Traverse City, Michigan, USA – July 08, 2022 – Mimi Gochman’s (USA) long trip from Aachen to Traverse City was well worth it, as she found herself in the winner’s circle for the second time in a week after representing the United States at the FEI Youth Equestrian Games. She stayed hot to claim top honors in the $37,000 Innovo Welcome Stake CSI 3* during the first week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.
Aboard Celina BH, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare (Canstakko x Carthago Z), Gochman secured one of a dozen clear rounds over the first-round track, set by Mexico’s Catsy Cruz. Early to go in the jump-off, Gochman set the pace with daring turns and incredible scope, clearing all the fences in a time of 34.87 seconds. With nine still to come behind her, she knew her win wasn’t secured but she put it all on the line.
Rails began to fall as the remaining horse-and-rider combinations chased her quick time. The only pairs close to Gochman’s time were American rider Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Arome, the first of two qualified for the jump-off, and amateur Kelly Arani (USA) with Impossible Dream. Driscoll, second to navigate the short course, clocked in at 36.34 seconds to claim second place with the Plain Bay Farm entry,
Kelly Arani (USA) and her Sweet Oak Farm-owned gelding took third place in 36.93 seconds.
Coming off a gold-medal finish for USA jumping in Aachen just one week ago, Gochman is making waves at the international level as she nears the end of her junior career. “This year has been my move up year,” she said of her advancement in the sport. “I’m trying to jump three and four-stars more and figure it out. I’m very confident now in this division.”
Though her win in Aachen was not aboard her “heart horse” Celina BH, the pair has accomplished incredible things in their time together. “My horse is incredible and thankfully I have a good partner, a good team, an amazing trainer, and it’s coming together. The jump from the high junior jumpers and national grand prix to CSI3* is a little much for me but now I’m starting to grasp it and I’m very proud of my horse.”
The relationship between Gochman and Celina BH has been one in progress for over four years as the pair have moved up the ranks in the jumper ring. “We’ve had Celina since she was seven turning eight. She’s an incredible mare. She’s smart and she knows her job. We’ve been able to develop a very good partnership. I started her in the medium and high junior jumpers and it’s been about four years of riding her. We trust each other a lot; she knows my ride, I know her well, and we can play to each other’s strengths and that makes us a strong team. She always tries her best and she knows what she’s doing. I’m very lucky to have her. I’ll love her forever – she’s my heart horse.”
Nothing was going to stop Gochman from returning to Traverse City this summer, where she’s been competing since she was six years old. “I love it here,” she continued. “I’ve done pony hunters through junior hunters, and now to be able to compete now at the CSI3* level in the big ring against top professionals is incredible. I love the atmosphere here. The show itself is beautiful and everything is very well kept. The horses love it and there’s a lot of space for grazing, plus big rings and big stalls. I try to come back every year and I think it keeps getting better, so I’m very grateful to get to attend this show.”
International competition resumes Sunday with the $138,600 Meijer Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Final Results: $37,000 Innovo Welcome Stake CSI 3*
1) Mimi Gochman (USA) & Celina BH: 2010 HOLST mare by Canstakko x Carthago Z, Gochman Sport Horse LLC: 0/0/34.87
2.) Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Arome: 2010 SF gelding by Norway De La Lande x Attila III, Plain Bay Farm: 0/0/36.34
3. Kelly Arani (USA) & Impossible Dream: 2013 KWPN gelding by Cardento x Peter Pan, Marigot Bay Farm, LLC: 0/0/36.93
4. Emma Catherine Reichow & Forever Alve: 2010 KWPN mare by Numero Uno x Berlin, Emma Catherine Reichow: 0/0/38.33
5) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Namaste van het Eyeckeveld: 2013 BWP gelding by Elvis Ter Putte x Coriall, Sweet Oak Farm: 0/0/38.89
6. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Birdy du Thot: 2011 SF mare by Magic D’Elle x Le Tot De Semilly, Ashley Vogel: 0/0/39.11
7. Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Flotylla: 2011 PZHK mare by Alvaro 121 x Bajou Du Rouet, Donald Stewart: 0/4/35.02
8. Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Gotcha: 2011 HOLST mare by Stakkato x Cassini I, Rock Ridge Farms: 0/4/35.70
9. Samantha Frasier 2010: 2010 KWPN gelding by Carambole x Padinus, Bonne Vie LLC: 0/4/37.91
10. Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Ideal: 2012 SWB gelding by Cardento x Cortez, Castlewood Farm Inc. & Sandalwood Farms: 0/4/38.31
11) Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) & Cornwall BH: 2008 HOLST gelding by Con Air x Cambridge, Gochman Sport Horse LLC: 0/4/38.33
12. Martien van der Hoeven (USA) & Morris Horta: 2012 BWP stallion by Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Vigo D Arsouilles STX, Luccirelli International, LLC: 0/4/38.54
Source: Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography