Traverse City, Michigan, USA – June 10, 2022 – The pieces all fell into place for Christine McCrea (USA) during the first week of the Traverse City Spring Horse Shows (TCHS), as she commanded the field in the $37,000 Welcome Stake CSI 3*. With the Windsor Show Stables entry Julieta, a mare McCrea has ridden in international competition since 2020, she handily took the win by over two seconds with the quickest jump-off of three double-clear efforts.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set a track with elements that presented enough of a challenge to kick off a big season without asking too much of the horses and riders who may be newer to the CSI 3* level. As the first round came to a close, 10 combinations etched their names onto the tiebreaker list and returned for a cruise around the short course.
The jump-off track concluded with a long run from an oxer on the VIP side of the Turtle Creek & Casino International Ring all the way to the final fence, set close to the in-gate. “In the jump-off you had to stay on top of your time. You had to fight for the numbers. I landed [from the second to last] and I was like, ‘Go, girl, go!’ And thankfully I saw a distance to the last jump because if I didn’t I was going to go through it.”
The journey with Julieta hasn’t been all smooth sailing. “It’s been a long one,” McCrea remarked of her story with the 2010 Holsteiner mare (Canstakko x Casall). “This has been a long time coming and a work in progress for several years now. It started with me not being able to stay with her because she is quite an extravagant jumper. She was uncomfortable for me in the beginning.”
Though it took some time and training for McCrea to learn how to ride the mare’s flashy jump, they have reached the level of comfort required to mold together and jump clear rounds. In fact, they jump clear 53% of the time in international competition. “Now I get on her and I know what’s going to happen,” she continued. “When she’s like she was today, you can do whatever you want. She is a trier. Sometimes she’s not on it but today she was completely with me. I’m just so excited about her.”
Peter Lutz (USA) stood between what turned out to be a bookend podium for the McCrea wife-and-husband duo, claiming second place aboard Lovsta Stuteri’s Hollerno, finishing in 44.06 seconds.
Last to jump off was McCrea’s husband, Jonathan McCrea (USA), with his second of two qualified mounts, Gazelle ES. While he may have been attempting to unseat his wife’s lead and make for a one-two finish for the Jonathan McCrea family, a rail down and about an extra second on the clock dropped him to sixth and awarded the win to his wife. “I asked him, ‘Did you let me win?’ because he did nine strides to the second fence but he knew it was eight – he told me it was eight,” Christine elaborated.
“I want to win fair and square, and he said no so I guess it was my day.” Jonathan McCrea (USA) still captured third on his first mount, Windsor Show Stables’ Fantasy BB in 44.19 seconds.
The 2022 season at TCHS is off to a solid start for the McCrea family, with Jonathan securing second in the $37,000 CSI3* 1.45m Speed and the couple bookending Friday’s podium. It’s a welcome change of scenery for the pair to return to the Flintfields Horse Park. “I like the ring because it’s not totally square, and I like that there are a number of different classes,” McCrea shared about the horse show. “You can bring every horse of every age and do all kinds of levels. You can bring your grand prix horses and go for a number of weeks. It’s a lovely town, the weather is beautiful, and I really enjoy the show.”
International athletes will take a day to rest before competing for the week’s highlight, Sunday’s $138,600 CSI3* Turtle Creek Casino & Resort Grand Prix.
Final Results – $37,000 Welcome Stake
1. Christina McCrea (USA) & Julieta: 2010 Holsteiner mare by Canstakko x Casall, Windsor Show Stables – 0 / 0 – 41.90
2. Peter Lutz (USA) & Hollerno: 2012 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Baltic VDL x Ahorn, Lutz/Manfredi Show Jumping LLC – 0 / 0 – 44.06
3. Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Fantasy BB: 2010 Dutch Warmblood mare by Cardento x Labor’s VDL Indorado, Windsor Show Stables – 0 / 0 – 44.19
4. Peter Lutz (USA) & Fellini: 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Vermont x Rash, Lovsta Stuteri – 0 / 2 – 49.02
5. Giavanna Rinaldi (USA) & Primo Toy: 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Clinton x VDL Arkansas, Itasca Group LLC – 0 / 4 – 41.29
6. Jonathan McCrea (USA) & Gazelle ES: 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare by Diarado x Ukato, Windsor Show Stables – 0 / 4 – 42.80
7. Andrew Welles (USA) & Idol H&H: 2013 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Action-Breaker x Glennridge, Evergreen Stables, LLC – 0 / 8 – 42.26
8. Margie Engle (USA) & Jackofhearts: 2012 Danish Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Baloubet Du Rouet, Gladewinds Partners, LLC – 0 / 8 – 51.25
9. Hannah Hink (USA) & Casper: 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quality Time TN x Burggraaf NV, Hannah Hink – 0 / 17 – 52.11
10. Margie Engle (USA) & Cesna M: 2012 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Check In x Sandro Boy, Virginia Bartholomay – 0 / 20 – 59.01
11. Michael Morrissey (USA) & Tachini Z: 2009 Zangersheided gelding by Toulon x Burggraaf NV, MD Stables – 4 – 80.45
12. Hannah Hink (USA) & VDL Stella: 2012 BH mare by Cardento x Baloubet Du Rouet, Hannah Hink – 8 – 76.59
Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography