Tessa Downey Dominates Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search 2* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors

Traverse City, Mich. – July 16, 2021 – Equitation competition at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CapitalOne Advisors, kicked off Friday morning with the EMO Insurance/USHJA Jumper Seat Medal and the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search 2* in the GGT Ring. Besting 15 of the country’s top junior riders in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* was Tessa Downey and Quite Cassini, while Riley Hogan and Wengen took home the win in the EMO/USHJA 3’3” Jumper Seat Medal.

The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* track, consisted of 14-efforts and included a one-stride, a triple combination and a tricky three-obstacle line across the middle of the ring. Riders then had the option to jump an open-water jump or a vertical for the final jump on the course. Following the jumping phase, 12 riders were invited back for the flat portion of the class, bidding them one final chance to make a positive impression on the judges. Downey and Ashland Farms’ Quite Cassini continued to wow the judges, ultimately nabbing the win at the conclusion of the two phases.

Augusta Iwasaki. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography. 

Augusta Iwasaki, trained by Ken and Emily Smith and the rest of the Ashland Farms team, was close behind Downey and Cassini and captured second place honors. She also laid down a beautiful round over fences and showed off her technique in the flat testing portion of the class. Rounding out the top three placings was Libby Gordon riding Ucatoni, who also trains with Ken and Emily Smith of the Ashland Farms team.

Libbie Gordon. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography. 

Preceding the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search 2* class, was the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal and welcomed 28 entries to compete over a 12-effort track. Besting the field of junior athletes was Hogan and Kate Preston’s Wengen, who trains with Donald Stewart and the Don Stewart Stables team. The pair had a smooth first round over fences which helped them grab the judges’ attention during the flat phase.

Riley Hogan. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Hogan has been on a roll this year in both the junior hunter divisions and equitation classes, winning numerous championships and top honors during the recent 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival season and Tryon Spring shows.

Riley Hogan. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Equitation concludes for Friday at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors with the Washington International Horse Show Jumper Phase. Saturday will feature equitation divisions for both adults and juniors in Hunter Ring II and the Van Kampen Ring.

From the Winner’s Circle

Tessa Downey – Winner of the Talent Search 2*

On her over fences round:
“The round started with a pretty exciting bending line going left to left and landing right after. Cassini has a humongous stride and is just so fun to ride. There was a one-stride to a one-stride to a five-stride line and I think both of us did a good job, me letting him know it was a slowing down five especially going towards the barn, and him responding to my aids.”

On Cassini and her future goals:
“His show name is Quite Cassini, we call him Cassini in the barn. I started riding him around the end of the [Winter Equestrian Festival] this year and he’s been nothing but perfect for me and for Ashland Farms. My goals are to be top 25 or 12 in all of the finals and try to systematically improve on how I did last year.”

On her strengths:
“One of the struggles and one of the strengths that I am trying to improve on is my core strength, so I’m working out outside of riding, to benefit riding.”

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