Traverse City, Michigan – July 09, 2021 – International show jumping competition continued Friday afternoon during Week 1 of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, with the $36,600 Keyser Welcome Stake CSI 3*. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) was the path finder in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring during the first round, setting the pace for the remainder of the class’ remaining 61 horse-and-rider combinations. At the conclusion of a competitive jump-off, it was Sweetnam aboard Sweet Oak Farm’s Ideal who blazed to the top of the leaderboard and remained unbeatable to take home the top prize.
Sweetnam (IRL) was aboard the 9-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, Ideal, to kick off the day’s feature class. Going up against 61 other top international show jumping athletes, the Irishman knew he would have to set a competitive pace with a faultless effort over the Catsy Cruz (MEX) and Jasen Shelley (USA) designed course to have a chance for the blue. The challenging 16-effort course had frequent rails in the first combination line that included a steady six-stride to a long one-stride. While some riders struggled with the tricky questions that the course presented, others took the opportunity to showcase their technical finesse and quick footspeed. Athletes including Karl Cook (USA), Jim Ifko (CAN), Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) and Margie Engle (USA) added their names to the jump-off list with clear efforts around the ring, presenting an exciting lineup for the second round that would follow. Of the 16 combinations that qualified for the jump-off round, 14 elected to return to vie for the class’ blue ribbon.
Sweetnam (IRL) was the first of 14 to re-enter the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring for the second round Cruz and Shelley fashioned, consisting of eight jumping efforts. With a tight rollback from fence two to three, and a long gallop to the final fence after a one-stride combination, the jump-off course required a technically accurate and speedy ride for those hoping to edge out the competition. Blazing around the course and leaving out strides wherever he could, Sweetnam tripped the timers in just 38.22 seconds to set the pace in the second round. Of the 13 remaining horse-and-rider combinations that elected to come back, only a few would come close to challenging Sweetnam and Ideal’s time.
Canadian rider Jim Ifko (CAN) and Un Diamant des Forets, a 13-year-old Selle Francais stallion owned by Eventyre Farms LTD, made a valiant effort around the course, jumping clear in a time of 39.03 seconds to finish in second place.
Katherine Dinan (USA) also made her best effort to catch Sweetnam’s time aboard Dougie Douglas, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Grand Road Partners LLC, but crossed the finish in 40.51 seconds, good enough for the third place ribbon in the large class. With no one able to catch Sweetnam (IRL) and Ideal’s lightning fast time, the Irishman took home the top honors of the day.
As last year’s CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus recipient, Sweetnam’s victory Friday allowed him to start earning valuable points toward the newest installment of the bonus, placing him on the leaderboard for a shot at taking it home again. Australia’s Katie Laurie (AUS) continues to sit in the top position with 42 points after consistent placings throughout the entire Traverse City Spring Horse Show series, while Canada’s Tiffany Foster (CAN) still holds her second place spot with 27 points.
Offering show jumping competitors the chance to accumulate points throughout the 12-week Traverse City Horse Shows series, the bonus is awarded to the athlete with the most points at the conclusion of the 2021 $230,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus is a highly sought-after prize among the field of international competitors that attend Traverse City Horse Shows.
Still to come at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, is the $137,000 Meijer Grand Prix CSI 3*, set to take place Sunday, July 11, in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring.
Winners Circle – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) – $36,600 Keyser Welcome Stake CSI 3* Winner
On his riding first in the large class:
“It worked out today! Normally there is someone quicker behind you, I always find. [Ideal] is a fast horse, and he was pretty quick in most places, especially to the last [fence] and it paid off.”
On his recent competitions with Ideal:
“He was great in [Wellington] Florida, we did a lot of places in the 1.50m [classes], and since then he also won a great class in Kentucky. He’s really finding his feet. He’s a really competitive horse and he seems to know when it’s game time because he really tries to deliver.”
On his jump-off round:
“I started off at a good pace. I think after I did the second line, I maybe could’ve done one [stride] less with him. Then I was quick over to the wall and I took a second to the yellow double and he jumped that great. He really likes to gallop so I knew I couldn’t let him down to the last [jump], and it worked out. He was good and I trusted that he would jump it.
On showing at Traverse City Horse Shows:
“It has started off great again this year! It’s a great show and they’ve done more improvements this year. Between the Major League Show Jumping coming next week and the American Gold Cup in September, I think they’re going to have some great classes here.”
Final Results – $36,600 Keyser Welcome Stake CSI 3*
1) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Ideal – 0 / 0 – 38.22
2) Jim Ifko (CAN) & Un Diamant Des Forets – 0 / 0 – 39.03
3) Katherine Dinan (USA) & Dougie Douglas – 0 / 0 – 40.51
4) Kristen Berian (USA) & Fantast Van Het Vinckenhof – 0 / 0 – 41.20
5) Tanimara Maria Macari Carrillo (MEX) & Feminka – 0 / 0 – 41.25
6) Lacey Gilbertson (USA) & Byzance Mail – 0 / 0 – 41.77
7) Karl Cook (USA) & Kalinka Van’t Zorgvliet – 0 / 0 – 42.94
8) Chris Ewanouski (USA) & Vagabon De La Vallee – 0 / 0 – 43.84
9) Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) & Chess – 0 / 0 – 44.39
10) Ashley Vogel (USA) & Bellissimo Z – 0 / 4 – 41.69
11) Georgina Bloomberg (USA) & Tulara Colmine – 0 / 4 – 42.43
12) Jonathon Millar (CAN) & Daveau – 0 / 4 – 43.61
Source: Press Release by Emma Miller / Phelps Media Group for Traverse City Horse Show
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography / Phelps Sports / Emma Miller