Traverse City, MI – July 5, 2014 – With the United States Navy’s Flight Demonstration squadron Blue Angels flying in the background during the $10,000 Great Lakes Golf Cars SHJOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, speed was the name of the game today at Horse Shows by the Bay.
And, after 10 of the 20 entries jumped clear in the first round, Kaely Tomeu and Fidalgo Van Het Leliehof flew to the fastest double-clear performance to capture their first SJHOF Classic victory together.
“I just got him. I don’t know him that well except that he’s perfect,” she said with a smile. “This is our second show, and the first time in the highs. He won the first day here in the high [section]. I could have won the next day, but I wanted to go off course!”
Tomeu went midway through the jump-off in the SJHOF Classic, and, while she posted the leading time, she admitted there were a few small bobbles as the two are still forging a relationship.
“The first round went pretty well,” she said. “It was smooth and easy, and he didn’t care about anything. In the jump-off, I tried to go for it really fast and got really hungry,” she explained. “I wanted to leave out way too many strides to the Cherry [vertical at fence 2], and I chipped really bad. I don’t know how he cleared it or even left the ground, but he did. Again, I got underneath the [second-to-last] flower jump, but he jumped it perfectly and was fast everywhere. He was amazing!”
Tomeu and Fidalgo Van Het Leliehof stopped the timers in 42.14 seconds for the blue ribbon. Erin Haas and Udo DV, the pacesetters in the class, held on for a well-deserved second, with a clear jump-off performance in 43.98 seconds.
Tomeu, 17, of Wellington, Florida, a student of Shane and Ali Sweetnam of Sweet Oak Farm, has high hopes for her new 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Nonstop–Bonita Van Het Leliehof) after this impressive start.
“Shane found him in Europe and thought he’d suit me perfectly,” said Tomeu. “And then I tried him, and he was absolutely perfect. I was the first person to ride him when he came to America, and he just cantered around the jumps with no problems.”
After their debut show the second week of Country Heir (Kentucky) in June in the Low Junior Jumpers, it was time to try the highs.
With three high classes and two blue ribbons, Tomeu is thrilled. “I’ve been riding my whole life and doing the highs since I was 14. He’s definitely the most amazing horse I’ve had so far.
“This win was exciting because I just found out I get to keep him for the year,” she added. “He was for sale when I first got him, so now that [win] proved that I get to keep him, so I’m extra happy!”
It’s hard to imagine that Imagination only arrived in the United States last month. While competing in just her third show and during her debut in the 3’3″ Junior Hunter section, the elegant black mare jumped to the championship and also claimed the Wrenwood Farm Grand Junior Hunter championship.
Owner/rider Jake Wasson, 16, of Tyler, Texas, is understandably excited about his new hunter and was thrilled with her performances. She earned 38 points for the grand title and also placed second in the Horseware Junior Hunter Classic under the watchful eye of trainer Peter Pletcher of PJP Farm.
“She’s 7 years old, and I just imported her from Germany during Country Heir Horse Show,” he said. “I’m really not sure of her breed; I don’t have her passport yet. This is the first horse I’ve imported, so I’m really excited to see how she does in the junior hunters.”
After watching her on a video, Wasson knew she was the horse he’d been waiting to find. “It was her jump, without a doubt,” he said. “It was when she could get deep and get long she could always jerk her knees up to her nose and be perfect.”
Following two competitions at 3′, including a reserve championship in the Pre-Greens, Imagination traveled to Michigan. “We decided to move her up to the 3’3″ this week because she has tremendous scope and was just getting bored,” he said. “It meant a lot to win here. It’s not only just me, but for the horse and seeing what kind of potential she has. It’s so exciting.”
It was deja vu for Martha Ingram during Horse Shows by the Bay Series I as she earned the Junior Hunter Classic victory for the third consecutive year. While she piloted Absolut for last year’s blue ribbon, this time it was Cayero who jumped to victory with scores of 81 and 84.
“I’ve had him for about three years. He was one of my first junior hunters, so I’ve gotten really to know him very well,” said Ingram, who trains with Tom Wright of Uphill Farm. “He’s my confidence ride.”
The pair also topped the 3’6″ Junior Hunter section with three blue ribbons. Although Cayero, 14, a Holsteiner gelding (Caretino–El-Acara) is a veteran in the show ring, Ingram said she doesn’t just sit and steer. “Most people probably don’t know that he’s really lazy,” she said smiling. “He’s a huge workout. You’re never not working when you’re riding him. He has a huge stride and an amazing jump, so it’s all worth it.”
Ingram, 17, of Nashville, Tennessee, also impressed the judges in the equitation classes this week, riding to top honors in the Pessoa/USEF Medal, the ASPCA Maclay and the WIHS Hunter Phase aboard Tenacious. Ingram is now qualified for the Medal Finals and is 1 point from qualifying for the Maclay Regionals.
“I’m very happy. I’ve gotten a lot more confident with my equitation rides,” she said. “So it’s been really fun to do and see how I’m progressing.”
The Ingram family also added more ribbons to their tack room banner as Stephanie collected accolades in the Low Adult Hunters and the Non-Pro Hunter Classic with Hush and Nevada, respectively. Her performances with Nevada were especially meaningful because Nevada belonged to their dear friend Bruce Duchossois, who lost his battle with cancer earlier in the week.
Other Featured Winners Today Included:
- Children’s Hunter, 12 and under, Championship, sponsored by Brawley Farms – Copperfield, owned by Fox Meadow Farm and Lindsey Buhl and ridden by Emma Wujek
- Children’s Hunter, 13 and over, Championship, sponsored by Sugar Run Farm – Dakota, owned by Rachael Herkowitz and ridden by Mary Otto
- Short Stirrup Hunter Classic, sponsored by The Thornell Family – First In Lie, owned by Pinecone Farm LLC and ridden by Lillie Parr
- NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic, sponsored by Sweet Oak Farm – Copperfield, owned by Fox Meadow Farm and Lindsey Buhl and ridden by Emma Wujek
Horse Shows by the Bay Fast Facts
Horse Shows by the Bay is a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Premier (AA) Hunter and Level 4 Jumper competition.
Series I: July 2-6
Series II: July 9-13 (USHJA/WCHR Member Event)
Series III: July 16-20 ($25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby)
Series IV: July 23-27 (HJAM Equitation Medal Finals)
Weekly Features Include:
$40,000 Grand Prix
$10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Prix
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
$1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program Stake Classes
TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter/Jumper Classes
Charity Fundraisers & Special Spectator Days
Featured events for Horse Shows by the Bay Series I – July 2-6:
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Walgreens –Sunday, July 6
$2,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 6
$2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 6
$7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 6
$40,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City – Sunday, July 6
Remaining special Exhibitor functions during Series I include: a weekend ice cream social sponsored by the Gochman Family; and the Morgan Stanley VIP/Sponsor Luncheon on Sunday during the Grand Prix.
Alex Rheinheimer, Show Manager (561) 723-6287
Julie Agar, Show Office/Entries (248) 892-6806
Ben Fairclough, Feed & Stabling (231) 267-3700
MSU College of Vet Medicine, Show Veterinarian (517) 214-9369
Tricia Booker, Media Relations (703) 431-7103
The 2014 Prize List and weekly Time Schedules are available online. For full show results, please visit www.horseshowing.com.
The Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival is located 10 miles east of downtown Traverse City, Michigan. Nearby tourist destinations include the famed Torch Lake Sandbar, which was recently named the clearest lake in the continental United States by Weather.com and the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which was voted by “Good Morning America” viewers as the Most Beautiful Place in America.
For daily updates and photos, please visit the Horse Shows by the Bay Facebook Page.
For high-resolution photographs, please email:[email protected].
For more information, schedules and directions, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.