By: Kendall Bierer for Phelps Media Group
Emma Wujek and Ugaf win $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival II.
Traverse City, MI – July 11, 2015 – For 13-year-old Emma Wujek, the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic is a new challenge in her riding career. It is only her first year competing in the High Junior Jumper division, yet she is not letting experience hold her back. Saturday afternoon she clinched the victory during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Event with Ugaf in 43.75 seconds.
Keith Bollotte’s course proved challenging for the field of riders Saturday as he tested them with an oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination, an airy vertical-vertical double combination, liverpool, triple bar, and distances that demanded rideability. Six riders were able to master the opening track for the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, but none would post a double clean effort in the jump-off.
Kirstie Lynn Dobbs and Barilla were the first to return for the short track, but they pulled a rail at the second obstacle of the course, a white vertical set against the far end of the ring, finishing on the four faults to kick off the course and begin a trend. Wujek was next in to test the track, and although she had the fastest speed of the contenders, tripping the timers in 43.75 seconds, she incurred four faults at the liverpool, heading into the final line of the course.
Kirstie Lynn Dobbs and Barilla
“It was an interesting jump-off. The last line was where everyone had problems, really. You could do eight and then the two was steady. I had the rail over the liverpool, I just didn’t get him back fast enough,” Wujek commented.
With four riders following, it seemed as though defeat was in the winds for Wujek; however, each consecutive rider incurred eight faults or more. Wujek claimed the victory with her speedy four-fault effort.
Wujek has been riding Ugaf since the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. She has moved up the ranks with him, and is now gearing up for the 2015 North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Kentucky, which start next week.
“He is one of the coolest horses I have ever ridden. He is so reliable and so cool. He is really big-strided,” Wujek explained. “He is not the fastest horse, but he has one of the biggest strides I have ever ridden. He needs a legging ride. I need to use a lot of leg and hand connection to get him nice and clear. He is really a good boy.”
During the NAJYRC, Wujek will compete alongside friends Vivian Yowan and Daisy Farish. It will be her first year competing at the annual event, and she is going into it brimming with confidence and excitement. The 13-year-old is also aiming to qualify for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Finals at the CP National Horse Show this fall.
“I think it would be really cool to go to the Finals,” Wujek smiled. “It is only my first year jumping in the High Juniors, and I love it—It is so much fun to jump big. I want to keep doing this. I have a while left in my junior years since I ride as a 13-year-old. I feel like I want to just keep going in the jumpers, the hunters, and the equitation.”
Taylor Reid and Boucanier captured the third place finish as the fastest of the eight-fault efforts. She posted the time of 44.592 seconds, while Laurel McAllister and Cnut 4 followed in the fourth place with eight faults in 46.44 seconds. Ryan Genn and Zenith B concluded the classic in the fifth place position with eight jumping faults and two time faults, while Emma Sargent and No Fear rounded out the top six.
Although Vivian Yowan did not qualify for the jump-off Saturday afternoon, the 17-year-old was awarded the division’s championship for her rides throughout the week.
Emily Reder and Byolga won the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
During the $7,500 NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, 21-year-old Emily Reder and Byolga took the win in 38.201 seconds as the only double clear effort of the class. Although she did not have the fastest time of the three qualifiers, it was her clear round that would give her the win.
“She naturally likes to go fast so she really needs me to stay tall and help her over the jumps more than anything,” Reder said. “She is one of those that gets her eye on the jump and is going to it, so I don’t need to really worry about her backing off too much or anything. I just need to make sure to give her the ride so she doesn’t have a rail.”
That is precisely what Reder did. Under the tutelage of David Beisel, Reder was riding to win with a careful balance of speed and accuracy. She stayed careful from fence two to 12 at the opening of the course, aware of the risk in jumping two tall verticals. She stayed tidy back to the yellow oxer and then took a non-negotiable turn inside to the two-stride.
“She is so carful that I can run her into a two-stride and she is going to work her feet and get out of there,” Reder said of Byolga. “At home we work a lot on combinations. She doesn’t jump more than once a week—we do a lot of flat work to keep her strong and fresh, and when we do jump we focus on gymnastics to keep her feet working and careful.”
Reder is currently studying Finance and Sales at Baylor University, juggling the schoolwork and riding schedule to the best of her abilities so she can continue pursuing her passion of riding.
“Monday through Thursday I am at school, and Friday through Sunday I am up here showing on the weekend,” Reder smiled. “I love riding and competing. It is something that I hope to be able to do for the rest of my life.”
Dana Wille and Mach 5 finished in the second place with four faults in 36.677 seconds, while Cathy Rolfs and Coco Chanelle took the third palce award with four faults in 39.049 seconds. Rolfs was also awarded the divison’s championship tricolor for their efforts throughout the week.
Tomorrow the second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will conclude with the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan. For more information or to view schedules, please visit www.stadiumjumping.com orwww.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.