Team Plain Bay Triumphs at Inaugural World Wide Technology Team Jumper Challenge

On Saturday, a new event debuted at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by B&D Builders. The $10,000 World Wide Technology 1.10m Non-Pro Team Jumper Challenge took to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring in full force with four four-rider teams going for gold in a nations cup format class across two rounds with a drop score.

The challenge’s first win went to Team Plain Bay Farm. With all eyes on gold, the team left no room for error in the first round with no faults to carry forward. Heading into the second round, Team Plain Bay was tied with Team Our Day Farm who were also on a score of zero. Ultimately, Plain Bay prevailed, finishing the second round on just one rail.

The winning Team, Plain Bay Farm, consisted of Laurel Walker of Copper Canyon, TX, and Conajita, owned by Dorothy Cox; Dorothy Cox of Athens, TX, riding her own Blue Bella; Lori Bidwell of Lexington, KY, on Nim, owned by Five O’Clock Farm; and Breeze Kaye Phoenix, AZ, aboard Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg, owned by Plain Bay Sales.

“We really just wanted to have fun with it as four friends,” said team captain Dorothy Cox. “It was really exciting to get into a ring we don’t always compete in. We were able to let our horses open up and really enjoy it.”

The Plain Bay riders are no strangers to Flintfields Horse Park, with the whole team using the horse show as their summer base. “We come back year after year,” said teammate Laurel Walker. “For classes like this to be added makes it more special for the people and horses who don’t get to compete in these formats.”

Competing in a team format is a path less traveled for most in a predominately individual equestrian sport. When added to a competition setting, riders must step up their sportsmanship for team success. “You don’t often get to cheer on a teammate in this way or have someone there to make up for mistakes you made in the ring. It’s so much fun and made me really enjoy my time on a team,” said Breeze Kay.

Dorothy Cox and Blue Bella. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Plain Bay’s success came from a strategy of embracing each combinations’ differences. “Each of our horses are different,” said Lori Bidwell. “Coming into the class we worked out how each of us would go about the course and then as a team our coaches came together to make a plan.”

The Silver medal went to Clayton Martines, of Lafox, IL, and his own G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise; Ruth Mckee, of Saint Louis, MO, and Vendome Palordet, owned by Gateway Sporthorses LLC; Ella Smutzer, of Batavia, IL, and her own Shanaja; and Natalie Jayne, of Elgin, IL, with her own Carlo, representing Team Our Day. Bronze was awarded to Doris Neyra, of Surfside, FL, and her own Google; Noa Diener, of Indian Creek Village, FL, and Kalvo, owned by Addison Sengbusch; Hollin Sutherland, of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, and Berlina M Romagnolo Z, owned by Alexandra Crown; and Hannah Reed, of Pleasant Valley, IA, with Escobar De Kreisker, owned by Blue Hill Farm, LLC, representing Team East Wind.

The World Wide Technology 1.10m Non-Pro Team Jumper Challenge will take place every Saturday during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, culminating in the series final during GLEF VI.

For complete results, click here.

Nikko Ritter Rides to Redemption in $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix 

Nikko Ritter and Aquiles del Caribe Z. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

As competition carried into the weekend during the debut week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by B&D Builders, jumper riders geared up for the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix. The class was the first of multiple national-level grand prix throughout the popular summer circuit and drew a crowd to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring. After an exciting jump-off, Nikko Ritter (USA) donned the blue ribbon with the fastest fault-free effort in 34.85 seconds.

Ana Catalina Cruz’s (MEX) course for the first round tested 20 horse-and-rider combinations. It proved to be a challenge as only eight duos navigated a clear round effort. The difficulty level only increased as the pairings returned for the short course, with all but two entries encountering at least one obstacle down over the course as they raced to the win. Ritter, who has been knocking on the door of victory for weeks, found his footing and expertly navigated his way around on the Gladewinds Partners LLC’s 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding  Aquiles del Caribe Z (Action-Breaker x Gerlinus).

“I bought this horse as a seven-year-old and we sold him last winter to Margie [Engle], but she asked me if I wanted to ride him and it’s so great to be back with him,” he detailed. “He’s such a game horse; he is always eager and wants to go for it, so he’s a horse you can really challenge.”

For Ritter, the win was well-earned, and he was hungry for the win that escaped him earlier in the spring. 

“I did the national grand prix during the spring series and I lost by .02 seconds,” he laughed. “So, I just wanted to set a good enough time but also not go so ram that I messed up. He’s very direct to the fences which makes it easier, and he was my main horse for so long that it’s like putting a glove back on.”

Charlotte Jacobs (USA) dominated the remainder of the podium honors as she stole both the second and third-place titles with Edocenta and Thomascourt Ballypatrick respectively. Still close to three seconds off of Ritter’s blazing pace, Jacobs piloted North Star’s 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Dobel’s Cento) to the only other double-clear effort in a time of 37.21 seconds. As the fastest four-faulter, she rounded out the top three with North Star’s nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding with a quicker time of 35.11, but with a costly rail. 

Libbie Gordon and Carino Rise to the Occasion in Audra Jackson, EXIT Northern Shores Realty Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Division

Libby Gordon and Carino. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Amateur hunter competition continued in the venue’s GGT Footing Hunter Ring on Saturday morning. Against steep competition, Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC piloted the DE Show Stables’ entry Carino, to the tricolor ribbon in the Audra Jackson, EXIT Northern Shores Realty Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 division. 

After only riding the nine-year-old Westphalian (by Concilio) for the past week, Gordon quickly clicked with the gelding. He earned one first and two second-place ribbons throughout the division against steep competition.

“We are still getting to know each other but he’s a great hunter and just so much fun,” she admitted. “He definitely has the personality to be a hunter; he is honestly kind of full of himself but it makes him rise to the occasion and perform when you need him to.” 


For Gordon, the win was just one of the perks of showing in Traverse City, or as she would call it, her ‘favorite horse show’. As for Carino, she has high hopes for his future in the hunter ring but is reminding herself to enjoy each part of the process. 

“Our goals right now are just to keep improving and get better with each round,” she detailed. “He is younger so I just want to continue to improve on what we have achieved so far and to put our best foot out there in every class we go in.”

Hunter competition will kick into high gear on the final day of GLEF I as junior and amateur riders prepare for the $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby, presented by Makoto Farm and Walkenbach Equestrian. The action culminates in the $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Don Stewart Stables.