Traverse City, Michigan, USA – July 09, 2023 – As the last few pairs returned to jump off in the $145,100 Meijer Grand Prix CSI 3*, it didn’t appear that the times could get any faster. Cathleen Driscoll (USA), however, had other plans.
Last to go in an eight-horse jump-off, Driscoll came in aboard Arome, owned by Plain Bay Farm, knowing she may not have had the same natural footspeed as the pairs that jumped before her, but that didn’t stop her from trying. She had the last word, cruising to the fastest time and securing her clean sweep of FEI action during the first week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.
“He’s a big jumper but a bit of a slower-going type,” Driscoll said of Arome. “Having watched Ali [Wolff](USA) and Charlotte [Jacobs] (USA) – they’re both so fast on smaller movers that could keep galloping – my plan was to try to be as efficient as I could in the turns while staying on the gallop.”
Driscoll’s leading time of 35.18 seconds pushed then-leader Charlotte Jacobs (USA) and Rincoola Milsean, owned by North Star, into second (35.85 secibds(,
Ali Wolff (USA) took third aboard her longtime partner Casall, owned by Blacklick Bend Farm, registering no penalties in 36.24 during the tiebreaker.
“I’ve been partnered with him for about a year and a half and we’ve really been building our partnership together,” Driscoll continued about getting to know Arome, a horse that has become a highly competitive grand prix mount for her. “I jumped my first five-star on him last year. I’m just now starting to figure him out and how to help him jump clear, so it’s great to have this three-star and lay down some nice trips.”
Reflecting on this high point in her career, having just started competing in the FEI levels last year, Driscoll feels on top of the world. “This is my first clean sweep and first three-star grand prix win; it’s been a fabulous week,” she shared. “I feel like I’m going from high to higher day after day. I’m ecstatic and I can’t wait for the rest of the circuit here.”
Driscoll is the first to acknowledge it takes a team behind her to achieve the success she’s had over the past year. “I have to give a big piece of the success to my trainers, Katie and Henri Prudent; they’ve been absolutely fabulous,” she continued. “They brought me up from the 1.30m to my first five-star. They’re such amazing trainers to have in the ring and at the gate. They instill you with so much confidence and have you going in the ring believing it’s possible.”
With big wins in her pocket this week, Driscoll has put herself on the leaderboard for the $30,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus. Sticking around until the fall, she knows it’s a realistic goal if she continues the consistency.
“I jumped my first Nations Cup last year at the three-star level so we’re looking to continue building on that,” she said of her future goals in the sport. “I hope to jump some five-star Nations Cups. I’m trying to get some more consistency in these grand prixs and develop myself as a rider, but also build a string and see where we can get to.”
The Traverse City Horse Show Charity Ticket Program raised $2,880 for Project Feed The Kids, plus an additional $1,900 was raised for JustWorld International from horses jumping the JustWorld International and CaptiveOne Advisors fences clear in the same round.
Show jumping resumes Wednesday for the second week of GLEF, and features more CSI 3* action.
Final Results – $145,100 Meijer Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Arome – 0 / 0 – 35.18
2) Charlotte Jacobs (USA) & Rincoola Milsean – 0 / 0 – 35.85
3) Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall – 0 / 0 – 36.24
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography