Traverse City, Michigan, USA – August 12, 2021 – The final week of six exciting weeks of competition during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, kicked off Thursday, August 12. A field of 48 decorated international horse-and-athlete pairs took to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring to vie for top honors in the highlight event of the afternoon, the $36,600 Hippo Data 1.45m CSI3*. Each duo set their sights on the win, but also on a qualifying spot in the conclusion to the summer series Saturday, the $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI3*. In the end, it was Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) capturing the top two spots with Caristina and Calle Quinn, respectively, while Martien van der Hoeven (USA) and Morris Horta rounded out the top three.
Ireland’s Alan Wade (IRL) set a technical track for the speed class, offering multiple options in related lines as well as several turnbacks where athletes could showcase their mount’s speed and adjustability to try and take home the top prize. The course featured 12 obstacles including a vertical-vertical double combination, a vertical-oxer double combination and finally an oxer-vertical double combination before a bending line to the final oxer going towards the gate.
Twelve combinations were able to navigate the course without fault. It was Margie Engle (USA) with her veteran partner Royce, owned by Gladwinds Partners LLC, who would be the pathfinders, setting the pace to beat at 64.66 seconds. Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) soon bested Engle’s time aboard Oak Grove’s Enkidu, owned by Gestüt Eichenhain GmbH, stopping the clock in a clear 63.95 seconds that would hold up forth place, while fellow Mexican athlete Gerardo Pasquel Mendez (MEX) would slide into fifth place aboard Francisco Pasquel’s El Conde with a clear round in 64.40 seconds.
Larrazabal (VEN) had his eye on the prize when he entered the ring with Caristina, an 11-year-old mare owned by Juan Carlos Morstadt. He knew the door was still open, and after leaving a stride out in the first line, he never let off the gas. He spun back quickly after the second combination to a careful vertical and took a risk to the final oxer, breaking the beam in 60.86 seconds to take over the top spot.
Martien van der Hoeven (USA) tried to catch Larrazabal (VEN) aboard Luccirelli International LLC’s Morris Horta, and while they were able to leave all the fences intact, their time of 63.18 seconds would leave them in third place at the conclusion of the class.
Despite his strong lead, Larrazabal (VEN) was not going to give the win away as he returned with his second mount Calle Quinn, a 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion owned by Ana and Hernando Holguin. Following the same path as he did with Caristina, Larrazabal was once again clear over every fence. He and Calle Quinn dashed through the timers in 61.17 seconds, which would be good enough for second and guarantee his victory with Caristina.
Larrazabal (VEN) originally began riding Caristina over a year ago, but after being sold to an amateur rider, he took the reins back over two months ago. They were successful right off the bat in Tryon, North Carolina with a win in a 1.45m CSI3* class. Their long partnership gave Larrazabal the confidence to take a chance during the evening’s highlight event and it paid off. Larrazabal (VEN) is already looking ahead to Saturday’s $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI3* where he will compete with Calle Quinn. He did not expect the talented young stallion to beat Caristina, but was thrilled with Calle Quinn’s performance and feels ready to challenge the leaders for Saturday’s victory.
Larrazabal’s top two finishes have earned him a total of 8 points toward the coveted CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus Leaderboard. It is Australia’s Katie Laurie who continues to maintain her strong leading position with a total of 42 points she garnered after consistent success during the three-week Traverse City Spring Horse Show series. After his win during GLEF VI’s $36,600 Winning Round CSI3*, as well as consistent top placings throughout the GLEF series thus far, Kyle King (USA) sits in the second place spot on a total of 38 points. Karl Cook (USA) holds the third place position on a total of 37 points after multiple grand prix wins during the Traverse City Spring Horse Show and GLEF. 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.
Show jumping competition during Week VI of GLEF will continue Friday, August 13, culminating in the highlight event of the week, the $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI3*, set to take place Saturday, August 14.
Winner’s Circle – Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) – $36,600 Hippo Data 1.45m CSI 3*
On finishing first and second:
“What can I say? Hard work pays off! I am so, so happy. My horses jumped so well – they gave it all in the ring. I am very happy. Caristina is a horse that I owned before and sold to a new owner. They did an awesome job, but she’s a little bit tough, so they gave her back to me to ride. I’ve been riding her for two months and I know her inside out. I’ve been working to bring her back to the international level and it paid off.”
On where he made up time:
“For sure one to two, those eight strides were really forward and you couldn’t think in that turn, you had to go on and believe that you had that number. Then I just kept that pace after jumping one to two, I just kept that pace and did all the turns and did my best. The horses are pretty fast, so it was my lucky day.”
On Calle Quinn:
“This was a class to prepare Calle Quinn for the grand prix. After I went with Caristina and I was winning, I said ‘Why not give it a try again?’ It was fun with the first one, so why not do the same thing with this one. He’s not as quick as the mare, but he tried and he got second place and I couldn’t be happier with him. Hopefully he will jump just great on Saturday.”
On competing at GLEF:
“This is my first time [at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival] and I am very happy to come because I’ve been trying to come for three years. It’s a beautiful place – the atmosphere, the footing is amazing, everyone here treats us so nice. There are so many good things for the riders – the Riders Lounge and the food, it’s so good. The weather is beautiful. I am very happy I came and it was my day today, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Final Results – $36,600 Hippo Data CSI 3*
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Time / Faults
1) Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) & Caristina – 0 / 60.86
2) Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) & Calle Quinn – 0 / 61.17
3) Martien van der Hoeven (USA) & Morris Horta – 0 / 63.18
4) Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) & Oak Grove’s Enkidu – 0 / 63.95
5) Gerardo Pasquel Mendez (MEX) & El Conde – 0 / 64.40
6) Margie Engle (USA) & Royce – 0 / 64.66
7) Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall – 0 / 65.03
8) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu – 0 / 65.79
9) Felipo Godinho Marcondes (BRA) & Tabu – 0 / 66.12
10) Kristen Berian (USA) & Fantast van het Vinckenhof – 0 / 66.51
11) Bliss Heers (USA) & Cayani SN – 0 / 68.32
12) Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Cerveza – 0 / 72.06
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton / Phelps Sports for Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography