Edited Press Release
Helios is on fire and the official team to beat after earning their second consecutive victory in the MLSJ Team Competition, this time at Traverse City Horse Shows in Traverse City, MI.
The three competing team members for Helios, Karl Cook (USA) riding Fecybelle for owner Signe Ostby, Mark Bluman (COL) on Over The Top Stables, LLC’s Noortje vd Windheuvel, and Simon McCarthy (IRL) in the irons of Rock Ridge Farms’ Gotcha had just one rail between them in round one. They sat in second place after round one, just behind Spy Coast Spies. After ending the second round in another dead heat with the Spies, the gloves were coming off between two Irishmen in the medal round.
As the medal-deciding jump-off got underway, it was Crusaders versus ShowPlus Northern Lights, then Helios versus leading team Spy Coast Spies. Jim Ifko (CAN) edged out Callie Schott (USA) for ShowPlus Northern Lights, securing them the bronze-medal spot on the podium.
In the gold medal matchup between McCarthy and Spies speedster Jordan Coyle (IRL), the competition took a turn. Coyle faced unfortunate elimination after a double refusal with Picador at the combination, which led McCarthy to alter his plan and do whatever he could to avoid elimination. He secured a clear round and the gold medal with Gotcha.
Spy Coast Spies finished in the silver-medal position while the ShowPlus Northern Lights secured bronze.
A Word From the Winners
“When he had the first stop I thought, ‘I have no idea what to do now.’ And then I looked up and the two boys, [Cook and Bluman] were sprinting down to me. Thank God they were because I didn’t know what to do. Then when he stopped the second time, I really didn’t know what to do. I’ve never been so nervous about not finishing and I’ve got one of the bravest horses here. It was incredible when we crossed the line and got the win for the two boys and for our teammates as well.“ ~ Simon McCarthy (IRL)
“We have a strong team. We have a good thing going on. We’re pretty strong and we are always cheering each other on, and it just feels great. From the beginning we said that the main goal was to win the overall and we’re putting a strong team in every event that we go to.“ ~ Mark Bluman (COL)
“Each one of us has a strong string of horses. We’re all very capable riders. And kind of because of that, we don’t want to let anyone down because we know we’re good enough. It pushes us to be better so that we’re not the weak one.“ ~ Karl Cook (USA)