Santiago Lambre Just Can’t Stop Winning in Traverse City

They call it the Tournament of Champions for a reason, and Santiago Lambre has certainly earned the title of champion throughout the first two weeks of the fall series in Traverse City. Saturday afternoon, he topped his fifth major class in two weeks aboard a fifth horse, winning the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix with Dingeman.

Santiago Lambre and Dingeman in their winning presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“Dingeman is a member of the family,” Lambre said. “I’ve had him since he was three years old, so 11 years together. We’ve done five-star grand prixs together. He’s a very good horse. He’s very competitive so I hope he keeps it up for a couple of more years.”

Lambre was the first of seven to navigate the Olaf Petersen, Jr., (GER)-designed track clear, meaning he came back first for the jump-off. That did not put him at a disadvantage, though, as he guided the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Nintender x Darnels) to a time of 35.512 seconds. With the pressure on, only three other pairs were able to jump double-clear, and none as fast as Lambre.

Alexandra Pielet and Hyperbolics. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Alexandra Peilet and Hyperbolics, owned by Co-Pielet, LLC, were the only pair to come close in 36.239 seconds, taking second. Third place went to Jonathon Miller and Isotropic Shadow, owned by Isotropic Networks, Inc., as they clocked in at 38.190 seconds.

When asked whether the winning streak adds or removes pressure, Lambre remarked, “When you start to win, you ride more relaxed. It takes away the pressure when you win two or three classes in a row. When you don’t win at all it adds more pressure, so you try to do more than you have to do. That affects the way the horses jump and they’re not jumping as well.”

Although the horse is a recent winner in CSI3* action, Dingeman’s place to shine this week was the National Grand Prix, as Lambre has a crop of younger horses that he’s aiming at the CSI3* level currently. With a steady long-term relationship, Lambre knew he could count on Dingeman to perform in Saturday’s class.

Jonathon Miller and Isotropic Shadow. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“The first three or four years he was in Europe,” Lambre said of the horse’s early career. “He came to the US and at 9 years old was jumping the five-stars. Now the last two years I tried to jump the three-star [level] and he’s been winning a lot. He’s always ready to jump if you need him.”

Aside from the 11-year partnership, the other factor separating Dingeman from the rest of the bunch is that he competes without shoes, and has been for about a year. “I was looking at the horses doing well in Europe without shoes,” Lambre shared. “I have a couple horses now going barefoot. He likes it; I think he jumps better without shoes.”

Lambre and other international athletes now focus their attention on Sunday’s $138,600 CSI3* Agero Grand Prix, where he will attempt his sixth big win in two weeks

Final Results: $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix

1. Dingeman / Santiago Lambre / Santiago Lambre / 0/0/35.512
2. Hyperbolics / Alexandra Pielet / Co-Pielet LLC / 0/0/36.239
3. Isotropic Shadow / Jonathon Millar / Isotropic Networks, Inc. / 0/0/38.190
4. Ennio de Lezellec / Hilary McNerney / Hilary McNerney / 0/0/40.970
5. Maestro van de Volkaert / Ty Simpson / Copperline Farm LLC / 0/4/38.116
6. Dez Ooktoff / Roberto Teran / Roberto Teran / 0/4/41.051
7. Lou Lou VLS / Vanessa Hood / Take Two LLC 0/RT
8. Van Halen / Roberto Teran / Rocking Basilisk Farm, LLC / 4/80.915
9. ERP van / Katia Manuel-Adams / Joan van Gorkum / 4/81.073
10. King van het Keizershof / Alex Granato / Kisma Equestrian, LLC / 4/82.703
11. BP Wakita / Roberto Teran / Trefoil Farm LLC / 4/82.912
12. Escada 298 / Caitlyn Connors / Caitlyn Connors LLC / 4/84.240


Riders Jump for Kevin in $5,000 Kevin Babington Benefit Classic

Owen Gajoch topped the podium in the $5,000 Kevin Babington Benefit Classic. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Juniors, amateurs, and professionals alike all shared a common goal Saturday morning of supporting Kevin Babington and his recovery after his tragic fall that took place almost exactly three years ago. A diverse field of athletes, covering a wide variety of age groups, from the United States and Kevin’s home nation of Ireland took to the $5,000 1.25m Kevin Babington Benefit Classic, with a track set by Olaf Petersen, Jr. In the jump-off format class, eight pairs jumped clear rounds, but it was amateur rider Owen Gajoch aboard Katmandu L who beat out professionals to stand atop the podium as the class came to a close.

Owen Gajoch and Katmandu L in their winning presentation, alongside Michelle Friend (left), Dr. Woodrow Friend (center), and Jeff Papows (right), Chairman and CEO of the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Jeff Papows, Chairman and CEO of the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament, watched the class unfold and stayed in close touch with Kevin as the action came to a head. “The interesting thing about this is that Kevin is still obsessively involved in the sport,” Papows remarked. “He was texting me through the whole class. It just warms my heart to do this in Kevin’s name and it’s so very important to him. I’m so grateful for all the riders. It’s fantastic for Kevin and for the sport.”

Owen Gajoch and Katmandu L. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Gajoch has thrived in the hunter and jumper rings all summer and winning this class was the cherry on top of an incredible season for the young amateur rider. “It’s just a great cause, and a great inspiration, and honor to be able to ride in this class,” he shared. “I was able to go out and ride my favorite horse I’ve ever sat on. I got very lucky at the last jump in the first round. I hit the rail really hard but it all worked out. Keep on fighting as hard as you can, Kevin, and being an inspiration to everyone around you.”

Coming just behind in second to Gajoch was Kelly Soleau-Millar aboard the Millar Equine Sales entry Favoriet U. “It’s a wonderful tribute and such a great cause to help Kevin,” Soleau-Millar commented. “I’ve known Kevin since I was very young and watched him through the ranks. I always aspired to be like him.I’ll do anything to support them. It was wonderful. I have to thank my horse; I did my best to go as fast as I could but knowing he helped me in the first round I had to be a little more cautious than normal. I’m so happy for [Owen].”

Kelly Soleau-Millar and Favoriet U. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In third place, aboard a just six-year-old was Lisa Goldman-Smolen, who has shown an incredible performance in the jumper ring over the past two weeks in Traverse City. With Adeline Rohrbach’s Shamroc, Goldman-Smolen captured the third quickest double-clear effort.

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Shamroc. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“Kevin has been a hero of mine since I was a little kid,” Goldman-Smolen remarked. “My first grand prix horse I was ever double clear on came from him. He used to come to our farm every year to do a clinic with us. He still texts me all the time. Anything I can do to honor and support him I will always do. It was awesome to go in there and jump double clear and jump the wall. It was fun.”

Final Results: $5,000 1.25m Kevin Babington Benefit Classic

1. Katmandu L / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch / 0/0/38.797
2. Favoriet U / Kelly Soleau-Millar / Millar Equine Sales LLC / 0/0/38.928
3. Shamroc / Lisa Goldman-Smolen / Adeline Rohrbach / 0/0/40.081
4. Bellissimo Z / Shane Sweetnam / Ashley Vogel / 0/0/42.409
5. My Lady Stakkata / Elizabeth Porath / Elizabeth Porath / 0/4/40.898
6. Rammstein / Jasmine Talley / Rocking Basilisk Farm LLC / 0/4/42.132
7. Pippa Blue / Samantha Gajoch / Michelle Gajoch / 0/10/54.679
8. Palano ABF / Taylor Flury / Aliboo Farm Inc. / 0/EL
9. Mufasa / Olivia Broder / Stellium Sport Horses LLC / 1/78.567
10. Cobolt / Olivia Sweetnam / Sweet Oak Farm / 4/73.473
11. Call Me Baloubet / Filippo Pignatti / Take The High Road LLC / 4/75.068
12. MWJ’s Dodicci / Dan Geaney / Sweet Oak Farm / 4/77.949

J’Adore Jumps to Victory in Audra Jackson, Exit Northern Shores Realty Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35

Early Saturday morning, Wyatt Bateman found himself in the winner’s circle aboard J’Adore as champion of the Audra Jackson, Exit Northern Shores Realty Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 division. After a successful week of showing all summer in Northern Michigan, the amateur rider finished off strong.

Wyatt Bateman and J’Adore. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

With his partner J’Adore, owned by Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC, Bateman took several over fences victories on his way to being named champion of the division. Their relationship has blossomed over the course of two years together in the hunter ring.

“I’ve been riding her for two years under the training of Team Rakowsky and Ivan Rakowsky,” Bateman said. “She did the derbies with Jacob Pope and Nick Haness, and she’s the most special horse I’ve ever sat on.”

When asked what makes her so special, he replied, “The fact that we call her ‘big momma’ and she loves to be spicy make her really stand out when she goes in there. She jumps a 10 every time and really gives me her all.”

As part of Team Rakowsky, which bases out of Flintfields Horse Park for the season, Bateman has spent all summer up north. “We come to Traverse City for June through September, and it’s my favorite place,” he said. “I can’t imagine spending my summers anywhere else. This was her last week of showing, but I’m looking forward to a good fall and winter season.”

Now that they’ve accomplished big things, the plan is to continue fine-tuning their relationship. “Going forward my goals are to continue our partnership and continue getting to know her,” Bateman concluded. “I’m also working on rideability and going in and producing solid and consistent rounds.”

Reserve championship honors went to Kendall Meijer aboard Elliot, owned by Copper Fox LLC.

Sunday hunter action includes the $15,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby – the final hunter derby before the prestigious Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals taking place during the American Gold Cup.

Easy Jumper Jumps Easily to First in Gordon Family Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic

Katherine Pugliese took the top two spots in the $10,000 Gordon Family Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic Saturday afternoon with her reliable partners Easy Jumper and Heineken. Taking the lead with Heineken, she returned aboard Easy Jumper and beat her own time, taking first and second. Kelly Arani and Ice, owned by Marigot Bay Farm LLC, claimed third.

Katherine Pugliese and Easy Jumper. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I’ve had him for about two years and he’s the most phenomenal horse,” Pugliese said of Easy Jumper, or “EJ” for short. “He’s super competitive; he shows up every day wanting to win. I got him when I was moving up to the Low Junior [Jumpers] and we got to grow together. I am really lucky that he’s such a great teacher and partner. A lot of horses are teachers or winners, and I’m lucky enough to have both in him.”

Pugliese has aspirations to compete at the FEI North American Youth Championships in the junior or young rider categories, as well as to compete on other teams throughout the year.

Training with Kimberly Prince, this week’s victory means a little more to Pugliese and her team.

Katherine Pugliese and Easy Jumper. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“It’s a special show,” Pugliese added. “Especially with the Jump for Kevin classes and the foundation aspect that gives aid to riders who get hurt doing the sport. [Kim] is watching all the videos and we all get to talk to her after our rounds. We all miss her and it’s going to be exciting when she’s back.”

Pugliese’s versatility was put to the test in today’s classic for the young rider with her two mounts. “They’re two very different horses,” Pugliese continued. “EJ is much quicker off the ground and [Heineken] is much more powerful. With EJ it’s all about the smoothest I can be. The calmer I can keep my mind the better it is for him. My plan going in was to stay calm and stay with his rhythm.”

About Traverse City Horse Shows, she remarked, “It’s the most amazing show. All the trails you can take are phenomenal, the footing is great, the horses love it here, and the atmosphere is awesome. Their jumps are always so much fun; you always get good pictures. The staff here is great and it’s my favorite show.”

Final Results: $10,000 Gordon Family Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic

1. Easy Jumper / Katherine Pugliese / Katherine Pugliese / 0/0/39.441
2. Heineken / Katherine Pugliese / Katherine Pugliese / 0/0/40.092
3. Ice / Kelly Arani / Marigot Bay Farm LLC / 0/0/42.152
4. Lyon / Olivia Sweetnam / Castlewood Farm Inc. / 0/0/42.663
5. HDB Quality / Olivia Sweetnma / Sweet Oak Farm / 0/4/39.801
6. Cinna HP / Brian Shook / Oakvale Ventures LLC / 0/4/40.842
7. Walter White / Teddi Pritzker / Evergreen Stables LLC / 0/4/43.992
8. Jocko / Charlise Casas / Kent Farrington LLC / 0/4/46.627
9. Karina R / Gigi Spragg / Gigi Spragg / 0/7/55.045
10. Copin’s Boy / Emmanuelle Greenberg / Pumpkins Patch Farms II Inc / 1/78.321
11. H&M Carat Desire / Diana Patterson / Blue Trim LLC / 4/73.501
12. Qutaira / Paige Matthies / Barbara Smith / 4/73.890