Traverse City, Michigan – September 02, 2021 – Show jumping competition returned to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring as the Traverse City Tournament of Champions kicked off a thrilling week of world-class competition. The $36,600 Elk Rapids Marina 1.45m CSI 3* welcomed top international athletes to vie for the top honors. In the end, just three Irish pairs managed clear rounds over the tactful course, and it was ultimately Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Indra van de Oude Heihoef who emerged victorious out of a competitive group of horse-and-rider combinations.
Canadian course designer Peter Grant (CAN) set forth a challenging 12-obstacle course that featured an oxer-vertical double combination early on, and ended with a long approach to a two-stride to a vertical, which caused many rails down. As a result, only three athletes cleared the course without error, ultimately securing them the top three spots on the podium, including Sweetnam (IRL), Simon McCarthy (IRL) aboard Gotcha and Jonathan McCrea (USA) with Gazelle ES, all representing their home country of Ireland.
Sweetnam (IRL) and his longtime mount Indra dan de Oude Heihoef, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by the Blue Buckle Group, were second in the ring to try their hand at the technical course and became the pathfinders for the remainder of the class with a clear round and quick time of 67.76 seconds. Sweetnam (IRL) spoke highly of his partner and believed her competitive and careful nature truly shone in Thursday’s speed class.
McCarthy (IRL) entered the ring prepared to challenge Sweetnam’s fast and precise round with Gotcha, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Rock Ridge Farms. The pair were hot on Sweetnam’s heels, but would ultimately finish with a clear round just seven-tenths of a second behind the leading horse and rider combination with a quick time of 68.46 seconds.
One of the final riders to enter the Turtle Creek Casino International Ring was Jonathan McCrea (USA) and his partner Gazelle ES, a 10-year-old KWPN mare owned by Windsor Show Stables. The pair were determined to put forth a clear round, but it would ultimately leave them several seconds shy of McCarthy (IRL) and Gotcha with a time of 72.23 seconds.
Sweetnam (IRL) has his eyes on the prize for the CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus as the finale for this highly anticipated incentive program quickly approaches. As the 2020 winner of this bonus, Sweetnam (IRL) is determined to continue his winning ways and get his name back at the top of the leaderboard. He currently sits in the seventh position with 26 points. Australia’s Katie Laurie (AUS) continues to maintain her strong leading position with a total of 42 points. Kyle King (USA) is still sitting in second with 38 points, while Karl Cook (USA) stands in third with 37 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.
Show jumping competition will continue Friday morning at 8:30 am in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring with the 7-Year-Old Young Jumper, and will conclude the day with the Medium Junior/AO Jumper.
Winner’s Circle – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) $36,600 Elk Rapids Marina 1.45m Speed CSI 3*
On Indra Van De Oude Heihoef:
“I’ve had Indra since she was a 9-year-old so we’ve been together for four years. We’ve had a lot of success and we’ve won anywhere I’ve taken her really. She’s very competitive and very careful. She had five or six weeks off before this, so she felt very fresh and felt very good, so I’m very happy with the results.”
On plan going into the speed class:
“I thought the course designer [Peter Grant] did a nice job. I wanted to be quick enough to be in the top three. I thought I lost a couple of seconds in places. Like Tanner [Korotkin], my student, he went and was three seconds quicker by doing a similar plan. I definitely left a door open and luckily enough I got over the line.”
On Traverse City:
“It’s great. We were here last year for the same three weeks and it’s a very nice time of the year. They always do a good job here and we’re glad to be here.”
On Upcoming Plans:
“After Traverse City we go to Tryon and then we do some of the Major League Show Jumping shows in Mexico, and then we’ll be back to WEF. Then it starts all over again.”
On Captive One Leading Rider Bonus:
“I won it last year, so it’s definitely in the back of my mind. I have a little bit of work to do. I wasn’t here for as many shows this year during the summer because of the Olympics. It’s a great incentive for us to be competitive and hopefully I can make up some ground over these next few weeks.”
Final Results – $36,600 Elk Rapids Marina CSI 3*
1) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Indra van de Oude Heihoef – 0 / 67.76
2) Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Gotcha – 0 / 68.46
3) Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Gazelle ES – 0 / 72.23
4) Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Deauville S – 4 / 64.87
5) Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall – 4 / 66.90
6) Ali Wolff (USA) & Quirie 2 – 4 / 67.79
7) Roberto Teran (COL) & Gabrovo – 4 / 69.44
8) Matthew Williams (AUS) & FR Yandoo Pennsylvania – 4 / 75.15
9) Brooke Kemper (USA) & Arpeggi – 4 / 75.64
10) Michael Morrissey (USA) & Massimo – 4 / 77.34
11) Sandra Dalman (USA) & Haitie – 4 / 77.35
Source: Press Release by Allyson Lagiovane / Phelps Media Group for Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography