Becky Gochman Tops Amateur-Owner Hunter Divisions at Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival

Becky Gochman Tops Amateur-Owner Hunter Divisions at Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival

By Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

image0011Traverse City, MI – July 26, 2009 – Today marked the final day of hunter/jumper competition during the Horse Shows by the Equestrian Festival at the Fintfields Horse Park. The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions wrapped up their second day of competition in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring, and it was Becky Gochman that took home today’s top prizes. Gochman was awarded the Ovation Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider award for her excellent performance during her three weeks at Horse Shows by the Bay. She then proceeded to earn the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title with Sonduetta after earning the championship prize in the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunter division. The Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival will continue next week with exciting polo and dressage action through August 2.

Gochman and Sonduetta began competing in the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunter division yesterday, and during the two days of competition earned two first place ribbons, two second place ribbons, and a fourth place ribbon. Lynn Walsh and Ocean Park followed with the reserve championship award after earning two first place ribbons, two second place ribbons, and a fourth place ribbon. Gochman and Sonduetta’s excellent performance earned them the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title. Gochman also earned the Ovation Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award.

“This is great, I really didn’t expect it, so it’s a wonderful feeling and I’m very thankful,” expressed Gochman after the awards presentation. “I really enjoy Sonduetta. She is a very sweet horse and lovely to ride.”

Gochman got Sonduetta towards the end of the Winter Equestrian Festival as a trade. “I thought I might like to try the jumpers, so I had a jumper for awhile but I discovered that was not my thing,” she explained. “We did an equal trade and it’s turned out to be the best thing for me.”

“Sonduetta needs a soft ride and I can always count on her,” continued Gochman. “She has a very, very long stride so I really just need to sit and stay steady a lot. This week she was very consistent and I feel like I’m getting to know her better at every show. This show every thing gelled for me and I really think we’re just beginning a great friendship.”

Following her victory in the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunter division, Gochman claimed the $1000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic win aboard Arabella. She followed with the red rosette for her ride on Sonduetta, while Elizabeth Perry and Londeur took home the third place award.

“Arabella is a great horse,” said Gochman. “I am just learning on her so I don’t feel completely together on her yet, but I think she’s going to be a great amateur horse. She’s a little bit green and we have some work to do, but today the Classic was a great round for us.”

The next division to compete was the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, where Gochman again took top honors. Gochman garnered the championship tricolor with As Always after the pair earned three first place ribbons, a second place ribbon, and a fourth place ribbon. The reserve championship award was also presented to Gochman for her ride aboard Urlala. The pair took home a second place ribbon, three third place ribbons, and a sixth place ribbon.

Gochman is very excited about the addition of the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter division, although she was originally opposed to the idea. “We’re just bringing As Always back from an injury, so the 3’3” division is perfect for him right now,” she explained. “I’m really loving that 3’3” division even though I was against it at first. Now I feel that it has a really important place, for a horse that’s coming back, or my other horse Urlala. She just really isn’t a 3’6” horse and it gives me something to do with her. I think it’s really a great division and I think a lot of people enjoy it.”

Gochman has enjoyed having the opportunity to show at Horse Shows by the Bay with her entire family. “I love Horse Shows by the Bay,” she smiled. “We’re a horse show family now because I have two little girls that compete in the walk-trot. Horse Shows by the Bay offers good classes for them, and it’s a beautiful place for a family vacation.”

Gochman shows with Peter Pletcher of PJP Farm in Magnolia, TX, and Heather Hays of Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY.

Earlier in the day the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division also competed for top prizes. Today’s championship award was presented to Cassandra Shipp and Celano after the pair earned two first place ribbons, two second place ribbons, and a fourth place ribbon. Elizabeth Perry and Londeur took home the reserve championship ribbon after earning a first place ribbon, two second place ribbon, a third place ribbon, and sixth place ribbon.

The Adult Amateur Hunters competed next, and this week the Grand Champion Adult Amateur Hunter title was awarded to Abigail Wujek and Magic Man. The pair had an excellent performance during the Adult Amateur 36-49 Hunter division, earning a first place ribbon, three second place ribbons, and a third place ribbon. Wujeck and Magic Man took home the division’s championship award and won the Grand Champion title.

The Ovation Leading Adult Amateur Hunter Rider Award for the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival was presented to Sue Hehl. Hehl rides Something’s Cookin’ in the Adult Amateur 50 and Over Hunter division and the pair have been very successful throughout their three weeks competing at this year’s horse show.

The final class to get underway in the Polk Family Main Hunter ring today was the $1000 NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter Classic. Anne Kanner and Robinson earned the top call and won the blue ribbon. The second place prize was awarded to Carrie Fleishhacker and Manitou, while Sue Hehl and Something’s Cookin’ received the third place honors.

The NAL offers a year-long Series in seven divisions – Children’s Hunter, Adult Hunter presented by Cavalor, Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper, and Open Jumper. The Series includes classes held at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. Finals for all divisions are held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA, in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in the qualifying classes, but only members earn points toward the year-end finals. With the annual membership fee only $35, most riders join in hopes of earning points that may qualify them for a trip to Harrisburg. For more information regarding the NAL series, including series specifications, current standings and a list of upcoming events, please call (717) 867-5643, email to NAL@Ryegate.com or visit www.ryegate.com

Equestrian Endeavors, of Holly, MI, generously donated this week’s Grand Champion Hunter Awards. The winners of the Ovation Leading Rider Awards received $500 gift certificates from English Riding Supply, of Scranton, PA.

The Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival will feature dressage and polo next week, beginning Wednesday, July 29 – August 2.

For more information about the 2009 Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com .

image0021Photo Credit: Becky Gochman earned the Ovation Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award, and the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter with Sonduetta at the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival. Photo C Rebecca Walton/PMG. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.