Traverse City, Michigan – July 24, 2021 – Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) competition continued Friday, July 23, during Week III of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOneAdvisors. With multiple MLSJ CSI5* and CSI2* classes on the roster in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, the day was packed with tough competition among the world-class competitors. In Friday’s featured event, the MLSJ $72,900 Premier Equestrian 1.50m Jump-Off CSI 5*, it was Sydney Shulman (ISR) aboard Villamoura who was crowned the victor and took home the lion’s share of the prize money.
A field of 37 horse-and-rider combinations entered the scenic arena in Traverse City to battle it out for their chance at a ticket to the jump-off round. The first round course, designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER), featured 16 obstacles including a tricky triple combination, a triple bar jump and many twists and turns around the arena. While the first six riders in the order rode clear, hinting at a larger jump-off lineup, there were just 13 fault-free efforts in the time-allowed and advanced to the final phase.
Once the shortened track was set, qualified horse-and-rider combinations returned to try their hand at the course that Petersen Jr. had designed. Third in the jump-off order, Shulman (ISR) and Villamoura, a 12-year-old Selle Francais mare owned by Jill Shulman, quickly jumped to the top of the leaderboard, tearing around the course’s sharp turns and technical combinations to finish in just 36.39 seconds.
Peter Leone (USA) and Donner, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Lionshare Farm, put in a solid effort shortly after and left all rails intact, but finished short of Shulman’s time in 38.89 seconds. Show jumping superstars Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS put in a clear effort shortly after, but were also unable to best Shulman’s time, finishing in 39.28 seconds.
Towards the end of the order, veteran show jumper Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) entered the ring aboard Dicas, a 12-year-old Rhinelander gelding owned by Gladewinds Partners LLC. The pair picked up the pace and flew carefully around the course, completing a fault-free effort as well in a time of 38.77 seconds to settle into second place. Cat Tyree and her own BEC Lorenzo, a 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, entered the arena next with their sights set on besting Shulman (ISR) and Villamoura’s time. The pair blazed around the track, taking out strides wherever they could and not misplacing a foot until they reached the final jump. Tyree and BEC Lorenzo tripped the timers with the fastest time of the jump-off at 36.34 seconds, but unfortunately knocked a rail at the course’s final fence. With Shulman’s fast and clear effort still unchallenged at the conclusion of the class, she took home the top prize of the day. Goldstein-Engle(USA) and Dicas finished in the second place position, while Leone and Donner claimed third place.
Shulman (ISR) was thrilled to add another victory to Villamoura’s long list of victories. While she had to add in many of the lines, she trusted that her mare’s quick speed on the ground and in the air would be good enough to stay at the top of the leaderboard. Now, Shulman is looking ahead to the Saturday’s $200,000 MLSJ Team Competition CSI5*, where she will join her A.I.M. teammates as they aim for the night’s winning honors.
Winners Circle – Sydney Shulman – MLSJ $72,900 Premier Equestrian 1.50m Jump-Off CSI5* First Place
On the class:
“When I walked the course I did not assume that there were going to be so many that jumped off, especially in the first half – horses just fly off this footing, including my own, so as the class went on I thought this was going to be a serious jump-off and that I’m really going to have a make a plan and try my best to stick to it. [Villamoura] won the winning round class last Sunday, so I was thinking that she would be maybe a little bit flat and a little less interested today, but I actually think she jumped better today then when she won last Sunday – she’s just such an amazing horse to be able to do that.”
On her partnership with Villamoura:
“I bought her when she was 6 turning 7. [Edward Levy], the French rider and Brianne Goutal found her for me – she is wonderful, I know her like the back of my hand. I get on her and it feels like an old shoe getting on her every time, we just know each other extremely well. I can ask crazy things of her – in the jump-off for example into the double combination, the last line and that was pretty bold and she’s game for it and just gives me her best effort every time.”
On the jump-off plan:
“Originally I wanted eight strides from one to two — Kristen Vanderveen did seven in front of me. I caught a good jump at one and she did a little bit of a buck and I chickened out a little bit and ended up doing nine, which was not my plan, but nine for her is still faster for her than some horses doing seven. Then I knew I had to play catch up a little, so I was quite quick over the sunflower. I opted to do the seven where some horses did six, again her stride is a little bit shorter, and doing one less stride is not always faster for her. And then I think I was on it from there. I took off to the plank, which not many horses can run at a plank like that – she’s just so brave and so careful. Then I did nine strides to the double which is very extreme and bold. Then eight home was a leave out which most people did and she’s very brave to any liverpool and any jump so I knew I could come at it on an angle – she jumped it great in eight so it worked out well.”
On being involved in MLSJ:
“Last week I had to go first in the team, we drew first randomly and it was a new horse that my other teammate, Ashley Bond, gave to me so I had only got to jump the horse one time before the class. I was a little nervous, but it worked out well. Now this week, I feel a little bit more confident going into the class. Cat Tyree, my other teammate, actually won musical chairs last night for the draw, it was wonderful, so we get to go last and see the class from two totally different perspectives, which is nice. The format is great, it was nice after COVID and not being able to have a big crowd involved. The atmosphere was amazing last week on Saturday, so we are really looking forward to that again. I think you just have to have a good strategy going into it and as the class goes on. When we walked the course last week, we had three options for our plan. We had to go first so we had to go with option one, which was the fastest.”
Final Results – MLSJ $72,900 Premier Equestrian CSI 5*
Place / Horse / Rider / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / R2 Time
1) Sydney Shulman (ISR) & Villamoura – 0 / 0 – 36.39
2) Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) & Dicas – 0 / 0 – 38.77
3) Peter Leone (USA) & Donner – 0 / 0 – 38.89
4) Elizabeth Madden (USA) & Breitling LS – 0 / 0 – 39.28
5) Schuyler Riley (USA) & Robin De Ponthual – 0 / 0 – 39.83
6) Andrew Bourns (IRL) & Sea Topblue – 0 / 0 – 42.53
7) Catherine Tyree (USA) & BEC Lorenzo – 0 / 4 – 36.34
8) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Prince Of Peace – 0 / 4 – 36.54
9) Kyle King (USA) & Elizabeth Kilham – 0 / 4 – 37.83
10) Amy Millar (CAN) & Truman – 0 / 4 – 39.53
11) Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) & Oak Grove’s Enkidu – 0 / 4 – 40.77
12) Juan Carlos Martin Del Campo (MEX) & Dimitri – 0 / 8 – 40.46
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photo: © Andrew Ryback Photography