Peter Pletcher Garners Ovation Leading Hunter Rider Award at Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival
By Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
Traverse City, MI – July 23, 2009 – The Horse Shows by the Bay Series III got underway today at the scenic Flintfields Horse Park, following yesterday’s cancellation of the horse show due to rain and thunderstorms throughout the day. Today the top prize was awarded to Peter Pletcher, who earned the Ovation Leading Hunter Rider Award after three weeks of competition. Laura Pfeiffer took home the Ovation Leading Junior Hunter Rider Award for her excellent performance over the last three weeks. The Horse Shows by the Bay Series III will continue through Sunday, July 26, and the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival will continue with exciting polo and dressage action through August 2.
Peter Pletcher started the day off right by earning both the championship and the reserve championship tricolors during this morning’s Working Hunter division. Pletcher rode Argentum to the championship prize after earning two first place ribbons, a second place ribbon, and a third place ribbon. Pletcher captured the reserve championship honors aboard Portofino, after the pair earned a first place ribbon, two second place ribbons, and a third place ribbon.
Pletcher and Argentum then went on to earn the Grand Champion Working Hunter title. This week’s Grand Champion awards are sponsored by Equestrian Endeavors, of Holly, MI. Pletcher’s excellent performances throughout the three weeks at the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival earned him the Ovation Leading Hunter Rider Award, generously sponsored by English Riding Supply of Scranton, PA.
The current goal for Pletcher’s top mount, Argentum, is the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals in August at the Kentucky Horse Park. “I really want him to shine at the Finals,” he said. “That is what this year has really been about, so hopefully our plan will come into play.”
Pletcher admitted that his team of riders, trainers, and owners is the key to his success. “The most important part of the business is that everybody work well together,” he explained. “We have a good team and everything runs smoothly. We have a lot of horses and we get them to the rings as fast as we possibly can and try not to hold people up much. That’s an impressive thing when you have maybe seven horses in a division.”
Pletcher has been very happy with the excellent show that Horse Shows by the Bay owners and managers Dean and Alex Rheinheimer have put together. “I think they do a great job,” he smiled. “They offer a lot of different classes for people and they’ve put a limit on how many horses can be here. I think that is probably one of the best things about this horse show. There’s a little division for every person to show in, but it still runs smoothly because there is a limit.”
Pletcher was also very impressed with how they handled yesterday’s weather and cancellation of the show. “I thought it was amazing. They stopped, they took into consideration that it was pouring down rain, it was lighting, it was thunder and it was pretty much going to do that all day,” he noted. “So it was really nice that they pulled together, still did the classes the next day, and made it as nice as they could.”
The next division to compete in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring was the Green Conformation Hunters. Greg Crolick took home top honors, obtaining the championship award with Profound and the reserve championship prize with Vinsetta. Crolick and Profound were also honored with the Grand Champion Conformation Hunter award and the Susan Wallace Memorial Trophy.
Crolick and Top Call Farm donated the Susan Wallace Memorial Trophy and he was thrilled to receive the award today. “It feels wonderful to win this award,” he said. “We donated it after one of my clients unfortunately passed away, so it’s nice to go back in there and win the award for her. We’ve been in the process for about four years now, so it’s nice to get the award and finally win it for ourselves.”
The Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division got underway next, and this time Laura Pfeiffer and Elliot were presented with the championship prize. The pair earned two first place ribbons and two second place ribbons. The reserve championship award went to Alissa Norris for her ride aboard Lanshark, who garnered a first and a second place ribbon.
Pfieffer and Elliot later went on to win the $1000 Junior Hunter Classic, sponsored by Foxtail Farm, of Lake Leelanau, MI. Kelsey Wickham and Just Because followed with the second place award, while Norris and Lanshark earned the third place honors.
Following the $1000 Junior Hunter Classic Pfieffer was presented with the Ovation Leading Junior Hunter Rider Award. “This is a wonderful accomplishment; it feels great,” she noted after the awards ceremony.
Pfieffer rides a number of different horses and must juggle hunter, jumper, and equitation mounts. “It requires a lot of focus,” she explained. “You just have to clear your brain after each horse and ride each horse for what it is.”
During today’s Small Junior Hunter division Pfieffer earned the reserve championship prize aboard Hamilton, following Anna Levy who rode the Grand Champion Conformation Hunter, Profound, to the championship win.
Earlier in the day the Large Junior 15 and Under Hunter division competed in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. The championship tricolor was awarded to Eliza Frankel and Luagno, while Ali Nicole Naugle and Glow took home the reserve championship honors. Frankel and Lugano earned three first place ribbons and a fourth place ribbon. Naugle and Glow earned a first place ribbon, two second place ribbon, and a fourth place ribbon.
Frankel and Lugano’s excellent performance during their division earned them the Grand Champion Junior Hunter title. “I’m really happy; it’s an honor to earn this title,” smiled Frankel. “Lugano was really good today. You just stay soft and let him go and he really helps you out.”
The Horse Shows by the Bay Series III will continue tomorrow with equitation classes in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. Junior riders will compete for the top call in the ASPCA Maclay and the Pessoa/USEF Medal. The highlight event this week will be the $30,000 D-BRAIDER Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix on Saturday, July 25.
For more information about the 2009 Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com
Photo Credit: After three weeks of competition, Peter Pletcher took home the coveted Ovation Leading Hunter Rider Award 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.