Traverse City, Michigan, USA – August 12, 2023 – Cathleen Driscoll (USA) knew it was her last day competing in Northern Michigan for the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) on Saturday. So, she knew she had to make it count and she did winning the $77,300 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI 2*.
Aboard the Plain Bay Farm entry Magnolia, Driscoll was third of 11 to jump off over Nick Granat’s (USA) track. With Daniel Bluman (ISR) in the lead with Corbie V.V., Driscoll quite literally gave it all she had, shaving off over two seconds and setting a new time to beat of 32.98 seconds, with seemingly little room to improve, if any.
“My mare is naturally fast and not the biggest mover, but good in the turns and good on the gallop,” Driscoll explained of the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Mylord Carthago x Van Gogh). “So I made the decision for seven [strides] from two to three whereas bigger-moving horses did six. I tried to make it up in the turns and the gallops. I opted for the seven coming home which was quite a big one at the last, and I’m lucky she gave it to me. But she’s just such a naturally fast horse.”
Two riders gave it their absolute best and came within shouting distance of Driscoll. Luis Larrazabal (VEN) and Belle de Muze, owned by Driss Ngadi, clocked in at a very fast 33.34 seconds
However, Nicolas Gamboa (COL) squeezed himself right in between with NKH LLC’s NKH Mr. Darcy, at 33.17 seconds. Gamboa took second while Larrazabal claimed third.
“This is my last class here for GLEF and I am thrilled with the result, but it was nail biting up until the very end,” said Driscoll, who had to watch eight more rounds until her win was solidified. “It was a great jump-off with a lot of great riders and horses and a fun class.”
Taking her fifth FEI win of the Traverse City Horse Shows season, Driscoll has had a more successful summer than most, earning victories on a variety of horses.
“Traverse City has been absolutely fantastic for me over the last six weeks,” she shared. “The footing is fantastic, the weather is great, and the horses love it here. All of my horses have jumped great in this ring.”
Even though she’s already a seasoned winner, Driscoll just began jumping FEI classes two years ago. Training under Katie and Henri Prudent at Plain Bay Farm, she’s blasted to the top and is the one to catch in any FEI class nowadays.
“I’m extremely grateful for where I am in my career,” she reflected. “I’m actually still fairly new in the FEI ranks. It’s quite unbelievable to have strong FEI horses so I’m really trying to relish in the moment and learn from my mistakes.”
As she packs to head home, she feels a great sense of accomplishment for all she’s done at GLEF 2023, knowing there’s still more ahead before the season draws to a close.
“Everyone wants to leave winning,” she remarked. “It doesn’t always happen but I’m glad it worked out today. My horses can go home and have a nice rest and we look forward to coming back here in the fall.”
Final Results – $77,300 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI 2*
1) Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Magnolia – 0 / 0 – 32.98
2) Nicolas Gamboa (COL) & NKH Mr. Darcy – 0 / 0 – 33.17
3) Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) & Belle de Muze – 0 / 0 – 33.34
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography / Megan Giese Photography