Traverse City, Mich. – July 30, 2021 – Hunter competition continued at the 2021 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, Friday, July 30, marking the fourth consecutive week of top hunter and jumper sport at the Flintfields Horse Park. Junior athletes and their top mounts were highlighted Friday afternoon in the Polk Family Hunter Ring for the competitive Hillside Farm Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division. A strong field of horse-and-rider combinations made for stiff competition, but it was Sterling Malnik and Rockette who were crowned champion at the conclusion of the day, while Maya Rahaim and Tradewind rode away with the reserve champion title.
Malnik and Rockette took an undeniable lead in the division during Thursday’s competition, claiming all three blue ribbons that were offered up for grabs. The 13-year-old Warmblood mare’s scope and brilliance over each fence continuously impressed the judge, placing Malnik and Rockette at the front of the pack in both over fences classes. In the under saddle, Rockette strutted her way to a win, showing off her even pace and floating movement.
The 14-year-old rider and her flashy mare continued their winning ways Friday, picking up a win in the handy round after showcasing their adjustability through the winding track. Malnik and Rockette wrapped up the division with a third place in Friday’s second over fences class to claim the championship title. In addition, Rockette jumped to win the Junior Hunter 3’6” Classic with scores of 86 and 85. Together for two years, Malnik showed her appreciation for Rockette, noting that her positive attitude and natural ability make her a great partner.
Claiming the reserve championship tricolor in the Hillside Farm Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under was Rahaim and Carole Chase’s Tradewind. The 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding kicked off the division Thursday by placing in all three classes, including a third in the over fences and fourth in the undersaddle. Rahaim and Tradewind returned to the arena Friday with high ambitions, successfully jumping to top honors in the first over fences round and closing out the division with a fourth in the handy round to clinch the reserve championship.
Hunter competition during Week IV of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, will continue Saturday morning with the Amateur Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division taking center stage in the Polk Family Ring at 8:00 a.m., and the Adult Amateur Hunter Over 50 division taking place in Hunter Ring II. At 5:00 p.m. in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, hunter competition will come to a pinnacle with the $25,000 Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Sterling Malnik – Hillside Farm Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under champion
“My horse’s name is Rockette. She is 12 years old, I have had her for about two years now and I am absolutely in love with her. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for that horse. We moved up to the 3’6” this past year and it has been going great. She was out for a little bit and so she has been getting back into it for about two months, which is what she has been showing consecutively and I couldn’t be any happier with her!”
On the handy:
“Going into the handy, especially because it is 5 o’clock, it is getting late and there are shadows, we just really wanted to give her a nice confident ride getting into the ring. I picked up my canter, got her right in front of me and made sure I got my canter before anything else. Then she was incredible and I just made sure I got her eye on every single jump and she couldn’t have been any better and I was so happy with her.”
On her plans for the future with Rockette:
“We are going to keep showing her in the Large Junior 3’6” Hunter, do Indoors with her this year and just keep showing her and having a great time! A big thank you to my trainers and the whole Over The Hill Farm team for always helping me and doing everything you can for me and my horses – I really appreciate it.”
On showing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:
“This is my third time here. I was here for [the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival] last year and then I came back for the [Adequan/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East Coast]. Being back here feels so nice. The weather is absolutely incredible, they do a great job running the whole horse shows, especially since there are a lot more people here this year. I feel like they are doing a great job with all the rings going. I couldn’t be any happier to be here!”