Traverse City, Mich. – Sept. 4, 2020 – For the first time in its history, the American Gold Cup, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, welcomed hunter competitors to the showgrounds. Celebrating its 50th anniversary and its debut in Traverse City, the historically jumpers-only event has ushered in a new era of equestrian sport for the prestigious competition, and a number of well-performing horse-and-rider partnerships came out on top as the inaugural champions. In the Green Conformation Hunters, Greg Crolick directed Renaud Farm LLC’s Kuore to the horse’s third championship at Flintfields Horse Park this season, and Madeline Schaefer’s In The Know carried sister Samantha Schaefer to the overall first prize in the Green 3’9”/High Performance Hunters. With three blue ribbons to their name, Kate Conover and Heaven’s Dream, owned by Isabella Griffin, captured the top honors in the Green 3’6” Hunters.
During the first day of riding Wednesday for the Green Conformation Hunters, Crolick and Kuore started strong to emerge as the frontrunners with victories in the model and handy round, in addition to a third-place finish over fences. Thursday saw the latter half of competition, with ribbons in the two over fences rounds and the under saddle up for grabs. Maintaining their momentum, Crolick and Kuore added three more top results to their collection, starting with first place and third place in the final jumping classes. To conclude the division, the duo hacked to fourth position in the flat class, which would ultimately solidify them as the tricolor victors in the division rankings. Thursday’s championship was not the first for Kuore during the Traverse City season, as the horse has carried Crolick to the top honors in the Wrenwood Farm Green Conformation Hunters already during Week Two and Week Four, both World Championship Hunter Rider weeks, of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.
Abbygale Funk piloted Asteri, owned by MMK Equestrian LLC, to the overall reserve title in the division. The pair turned in a series of strong performances Wednesday to finish the day with a first place over fences and two second-place spots in the handy and in the model. They continued their proper showings Thursday with three more top-three finishes to help them capture the runner-up honors.
Immediately following, the Green 3’9”/High Performance Hunter division saw its field of entries contend the course around the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring before wrapping up the competition with the under saddle class. Always a formidable challenger, In The Know accrued another championship with Schaefer in the irons. The partnership earned top-five ribbons in the handy and over fences Wednesday, led by their winning result over fences, and continued to rack up top results Thursday. The second half of the division saw the combination finish the day with placings of first, second and fourth, which put them at the top of the overall scorecard. Hallie Grimes jockeyed Exclusive, owned by Isalou Inc., to the reserve championship. The pair’s shining result came when they were awarded first prize in the handy.
The Green 3’6” Hunters pitted a talented pack of horse-and-rider teams against each other, and at the end it was the ladies of Shadow Ridge Farm who came out on top with the championship and reserve championship titles. Ridden by Conover, Heaven’s Dream nabbed the overall distinction following a first-place finish and fourth-place result Wednesday, combined with Thursday’s placings of first, first and third. With more than half of the division’s classes in the bag, Conover and Heaven’s Dream rode a straight path to the top of the leaderboard. Schaefer notched another tricolor in her belt with the reserve championship on Take 3 LLC’s Trademark. Schaefer and Trademark shone the brightest under saddle and over fences with two first-place awards, and added to their success with second-place, fourth-place and fifth-place ribbons.
Hunter horses and riders will continue to ride in Traverse City throughout the weekend. The grand finale will take place in the form of the $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Greg Crolick – Green Conformation Hunter champion
“Kuore is a lovely horse, I’ve had him for two years, he’s 9 years old. We had a great circuit up here in July. I rode him for two weeks and he was wonderful up here. We jumped in the derbies and he’s a really nice horse coming into his own.”
On his success at Traverse City Horse Shows:
“We had a great summer up here for three weeks. The horses were quite lovely, they were grand champions each week and the first years, the Green Conformation, and the pinnacle of the whole thing was doing the International Derby and also the national derbies. They all rode really quite well and we had a lot of fun.”
On hunters being added at the American Gold Cup:
“I think it’s quite exciting. I wish there were always horse shows in September in Michigan. We’re only three hours south, so I think it’s great there is a horse show here to get ourselves ready for what would have been indoors, and now for Capital Challenge. I think it’s lovely they added it.”