Tess Von Hemel and Lisa Goldman-Smolen Earn Gold in Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Individual and Platinum Jumper Championships

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 7, 2021 – The fifth week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, continued Saturday, August 7, bringing show jumping athletes back to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring at the Flintfields Horse Park. The Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team / Platinum Jumper Championships continued with the 1.10-1.15m Child/Adult and 1.40-1.45m Platinum Individual Final events. In the end, it was Tess Von Hemel who donned the gold medal in the 1.10-1.15m Child/Adult Individual Final, while Lisa Goldman-Smolen took the top spot on the podium in the 1.40-1.45m Platinum Final.

Tess Von Hemel and Qlipper Des Forets VDL. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Children and adult competitors from Zone 5 & 6 took to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring to kick-off the day of competition. Immediately after watching Team USA take the silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the livestream, the rising talents were channeling the Olympic spirit as they aimed to navigate their way through a clear effort. After three consistent days of competition, Von Hemel, Landstrom and Gustein all finished Saturday morning on zero faults, forcing a jump-off for the gold medal honors. As the only rider to produce a double clear in a time of 35.117 seconds, the top spot on the podium was ultimately Von Hemel’s. Though Landstrom’s time was quicker, finishing in 30.233 seconds, she claimed the silver medal with her own Colina SN after finishing on four faults. Gustein and her own Espri rounded out the top three, taking home the bronze medal for their 15-fault finish in a time of 52.728 seconds.

Podium finishes for Tess Von Hemel, Taylor Landstrom and Emma Gustein. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Von Hemel was aboard Miami University’s Qlipper Des Forets VDL, a 17-year-old Selle Francais gelding donated from California for the school’s equestrian program. Von Hemel and ‘Qlipper’ have seen success over the last few years as the pair moved up to the High Adult Jumper division. This is not Von Hemel’s first time competing in the Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team/Platinum Jumper Championships, however, as she competed as a child rider with her previous children’s hunter mount.

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Sovereign. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The 1.40-1.45m Platinum Final competitors were next in the arena to contend for their respective medals. Goldman-Smolen led the way as the only rider to carry over zero faults from the previous two days of competition aboard her trusted mount Sovereign, owned by Barbara Disko. Entering as the final rider to tackle the course, the gold was hers for the taking as the competitors before her all suffered at least 8 faults on course. She galloped through the finish line leaving all of the rails intact, clinching the gold after a fault-free week. The only 8-fault finish was produced by Nick Novak and Classic Roc, owned by Nancy Whitehead, ultimately earning him the silver medal spot on the podium.

Podium finishes for Lisa Goldman-Smolen, Nick Novak and Michael Burnett. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

With five athletes tied for bronze on 12 faults, it was a nail-biting jump-off to see who would emerge alongside Novak and Goldman-Smolen. Coming down to a fight to the finish between Michael Burnett, Kyle Perkovich, Natalie Jayne, Liz Atkins and Ryan Sassmannhausen. Atkins, Jayne and Sassmannhausen all suffered faults on course, with Perkovich setting the stage on a zero-fault finish in 37.927 seconds. Rising to the challenge, Burnett and Windara Farms Inc.’s Luxus Liner LS crossed through the timers just over one-hundredth of a second quicker to earn the bronze medal.

The Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adult Zone 5/6 Jumper Championships will conclude Sunday, August 7, with the 1.20m-1.30m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adult Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship Individual Final. Show jumping competition during Week V of GLEF will come to a close Sunday with the $137,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3*.


Tess Von Hemel – 1.15m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adult Zone 5/6 Jumper Championship Individual Final winner

On winning the 1.15m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adult Zone 5/6 Jumper Championship Individual Final:
“It’s an amazing experience! I have really loved my time here in Traverse City and I absolutely cannot thank Miami University and Miami University’s Qlipper [Des Fortes VDL], the horse that I rode, enough for getting me to this point.”

On Qlipper Des Fortes VDL:
“Qlipper is one of Miami University’s horses and I started riding him a couple of years ago. We moved up to the High [Adult Jumpers] last year and he has just been amazing. He was donated to Miami University from California and he has really just changed my life.”

On her strategy for the jump-off:
“I know Qlipper and I are not the fastest pair, so I just wanted to go clear and stay competitive with the time and I think we really did that. I was really happy with how he was today!”

On competing in the Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adult Zone 5/6 Jumper Championships:
“I did this program many years ago when I was riding my Children’s Hunter and it was an amazing experience then. It’s really great to have the team experience and I had a great time. They did a fantastic job with the program here and it was a beautiful course and a beautiful day, so I really couldn’t ask for much more!”

On being at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:
“This is my first time [in Traverse City]. I am originally from Oklahoma, so this is really exciting! I moved to Ohio so it is a little bit closer now, but it is really cool to be here. I’d just like to thank my parents and my coach Heather Pinnick for everything she has done for me.”


1.10-1.15m Individual Final

1.40-1.45m Platinum Final