Fourteen-year-old Michelle Berry Wins FEI Debut at Desert Circuit 4

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Michelle Berry (USA) and Mecho Van’t Kiezelhof. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Edited Press Release

Fourteen-year-old Michelle Berry made her FEI debut a memorable one. On Thursday of Desert Circuit IV, she and Mecho Van’t Kiezelhof sped to an impressive win in the $10,000 Lost Lake Farm LLC CSI2* Two Phase, claiming top honors in her first-ever international appearance.

“I was definitely a little nervous coming into my first FEI event, and it was against some pretty big riders,” Berry remarked. “But today was supposed to be a nice warmup class. I wasn’t supposed to go too fast, turn up my turbo boost all the way, but I followed my trainer’s plan and it worked out really well so I was happy with that.”

Berry has been climbing the ranks as a young rider, taking victories in the $30,000 1.40m Open Classic against top professionals and moving right along into international divisions. Her trusty partner “Mike” is teaching her the ropes after successfully competing at the top levels with elite riders like Shane Sweetnam and Kaitlin Campbell.

“He’s a special horse to me,” Berry said of the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Echo Van’t Spieveld x Puccini). “I wouldn’t ever give him up for the world. He always knows how I’m feeling and he helps me when I’m down. When I’m not riding my best he knows how to cover up my mistakes and make it look good. He really knows what he’s doing; he’s a caretaker.

“I really love spending time with him,” she continued. “Just going and sitting in his stall—he really loves being all in your business. Anytime you’re opening a bag or brushing your boots off he always has to be a part of it. He has to see what you’re doing. He always pricks his ears up and is a big fan of cookies. He really loves his cookies.”

In second place was Skylar Wireman (USA) with Shayne Wireman’s D-Laloma. Kate Hovland (USA) aboard Cruz and Ali Ramsay (CAN) with Conrado 12 tied for third place on the exact same time.

Final Results: $10,000 Lost Lake Farm LLC CSI2* 1.40m Two Phase

1. MECHO VAN’T KIEZELHOF: 2012 BWP gelding by Echo Van’t Spieveld x Puccini
MICHELLE BERRY (USA), Professional Maintenance Systems: 0/0/27.54

2. D-LALOMA: 2008 KWPN mare by Colandro x Quidam De Revel
SKYLAR WIREMAN (USA), Shayne Wireman: 0/0/27.56

3. CRUZ: 2009 BWP gelding by Volstrups Casillas x Lorentin
KATE HOVLAND (USA), Kate Hovland: 0/0/28.40

3. CONRADO 12: 2013 ZANG gelding by Cardento x Diarado
ALI RAMSAY (CAN), Ramsay Equestrian LLC: 0/0/28.40

5. SUN WARRIOR: 2014 gelding by Flexible x Fasolt
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), Linda Starkman: 0/0/29.13

6. CITOKI: 2006 HOLST gelding by Catoki x Chambertin
SKYLAR WIREMAN (USA), Shayne Wireman: 0/0/29.20

7. CASALLANTUM: 2012 HOLST gelding by Casall x Quantum
SAVANNAH JENKINS (USA), Lavender Creek: 0/0/29.26

8. CHARDONNAY: 2011 WESTF mare by Comme Il Faut x Jus De Pomme
ROBERT BLANCHETTE (IRL), RTS LLC: 0/0/29.52

9. VALENTINO D’ELTE: 2009 SF gelding by Castronom Z De Hus x Windsor
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/30.92

10. ITALY HDH: 2013 KWPN gelding by Cream On Top x Numero Uno
CHANDLER MEADOWS (USA), Chandler Meadows: 0/0/30.95

11. CHICAGO: 2007 KWPN stallion by Cicero Z Van Paemel x Heartbreaker
TRACEY EPP (CAN), Tracey Epp: 0/0/32.61

12. CALIFORNIA SUNSHINE: 2013 DSP mare by Captain Z x Bollvorm’s Lauriston
SUSAN ARTES (USA), Alix Fargo: 0/0/32.93