Traverse City, Michigan, USA – August 14, 2021 – Show jumping competition during Week VI of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, culminated Saturday afternoon with the highlight event of the week, the $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI 3*. Twenty-eight athletes gathered at the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring to make a bid for the win, but in the end it was veteran partners Margie Engle (USA) and Royce who topped a nine-horse jump-off to lead the lap of honor. Irish athletes Cormac Hanley (IRL) with RMF Chacco Top and Paul O’Shea (IRL) riding Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu rounded out the top three, placing second and third respectively.
Course designer Alan Wade (IRL) tested athletes right off the bat during the week’s highlight event with a 13-obstacle track that featured a triple bar to a vertical-oxer double combination as the third and fourth questions, followed later by an oxer-oxer-vertical triple combination. The course finished with a careful plank to the last oxer, with only nine advancing to the tiebreaker. For the jump-off, athletes had to make a tight roll back to the last two fences in the triple combination. The plank fence was changed to a standard pole for the jump-off, but after the oxer in the line athletes had to make another tight rollback to a final bending line featuring two new fences before galloping through the timers.
Cormac Hanley (IRL) and RMF Chacco Top, a 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Rushy Marsh Farm, were the pathfinders during the first round and repeated a clear effort during the jump-off. The speedy duo cleared the course in 37.53 seconds, forcing the other athletes to chase their time in order to move to the top of the leaderboard. Though Victoria Heurtematte (PAN) and Ali Wolff (USA) would try, they could not catch Hanley’s quick time to unseat him.
Paul O’Shea (IRL) was ready to take his fellow countryman’s lead with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding owned by the Machu Picchu Partners. Turning to the final line, it looked like they were right on pace with a clear round, but they stopped the clock just two-tenths of a second slower than Hanley in 37.72 seconds.
Engle knew she would have to be quick with Royce, a 17-year-old stallion owned by the Gladewinds Partners LLC. While she did not have a chance to watch the others go, she worked hard to stay inside their turns, taking a big risk back to the double combination knowing that Royce could easily stretch out over the oxer. Her next rollback left her hot on Hanley’s heels and as she galloped down the last line, leaving out a stride to the final fence to fly through the timers in 36.76 seconds and capture the victory, leaving Hanley in second place and O’Shea in third place.
Engle has been riding Royce for 11 years and is careful to pick and choose the right events for her long-time partner. While she flats him and trail rides him regularly, he only shows in 10-11 classes per year. It is a plan that is paying off with the stallion, who still bucks and plays every time he competes. Engle’s next stop will be the Angelstone International Show Jumping Tournament where she will compete with Dicas and Cesna M during the Major League Show Jumping events. Royce will compete again in Traverse City during the 2021 $230,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.
Prior to the day’s competition, the 2021 M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award was presented to Ireland’s Paul O’Shea (IRL) . Each year, this award is presented to an equestrian who displays an exemplary style of riding as well as sportsmanlike conduct in and out of the ring in the FEI Jumping Division – someone who exemplifies what it means to be a true role model for the industry. Known for his ability to produce world-class horses, O’Shea was ultimately awarded the trophy.
In addition to Saturday’s prize giving, CaptiveOne sponsored the inspirational “Clear for a Cause” campaign to benefit JustWorld International, a not-for-profit organization that transforms the lives of children in impoverished communities by funding education and nutrition programs. Money was donated every time both the JustWorld International and the CaptiveOne jumps were cleared throughout the six-week GLEF circuit. Thanks to the exceptional efforts by show jumping athletes, $15,000 was raised in total for the CaptiveOne Advisors “Clear for a Cause” campaign.
Margie Engle – $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI3*
“He’s the gift that keeps on giving. He’s just been a saint. As long as we pick and choose our places, he doesn’t show very often, but when he does he gives me 100% every time.”
On her jump-off:
“I didn’t see Cormac go all the way, but I did see the tracks of some of the other horses when I went. I tried to be a little bit inside from one to two. I wasn’t crazy fast there, but I caught the first one at a nice gallop. Then I took a real shot back on the double. He’s so scopey he did the oxer easy and then backed up fantastic inside the in-and-out for me. I caught a really nice one, then the five got really steady for me and he just came out of the turn to the last line and caught his eye on the last vertical and moved right up to it for me. When I did the leave out to the last jump I think he was kind of second guessing like, ‘Are you really going to leave from there?’ He thought maybe I should push to the deep one, but he just skyrocketed. He really felt great. He’s felt really good for a while now. He’s nice and fresh, he hasn’t done much. He’s still bucking and playing when I am landing, so it’s a good sign.”
On his schedule:
I try to average 10-11 classes for him per year. I didn’t do the jump-off class this week, I just did the timed first round to get him qualified, so we didn’t have to do the qualifier and do two days in a row. He’s had a little over a month not jumping. He still flats a lot, trail rides, a lot of walking. I think as they get older you have to keep them fit, just like as we age everything starts to seize up, so just keep everything moving. It’s going to be at least another month until he shows again. The American Gold Cup will probably be his next show. I figured I could school him or let him go in the ring and he was happy and fresh and happy to be in there. He was playful during both rounds.”
On her plans going forward:
“Next week we will try to go to Canada. Hopefully get through the borders and there are no problems, but we go to Anglestone. We go up there for the Major League Shows. I’ll take Dicas up there and a younger horse named Cessna. Then I will go to Saugerties and Royce will do the Gold Cup after that.”
Final Results – $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Margie Engle (USA) & Royce – 0 / 0 – 36.76
2) Cormac Hanley (IRL) & RMF Chacco Top – 0 / 0 – 37.53
3) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – 0 / 0 – 37.72
4) Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall – 0 / 0 – 38.84
5) Victoria Heurtematte (PAN) & Flying Dutchman – 0 / 0 – 40.90
6) Wilhelm Genn (GER) & Bugatti – 0 / 4 – 37.29
7) Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) & Calle Quinn – 0 / 8 – 38.76
8) Felipo Godinho Marcondes (BRA) & Guschenka – 0 / 75.13 – RET
9) Nicholas Dello Joio (USA ) & Chess – 1 / 80.41
10) Ali Ramsay (CAN) & Lutz – 1 / 81.06
11) Kendall Gath (USA) & Jamica van Kattebeek – 2 / 84.80
12) Rafael Torija Cervantes (MEX) & Pandora – 2 / 87.37
Source: Press Release by Allyson Lagiovane / Phelps Media Group for Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography