Traverse City, Michigan, USA – August 06, 2022 – Callie Schott (USA) has plenty to smile about as she concludes the week of Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) in Traverse City. Aboard Garant, she cruised to victory in the $216,000 MLSJ Grand Prix CSI 5*, marking her first CSI5* grand prix win during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.
Cedric Longis (FRA) built a track worthy of the occasion. Fences fell throughout, but certain spots caused more issues than others, producing only one clear round in the first half of the 37 entries and three more in the second half. Schott was the final on course and the final to secure her spot in the jump-off.
This win has been a long time coming for Schott, who has taken CSI5* wins before but had yet to score a victory in a CSI5* grand prix aboard the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Warrant x Verdi TN). Their first win will certainly be one to remember.
Conor Swail (IRL) pulled one rail in the jump-off with Vital Chance de La Roque, eventually claiming third as the faster of the pair on four faults, beating out Sam Walker (CAN) and Hermelion vd Hoogehoeve for the final podium spot.
“We’ve been building our partnership over the last few months,” Schott reflected on her confidence level with Garant, owner by Southern Arches, LLC. “Thursday’s [CSI5*] class was the first class that, from start to finish, was smooth and we were together. He gets very aggressive and wants to get too close to the jumps sometimes, then jumps too high, and then it gets a little erratic. It was the first course that I really put it all together, and I think it just carried over into today.”
Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) then took the lead aboard the Berry Group’s Cornet’s Cambridge as the first double-clear effort. His time in the limelight was short, however, as Schott, last to go, shaved just under one second off his leading time and pushed him to second, claiming the top spot on the podium for herself.
Schott credits Garant not only for his ability but for his eagerness to perform and desire to jump clear. “Every day he comes out and he loves to work,” Schott said of her workhorse. “His ears are pricked all the time. He loves life and he loves his job. He wants to do this job. He really is a show jumper. He loves it.”
Unlike other riders in this class, Schott has expert guidance in the form of a past rider of Garant, Beezie Madden (USA). Prior to going in the ring for the jump-off, the former American Gold Cup champion and four-time U.S. Olympian offered words of wisdom. “We went over the plan and she helped me really think about it,” Schott continued. “[The plan was] to try to beat Nick, and to just to go as fast as I could, but feeling comfortable doing it.”
The final fence on the first-round track caused many a rail down, including for Madden, Kent Farrington (USA) and other CSI5* veterans. “It was set right on the half stride,” Schott said of the challenge presented by Longis. “You just had to commit. Also with the [VIP] tent being there, you really had to catch it straight.”
Major League Show Jumping heads to Canada for two events before returning to Traverse City from September 14-18, as part of the Tournament of Champions.
Final Results – $216,000 Major League Show Jumping Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI 5*
1) Callie Schott (USA) & Garant – 0 / 0 – 40.61
2) Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) & Cornet’s Cambridge – 0 / 0 – 41.97
3) Conor Swail (IRL) & Vital Chance de La Roque – 0 / 4 – 38.16
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography