argie Engle & Dicas. Ph. ©Diana Hadsall
Margie Engle of the United States rode Storm Ridge Capital LLC’s 8-year-old gelding, Dicas, to his first grand prix win in the $50,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI2* at the Flintfields Horse Park in Traverse, Michigan, USA on Sunday as the fifth week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) came to a close.
The rainy weather cleared up just in time to see 21 riders challenge Ireland’s Alan Wade’s course, with 10 riding clear to advance to the jump-off. Engle bested the class putting in a speedy time of 40.56 seconds aboard one of her newer mounts, Dicas, a Rhinelander gelding.
“He’s a really exciting horse,” Engle described. “I’ve had him since he was 6 years old. We had him in Florida and did some of the 1.35m and 1.40m classes and then moved him up by the end of the circuit to the 1.45m. He learned a lot this summer in Spruce, finishing in the 1.50m. This is actually his first grand prix won so I was really excited. He’s such a game horse. For an 8-year-old, he has the mind of an older horse.”
Erynn Ballard (CAN) set the pace to beat in the jump-off with a clear round in 42.23 seconds aboard the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Bella Donna, owned by Sagamore Farms, but at the end of the day she finished the class in third place.
“[Dicas] started off with a good pace to the first jump and he really came forward for me nicely to the second jump,” Engle said of the jumpoff. “It was easy for me to get up in the seven to leave out going down the first line, and then he caught the inside angle, which for a lot of young horses could get very confusing, and he sighted right in on the angle at the vertical and was super back on the double. He really has a good brain and is brave. Whatever you ask of him he’s willing to try. It’s a nice combination to have.”
Michael Morrissey (USA) finished hot on Ballard’s heels, just two-tenths of a second behind, in a time of 42.44 seconds on QBS Equestrian LLC’s 11-year-old mare, La Lopez 3, to claim fourth place honors.
The last to go, Santiago Lambre (MEX), flew down the final line, opting to leave out a stride, but couldn’t quite catch Engle, finishing in second place, after also finishing second in Friday’s Walsh $35,000 Welcome Stake CSI2*, in a time of 41.50 seconds on his own Dingeman.
The pair had recent success when Lambre and the 9-year-old gelding took home the victory in the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix CSI2* two weeks ago during GLEF Week Three. Lambre has consistently placed at the top of the leaderboard during his time in Traverse City, winning the $35,000 Welcome Stake CSI2* and $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix CSI2* with his mare Doloris during Week Four.
The sixth and final week of GLEF kicks off on Tuesday and will feature CSI3* competition and international show jumping highlights such as the $35,000 Welcome Speed Stake CSI3* on Thursday, Aug. 10, the $40,000 Great Lakes Classic CSI3* on Friday, Aug. 11, and the finale, the $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*, on Sunday, Aug. 13, at the Flintfields Horse Park.