Traverse City, Mich. – July 26, 2019 – Week IV of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, returned to the picturesque Flintfields Horse Park with a series of new victors crowned in various hunter divisions. Winning more than half of the division’s classes, Peter Pletcher of PJP Farm in Magnolia Texas, and Calipso earned the tricolor in the Green 3’3” Hunters, while Ashley Vogel and Avignion were awarded the championship in the USHJA 2’6” Hunters.
No stranger to the winner’s circle at GLEF, Pletcher is a veteran competitor in Traverse City and has been victorious in numerous classes, divisions and derbies during his time at GLEF. Adding to his long list of accolades, the Texas-based rider-trainer navigated Johnnie Martin-Carey’s Calipso to the championship in the Green 3’3” Hunters following two days of riding. The partnership kicked off competition on a high note, winning one of the over fences classes to put them in prime position for the top spot headed into day two, and maintained momentum Thursday by placing first and second over fences as well as first place in the hack to secure the overall championship. Kelsey Epperson piloted Kelsey Spence’s Capote to the reserve championship.
In the USHJA 2’6” Hunters that began Wednesday, Vogel and her own Avignion rode to the head of the leaderboard as the early frontrunners, and then secured the championship Thursday with another top result. The duo commenced the division strongly with first-place and second-place finishes over fences, and then returned to the ring the following day to add to their success with another first-place result over fences, solidifying the combination as the champions in the USHJA 2’6” Hunter division. Bitsy Woods’ Bellagio QHF carried Ehrin Rittmueller to the overall reserve honors.
Week IV of the 2019 GLEF will continue throughout the weekend, with hunter highlights including the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox, on Saturday and the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Fig Street Marketing Group, on Sunday in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Peter Pletcher – Green 3’3” Hunter champion
“We just actually imported him about two months ago and he got out of quarantine, so this is actually his first horse show here [in the USA]. He was good. We had a little bit of a setback last week when it was windy because the tent flaps were blowing and he got a little spooked, so we did a little work on Monday, which is unusual, but he got back to normal. He was really good and straight-forward for it being his first horse show. I expected a few bumps here and there, but he got really, really good. He was super smooth around the course and, for the most part, he’s brave at the jumps. The whole reason we wanted to come here with him was that I knew GLEF had the [Green Hunter] Incentive classes. I needed two classes to go in and I did that here, and I want to do him next in the [Green Hunter Incentive] Finals.”
On the GLEF venue improvements:
“[They are] amazing. I think everything that has been done has made this place probably one of the best places to show now. The rings down below, it really was nice to have another huge place to ride horses and I think it’s been a really, really good thing for here. A little shorter days, this week has been nice.”
Ashley Vogel – USHJA 2’6” Hunter champion
“Avignion I’ve had for about four years now. She was my first 3’6” junior hunter [as I moved] up into the division and after a year ago at indoors in the fall, she was getting a little older and so my mom actually took her over to do some lessons and trail rides on her. She still just loves the show ring, so when I got here we just put her into the 2’6” and she was champion Week II, III, and then this week. When she goes into the show ring she perks right up and loves it. She jumps everything like it’s still at 3’6”, so she tries very hard.”
On the GLEF venue improvements:
“I love it. Down by the VanKampen and the Jumper Annex there was so much improvement. The rings look so much prettier and put together. The whole horse show, it’s a good horse show. I’ve been here for four weeks and it’s a good horse show to be here and showing, because you never really get sick of it and it’s just so much fun.”
For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.