Traverse City, Mich. – June 27, 2021 – The Polk Family Ring concluded Sunday with the highly anticipated $5,000 Traverse City Derby, presented by the Karet Family, wrapping up the final week of competition at the Traverse City Spring Horse Show (TCS), presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. A total of 20 junior, amateur and professional riders took center stage to showcase their skills in the beautifully decorated derby ring. Three talented horse and rider combinations emerged victorious, with Tiffany Morrissey and Bon Ami, Kelsey Epperson and Honor Roll, and Morrissey and Eastwood laying down two beautiful rounds for podium finishes.
Joseph Carnicom designed a 10-obstacle course that displayed a flowing first round for the horse-and-rider combinations to show off their horses scope and stride. Several pairs found difficulty with the long lines, but Morrissey stepped up to the plate and laid down a fantastic first round, demonstrating the key elements judges look for in a classic hunter course. The handy round consisted of a long approach to the first oxer, which led to a short rollback turn to fences two and three where the partnerships were able to show off their handiness. The handy also brought forth a challenging obstacle, taking many horses by surprise with a hand gallop to fence four before taking a short turn to a trot jump.
Morrissey rode Bon Ami, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by AM Sport Horses South Inc., to top honors after impressing the judges in the first round with their flowing pace, eager expression and scope, earning them a score of 90 going into round two. The competitive pair are no strangers to the hunter derby ring, having placed in the top 10 the past two weeks of competition at TCS. The dynamic duo came into round two with their eyes set on the prize, and they dominated the handy round with their adjustability in step and beautiful form, helping them secure a second round score of 94 for a combined score of 184, which would lead them to victory.
Epperson took home second place aboard Honor Roll, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Margaret Pulte; this pair came into round two on top, having secured a first round score of a 91, just one point ahead of Morrissey and Bon Ami. Honor Roll shone a light on the epitome of classic hunter style with his open pace, eager expression and fantastic jump. The pair continued to excite the judges with their handiness and form, earning them a second round score of 92 and a combined score of 183, just one point behind Morrissey and Bon Ami.
Morrissey also rounded out the top three aboard Eastwood, the 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Fallen Oak Farm LLC, with a two-round score of 182, only two points behind the top two finishers. Eastwood has been a consistent contender in the hunter derbies at TCS, having placed second in last week’s derby. The pair was one of the first combinations to try their hand at the 10-obstacle course for round one, laying down a jaw-dropping course to help them secure an 89 going into round two. Morrissey and Eastwood were able to show off their handiness in round two, impressing the judges and helping them earn a second-round score of 93, keeping them in the top three.
Riders who have enrolled in the new Hunter Incentive Program have already begun their three-week qualifying period to be in contention for Hunter Derby Finals. Hunter Derby Finals will run concurrently with the 51st Anniversary of the American Gold Cup held during Traverse City Fall Horse Show III. The new incentive program has been put in place to highlight hunter athletes and their horses. Over $275K in guaranteed prize money is on the table, and horses who are not enrolled in the program are still eligible to compete for the prize money as long as they have competed for three weeks during the Traverse City Horse Shows.
The $5,000 Traverse City Derby, presented by the Karet Family marks the conclusion of the Traverse City Spring Horse Show, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. Competition will resume Wednesday, July 7, kicking off with Week I of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF).
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Tiffany Morrissey – $5,000 Traverse City Derby, presented by the Karet Family, winner
On her win:
“It’s a great day and I’m glad I got to show since it was pouring rain all day. It cleared up and we had a really nice class. It’s great, we’re here for June, July and August and we’re going to come back in September for the big money. We enjoy the weather and we’re happy to be here.”
On Bon Ami:
“He is a horse we’ve had in the barn for a couple of years. He does the Adult Hunter division with the girl who leases him [Hailey Berger] and I’m fortunate enough to get to [ride him in the derbies] here and there. He is going to continue to do the derby classes here and he will do the Adult Hunter division with Hailey. Then hopefully we will show him in September in some sort of incentive class and the big derby here.”
On the handy round:
“I went on my first one, Eastwood, and he has a little bit more age on him. He’s very handy and I knew the pressure was on with this one. I wanted to go inside after the high option vertical and that’s a hard jump on him, but he did it really well today.”
On participating in WCHR week:
“The big ring is always nice to show in here. The jumps are beautiful, the course was great today, it gave you options deepening on what kind of a horse you were riding so I think it was really well done, and of course, the atmosphere was nice with the little crowd that’s here. We look forward to more!”
$5,000 Traverse City Derby, presented by Karet Family
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total Score
1. Bon Ami / Tiffany Morrissey / AM Sport Horses South Inc / 90 / 94 | 184
2. Honor Roll / Kelsey Epperson / Margaret Pulte / 91 / 92 | 183
3. Eastwood / Tiffany Morrissey / Fallen Oak Farm LLC / 89 / 93 | 182
4. Didgereedoo VDL / Kelsey Epperson / Lashier Properties LLC / 84 / 88 | 172
5. Tulio / Kelsey Epperson / LTJ & Company LLC / 79 / 91 | 170
6. Counselor / Jacob Pope / Judgement Farms LLC / 79.5 / 89 | 168.5
7. Doctor’s Orders / Victoria Colvin / Brad Wolf / 90.5 / 76 | 166.5
8. Believe In Me / Natalie Grimaldi-Groulx / Natalie Grimaldi-Groulx / 78.5 / 87 | 165.5
9. MTM Bentley / David Biesel / Lori Taylor / 82 / 82 | 164
10. Ice Time / Martha Ingram / John & Stephanie Ingram LLC / 76 / 87 | 163
11. Aviator / Roger Turner / Denise Short / 80 / 80 | 160
12. Hide Away / Emily Anderson / Emily Anderson / 80 / 0 | 80