Edited Press Release
Geoffrey Hesslink scored an emotional win Sunday morning in the $10,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby, presented by Alltech. Aboard the stunning Trademark, owned by Shadowfax Equestrian, LLC, Hesslink and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Balou Du Rouet bookended their week at Traverse City Spring III with a championship in the USHJA 3’ Hunters and a win in the Derby, besting 46 entries.
“It’s been a very emotional rollercoaster with this horse,” Hesslink remarked. “This was my number one horse for most of the year last year and he had a freak accident in Kentucky last year, getting cast in his stall and ended up having surgery. It’s been a very long and emotional process to bring him back but we’re so grateful he’s even able to be ridden, let alone compete again. I’m so thankful to every vet, person, owner that helped me and him get to that point.
Hesslink’s first round score of 96 propelled them to the top of the leaderboard, taking all four high options and showing off the flashy gelding’s scope and style. Not missing a beat, the pair returned for the handy round and executed neat turns and beautiful jumping efforts, taking the high score in round two of 94 for an overall 190 and the win.
“He’s extremely light and agile and turns on a dime so the handy rounds are his specialty,” Hesslink continued. “I just tried to not get in his way and make some neat turns and let him jump the way he jumps.”
The entire team behind Trademark is thrilled to have the horse back and in top form. “He is the sweetest, most genuine horse I’ve ever had,” Hesslink said. “He’s like a puppy dog and has the best personality. I just love him with all my heart. I couldn’t say enough good things about him.”
Jacob Pope held onto his second highest first round score of 92, securing second place at the close of the class with J’Adore, owned by Team Rakowsky Equestrian, LLC, on a total score of 185.5. Scores of 90 and 91 put Pope’s second mount Ziggy Stardust, owned by Opening Bell Sporthorses LLC, into third place.