Traverse City, Michigan, USA – July 21, 2023 – Cathleen Driscoll (USA) is a winning machine in Traverse City. During week one of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), she took two consecutive victories with Flotylla, owned by Don Stewart, and during GLEF III, the pair scored another in Friday’s $38,700 Welcome Stake CSI 2*.
When asked how she feels adding another FEI win to her resume, Driscoll, 30, replied, “Fantastic. Flotylla is a fabulous mare. I can really depend on her. This is three wins in a row for her now so I’m over the moon.”
Over Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) track, Driscoll was one of 19 clear efforts in the first round. While not every pair returned to jump off, she emerged as the fastest among eight double-clear duos.
Joining her on the podium were Margie Engle (USA) with Jackofhearts in second, registering two clean performances, the decisive one in 38.47 seconds.
Kent Farrington (USA) was third on Greya, matching the clean scorecards of the previous two while completing their final round in 38.89 seconds.
“It’s very fun for me; a lot of my idols growing up are riding in these classes,” remarked Driscoll, who recently broke into the top 100-ranked riders in the world. “Today in the prizegiving with Margie and Kent [was amazing]; I loved watching them growing up and still do. It’s a great feeling to be at their level and be a competitor with them.”
The win Friday was even more special, propelling her to the top of the Open Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, which she’d been climbing since she arrived week one. “It’s so nice that they give that bonus,” she said of the $30,000 to be awarded at the end of the season. “It’s a good incentive to be here for the summer. We love being here in the summer anyway, but it’s nice to be at the top of that leaderboard. We’ll see if we can keep chipping away on it and hopefully hold onto that.”
A queen of consistency, Driscoll jumped clear with both her mounts, jumping off with VDL Salty Blue, owned by the Marsel Group, first. “I had a feel for how the course would ride,” she explained. “Flotylla is such a fast and competitive horse. Seeing the tone of the class as it was going, I felt like I could go reasonably fast without going too crazy. She is so good on the turns and the gallop so I tried to let her cruise around and do her thing. It worked out for us today.”
Don Stewart has played a crucial role in Driscoll’s development in the sport, owning Flotylla and supporting them each step of the way. “Don is wonderful,” she remarked. “He’s the funniest man I know. He’s always on the sidelines, loves watching her compete and it’s been fabulous having him be a part of the journey with this horse. I’m very grateful for him giving me the opportunity. I just began competing in the FEI divisions about two years ago and Flotylla has been an amazing horse to help me learn the ropes and get competitive at this level.
“I know her like the back of my hand,” she continued. “Anytime we go into the ring I feel like we have a shot. She fights for me, and I try and do my best to give her a chance to jump clear, and I think the results are really starting to show.”
Show jumping continues Saturday with the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix.
Final Results – $38,700 Welcome Stake CSI 2*
1) Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Flotylla – 0 / 0 – 37.71
2) Margie Engle (USA) & Jackofhearts – 0 / 0 – 38.47
3) Kent Farrington (USA) & Greya – 0 / 0 – 38.89
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography