Schuyler Riley (USA) and Robin De Ponthual ran away with the victory in Sunday’s $73,800 Traverse City CSI2* Grand Prix to wrap up the third week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Riley and Katherine Gallagher’s 17-year-old Selle Français gelding (Elf D’Or x Calypso D’Herbiers) set the pace to beat early and could not be caught.
An international field of 34 came forward in Sunday’s class to test Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) first-round course. The field was whittled down to nine clear round efforts, with seven U.S. riders and one from Canada. Riley, second to jump off, omitted strides nearly everywhere she could on the short track, racing to a time of 34.91 seconds and leaving the remaining seven pairs to try and catch her.
“Robin has a massive stride and the jump-off suited his stride,” Riley said of her top mount. “We walked specific numbers. I was on my plan until the vertical [at the second to last] and did one extra. Then I saw one less to the last. So the math all worked out in my favor!
“He always had the talent,” she continued about Robin De Ponthual, a horse she’s had the ride on for several years. “He is a very sensitive animal and it took about a year and a half for us to really bond. Since we’ve bonded he will turn himself inside out for me. I trust him completely and he is amazing.”
Just behind Riley in second place by less than two-tenths of a second was Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Akuna Mattata, owned by Silver Raven Farms. Fantasy BB and Jonathan McCrea (USA), with the ride for Windsor Show Stables, rounded out the top three in 37.45 seconds.
“We used this week as a prep for the five-star because it’s two weeks out,” Riley said of her plan for Robin De Ponthual. “As an older horse, even though he’s super talented and scopey, it’s nice for them to have a week where they don’t have to bust their butts all the time. It keeps them sounder in the long run. He’s an amazing creature. I’m so lucky to have him.”
With one week remaining before CSI5* competition resumes at the Flintfields Horse Park, Robin De Ponthual will get the following week off to flat and recover to face even bigger tracks in the coming weeks, hoping for a top result in the CSI5* Major League Show Jumping Grand Prix.
Riley’s arrival in Traverse City was delayed this season due to moving from her farm in New Jersey, but the season is off to a winning start. “It’s amazing,” she echoed. “I love it here. Between moving boxes and unpacking and repacking, I’m just happy to be at a horse show.”
Margie Engle (USA) still tops the CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider leaderboard with 47 points, and Cathleen Driscoll (USA) sits closely behind in second with 44 points.
Final Results: $73,800 Traverse City CSI2* Grand Prix
1. ROBIN DE PONTHUAL: 2005 SF gelding by Elf D’Or x Calypso D’Herbiers
SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), Katherine Gallagher: 0/0/34.91
2. AKUNA MATTATA: 2008 AHHA mare by Quinar Z x Landwind II
NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON (USA), Silver Raven Farms: 0/0/35.06
3. FANTASY BB: 2010 KWPN mare by Cardento x Labor’s VDL Indorado
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Windsor Show Stables: 0/0/37.45
4. MA POMME DE TAMERVILLE: 2012 BWP mare by Deauville Van T&L x Contendro II
ANNA WILKS (CAN), IN Showjumpers: 0/0/37.87
5. MAESTRO VAN HET BINNENVELD: 2012 BWP stallion by Hunter’s Scendix x Conan Z
WESLEY NEWLANDS (CAN), Weslands Farm: 0/4/37.61
6. CASALLVANO: 2009 HOLST gelding by Casall x Gestion Silvano N
EVA FISHERMAN (USA), Eva Fisherman: 0/4/37.90
7. MAESTRO VICA V/D ARK: 2012 BWP stallion by Lordanos x Heartbreaker
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 0/8/35.40
8. ISAAC 22: 2008 BWP gelding by Nonstop x Darco
VICTORIA KETCHUM (USA), Copperline Farm LLC: 0/8/39.74
9. GIOLITA: 2011 KWPN mare by C-Ingmar x Padinus
EMMA SARGENT (USA), Emma Sargent: 0/WD
10. CARISSIMO 25: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cascadello x Clinton
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Georgy Maskrey-Segesman: 2/78.30
11. SONIC BOOM: 2012 SWB gelding by Seacoast Wonderful
HAILEY ROYCE (USA), Double Clear LLC: 4/71.51
12. CHUCK BERRY 8: 2007 HANN gelding by Chacco Blue x Watzmann
OLIVIA CHOWDRY (USA), Atlas Equine Holdings LLC: 4/71.83
Learning from the Masters: Crolick and Student Rahaim Top $5,000 Traverse City Hunter Derbies
Tarumianz Tops $2,500 Pinecone Shavings 2’6 Non-Pro Hunter Derby
As the final raindrop cleared on Sunday morning, competition in the Main Hunter Ring kicked off and fifty top hunter athletes took part in the $5,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby and $5,000 Non Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby. The two victors hailed from the same barn; Greg Crolick, head trainer at Greg Crolick Stables in Clarkston, MI, took top honors in the professional section with Calisto, while his student Maya Rahaim claimed the non-pro section with Kuore.
With top junior and amateur athletes putting forth their best efforts to advance to the handy round of the $5,000 Traverse City Non-Pro Hunter Derby, Maya Rahaim of Grosse Pointe, MI, rode to a top score with Renaud Farm, LLC’s mount Kuore. The pair combined a first-round score of 91 with a score of 88 in the handy phase to take the lead with a total of 179.
“I just started showing him this week so I was excited to get in the ring and do as much as I could,” said Rahaim. “I’m overjoyed and so thankful for everyone that made today happen.”
Rahaim has taken over the ride on the 10-year-old Polish Warmblood from trainer, Crolick, and has big goals for the future with the gelding. “I am aiming to show him in the 3’6” junior hunter division and then do a couple more national derbies before moving him into the international hunter derbies,” Rahaim confirmed.
The reserve placing was awarded to Carolyn Colter and MMK Equestrian LLC’s Fleetwood on a total score of 178. Olivia Pittenger rounded out the top three aboard her own Fernando HS with a two-round total of 177.
As the juniors and amateurs made way for the professionals, top hunter competitors went head-to-head for glory the $5,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby. Tying for the top spot in the first round then returning with the high score in the handy round was Crolick with Jon Cotton’s Calisto, a 10-year-old Selle Français gelding (Arko x Hurlevent). The pair rode to scores of 89 and 92 for a combined total of 181 and the win.
“We’ve had Calisto for about two and half years now,” Crolick said of his winning mount. “We’ve had a lot of great success with him. He’s turned into a lovely national derby horse. He qualified for the international derby finals in Kentucky. He’s come a lot further than we thought he would.”
Hillary Johnson placed second with Blue Monday, owned by Stephanie Battershall, receiving scores of 87 and 89 for a 176 overall score. Crolick followed behind in third with Cotton’s Zanziebar R Z on 85 and 90 scores for a combined 175.
“I walked the same course with my student, [Rahaim], who won the Non-Pro Derby today,” Crolick said of his plan. “We had some options of what to do and she decided not to do the really tricky options. These two horses I had, placing first and third, are seasoned, so I could challenge them a bit more and do inside turns and try to get them ready for next week’s international derby.”
“They’re great horses to begin with,” Crolick said of his stable bringing home two blue ribbons Sunday. “Great horses, great students, and great staff make a great team. They’re all good jumping horses. It comes down to a lot of hard work at home, a little jumping, a lot of flatwork, good gymnastics, and learning to come to the horse shows to lay down a good trip.”
With the win, Calisto also earned the title of Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.
The final class of the day in the GGT Footing Ring welcomed competitors to the $2,500 Pinecone Shavings 2’6 Non-Pro Hunter Derby. Elizabeth Tarumianz of Charlotte, NC, and her borrowed mount, Raf LLC’s Mahalo, set the unbeatable bar with a total score of 174 following both the classic and handy phases of competition.
“I’m so lucky to ride a really iconic horse that I actually borrowed for these two weeks from Kevin and Patty Foster of Rolling Acres Farm,” Tarumianz said. “My trainers at Shadow Ridge Farm are really close with the Fosters and I’ve known Patty since I was in the juniors and ponies. So when my horses weren’t able to make the trip, she very kindly loaned me Mahalo. Kevin usually shows him successfully in the adults but he’s recovering from knee surgery so the timing all worked out.”
“The handy was very fun,” Tarumianz said. “My horse was super experienced so I knew I could take all the risks in the handy. I would say the turn from jump one to two where I went inside was the most fun, and everything else just came right up. The trot jump is always a bit of a challenge for me but I just tried to keep it slow like the rest of the course and it all worked out.”
“It’s been wonderful,” Tarumianz said of her time in Traverse City. “My daughter, [Ella], brought her three ponies here so I’ve been going back and forth from the pony ring to the amateur ring. We’ve had a great time and we look forward to these shows every year. The focus is more on her right now because she’s got so many ponies and we’re getting ready for Pony Finals, but it’s so fun to share this with my daughter. My husband came this week to cheer us on too.”
Jeff Battershall claimed second place with Chester, scoring a total of 164, and Tori Wiesner placed third with Who Dat on a score of 162.
Final Results: $5,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby
1. Kuore / Maya Rahaim / Renaud Farm LLC / 91 + 88 = 179
2. Fleetwood / Carolyn Colter / MMK Equestrian LLC / 87 + 91 = 178
3. Fernando HS / Olivia Pittenger / Olivia Pittenger / 85 + 92 = 177
4. Undeniable / Emma Mills / Emma Mills / 87.5 + 86 = 173.5
5. Chicago / Ella Reinauer / Samantha Fitzgerald / 84 + 89 = 173
6. Apparently / Elliott Hodge / Elliott Hodge / 86 + 81 = 167
7. Catwalk / Maya Rahaim / Renaud Farm LLC / 80.5 + 86 = 166.5
8. Honor Roll / Margaret Pulte / Margaret Pulte / 82 + 80 = 162
9. Ethereal / Sophia Keoleian / Sophia Keoleian / 86 + 73 = 159
10. Highmark / Liston Johnson / Liston Johnson / 88 + 70 = 158
11. Gladwell / Riley Hogan / Donald Stewart / 86.5 + 48 = 134.5
12. Kingmaker / Cyndi Lewis / Cyndi Lewis / 81 + 44 = 125
Final Results: $5,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby
1. Calisto / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 89 + 92 = 181
2. Blue Monday / Hillary Johnson / Stephanie Battershall / 87 + 89 = 176
3. Zanziebar R Z / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 85 + 90 = 175
4. J’Adore / Jacob Pope / Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC / 86 + 87 = 173
5. Moonwalk / Hillary Johnson / Copper Fox LLC / 86.5 + 85 = 171.5
6. Chicago / Ehrin Rittmueller / Christine Braeutigam / 81 + 89 = 170
7. True That / Megan Ghere / Donald Stewart / 84 + 85 = 169
8. Majesty / Dana Wille / Dana Wille / 80 + 85 = 165
9. Nantucket / Meagan Murray-Tenuta / Clear 4 Takeoff LLC / 72 + 85 = 157
10. Don’t Forget / Erica Quinn / Andrea Sandman / 89 + 64 = 153
11. All That / Erica Quinn / Ariya Nathu / 69 + 69 = 138
12. Eloquent / Mary Lhotan / Alicia Mitchell / 71 + 64 = 135