
FREDDIE VAZQUEZ (PUR), Freddie Vazquez: 0/68.54

9. GAZELLE ES: 2011 KWPN mare by Diarado x Ukato
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Windsor Show Stables: 0/68.80

10. CLIFF Z: 2008 ZANG gelding by Canturano x Quasimodo Z
MATTHEW BODDY (GBR), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/68.95

11. FOREVER ALVE: 2010 KWPN mare by Numero Uno x Berlin
EMMA CATHERINE REICHOW, Emma Catherine Reichow: 0/68.99

12. CARISSIMO 25: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cascadello x Clinton
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Georgy Maskrey-Segesman: 0/69.54


Didgereedoo Dominates 3’6” Performance Hunters

Kelsey Epperson and Didgereedoo VDL. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Didgereedoo VDL is leaving his mark on Traverse City this summer, claiming the championship in the 3’6” Performance Hunters to kick off GLEF IV. With Kelsey Epperson in the irons, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zavall VDL x Indoctro), owned by Lashier Properties, rode to two victories and two red rosettes in the competitive division, earning overall championship honors.

“This was my third year riding this horse so I know him pretty well now,” Epperson said of her relationship with Didgereedoo VDL. “I’m really grateful because the owner, Sharon Lashier, lets me ride him and show him as our program needs. It’s nice to spend as much time with him as I need to. It helps our bond together and makes showing so much fun. He’s my go-to horse and I’m always excited to ride him.”

Didgereedoo VDL’s jumper background not only sets him up for great success in the derby rings, it also helped make him the ideal ride for Epperson in the hunter ring. “He used to be a jumper so he’s fun for me because he’s not a kick ride,” she continued. “He likes to show a gallop and have a nice pace around the ring. You can let him take over and he just takes you to the jumps.”

While he is extremely business-like in the professional divisions early in the week, Didgereedoo VDL knows when it’s game time and he’s showing in a bigger class, such as a hunter derby. “I swear the horse knows the difference between the regular division and the derbies,” Epperson remarked. “When it’s a bigger class and he has to perform he’s a totally different horse. He’s on it, he’s always ready to win. We laugh at him during the week because he knows it’s not Sunday yet.”

During GLEF IV, Epperson will show Didgereedoo VDL in the Traverse City National Hunter Derby Sunday then aim the horse for the end of the season when the Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals take place.

“We’ve been coming to this horse show for a very long time,” Epperson recounted of her history at Flintfields Horse Park. “We come every year and stay every year which I love. We make this home. The horses love it here, it’s relaxing, and the footing is great. There are so many rings here and there’s so much to do. We love coming here; we don’t go anywhere else anymore.”

Reserve championship honors went to Greetings and Rachel Lindsey for Priya Alvarez.


Cathleen Driscoll Continues Winning Ways in $2,000 Glynn Way Sport Horses 1.40m Jumper 

Cathleen Driscoll and High Nitro. Photo© Andrew Ryback Photography

Continuing her flawless performance duringthe GLEF summer series, Cathleen Driscoll, of Elk Mills, MD, took the first win in the Turtle Creek Hotel and Casino International Ring on Thursday morning aboard Margaret Frank’s High Nitro.

“This horse only came to us at the end of the spring, so I’ve just been taking a few weeks to get to know him and get him into our program,” explained Driscoll. “He’s been absolutely fantastic this week as he’s really starting to step up and we are figuring him out.”

Driscoll certainly seems to have found the right buttons to press with the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Empire x Cobra), topping 14 double-clear efforts and beating the closest competitor by over two seconds when the duo stopped the clock in 33.680 seconds.

“He is actually quite fast and competitive in the show ring, so I’m having a lot of fun with him until his owner takes over the ride,” Driscoll added. “He is a big-moving horse so my plan was just to do one less stride through all of the turns. He’s also very good on the slice and I was able to take a few chances with that as well.”

McKayla Langmeier produced another top performance with Linda Langmeier’s Jiselle (Balou Du Rouet x Voltaire) for the runner-up position. The pair came second-best to Driscoll with a finishing double-clear time of 35.372 seconds. Elli Yeager and her own Illusion CL rounded out the top three as they cleared the timers fault free in 37.225 seconds.

Final Results: Glynn Way Sport Horses 1.40m Jumper

1. High Nitro / Cathleen Driscoll / Margaret Frank / 0/0/33.680
2. Jiselle / McKayla Langmeier / Linda Langmeier / 0/0/35.372
3. Balkana Du Tillard / Olivia Chowdry / Atlas Equine Holdings LLC / 0/0/35.374
4. Emerice / McKayla Langmeier / Rafferty Farm LLC / 0/0/35.604
5. Illusion CL / Elli Yeager / Elli Yeager / 0/0/37.225
6. Darquito / Audrey Schulze / Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC / 0/0/38.353
7. Toulayna / Kent Farrington / Kent Farrington LLC / 0/0/38.495
8. Ekarlus BH / Mavis Spencer / Ken Dickey / 0/0/39.396
9. Easy Girl / Vanessa Hood / Take Two LLC / 0/0/39.544
10. Oquido Van Het Eikehof / Giavanna Rinaldi / Ilan Ferder / 0/0/39.844
11. Heat Off The Night / Kaitlyn Williams / Kaitlyn Williams / 0/0/40.570
12. Costa Quick PS / Alejandro Leonardo Winkler / Alejandro Leonardo Winkler / 0/0/40.587