Traverse City, Mich. – June 12, 2021 – Junior hunter riders took to the ring Saturday morning to vie for top honors and to try their hand at the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’6” Classic. Awarded to the competitor with the most points from both days of competition in the combined Hillside Farm Junior Hunter 3’6” division, Riley Hogan and G.Eleven were the dynamic pair who came out on top to be crowned Hillside Farm Junior Hunter 3’6” champion and claimed the top prize in the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’6” Classic.
Hunter, handy and classic courses were designed by Keith J Bollotte and helped showcase the true meaning of a hunter and handy round. The rounds included long approaches to the singles and allowed the horses to canter up through the lines and keep an open pace throughout the course. Hogan spoke highly of the courses and felt that they helped the riders showcase their talents and highlight their horse’s big steps and scope.
Hogan was first in the ring to try her hand at the 9-obstacle course aboard G. Eleven, the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Lucas Mejia Fanjul. After impressing the judges on day one of competition Friday with their open pace, eager expression, and beautiful form over the jumps, the duo secured two top place finishes in both over fences classes and second in the under saddle. Day two of the division resumed Saturday where Hogan set the pace in the first class, laying down a jaw-dropping round, and showcasing her horse’s giant stride and fantastic jump. During their handy round, Hogan demonstrated her horse’s talent in keeping an open pace and always being on his game when asked to take the handier options. The dynamic duo wrapped up the class with their final round in the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’6” Classic and did not disappoint the judges, securing a score of 86 resulting in a total score of 173, which would take them to the top of the leaderboard.
Second in the ring Saturday was Chloe Watrous riding the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding Exceptional owned by Joyride Eq LLC. Hoping to improve on their performances on Friday which earned top place finishes from the judges, Watrous and Exceptional continued to impress Saturday with their consistent pace, beautiful scope and excited expression, which would help them secure a first and second-place finish in the first two rounds followed by a second place finish in the $1,000 Junior 3’6″ Hunter Classic. In total, the pair garnered a total of 165 points, less than 10 points away from Hogan’s score in the classic and secured the reserve champion title.
Hunter competition will continue Sunday morning, June 13, with the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” division and ending the day with the highly anticipated $5,000 Traverse City Derby.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Riley Hogan – Hillside Farm Junior Hunter 3’6” Champion
On partnership with G. Eleven:
“He came to us on Tuesday. We were told that he was a hunter but I did not know much else about him. We did the Performance Hunter 3’3” on Wednesday and he was really good. So we decided that we would do the Junior Hunter 3’6” and see what he was going to do. He really has just tried his hardest the whole way through and never let me down. He has constantly been right where I need him and right with me the whole time.”
“I thought the courses today were very well built. You were able to get a good pace and keep going throughout the course. The lines rode nice, not too forward, not too slow. The single oxer was right in front of the judge, so I felt like it was a place where you could take a little pace and show off a little bit. He is really good with that because he is always right underneath me and is always game for anything. I thought the classic courses were both really smooth and you were able to keep a nice flow all the way through.”
On G. Eleven’s strong points:
“He was really good in the handy round. He has done a lot of Hunter Derby’s I believe, so he was really easy to take the inside turns and always kept going forward the whole way through.”
On Traverse City Horse Shows:
“I am really excited to be back in Michigan. A Lot of people are coming this year I think. The weather is just unbeatable and the footing has always been really good. It is just a fun place to show. The rings are back and the horse park is spacious. I really wouldn’t want to show anywhere else this summer.”