Traverse City, Mich. – June 18, 2023 – Katie Dinan (USA) first came to Traverse City in 2008 when she was riding ponies. Since then, she’s collected many honors at the international level of show jumping. Yet, it was with her longtime partner Brego R’N B that she clinched her first major Sunday Grand Prix victory in the $145,100 4G Surfaces CSI3* Grand Prix.
“I’m super happy for Brego,” said Dinan. “He’s had amazing results around the world but this is our first Sunday Grand Prix win. He really deserves it so I’m happy it came together today.”
Dinan was one of seven to navigate Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) first-round track clear during the Traverse City Spring Horse Shows, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. She also had two mounts in the jump-off, giving her an extra edge. With Daniel Bluman (ISR) first to go on eight-year-old Corbie V.V.Z ET, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, the pace was set fast as the World Championship rider clocked in at 35.62 seconds.
Dinan took to the course on her first ride, Dijon Terdoorn Z, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC. She aimed to trim as much time as possible but finished in 35.70 seconds, just slightly off the pace. “Daniel Bluman is such a fast rider,” Dinan remarked. “When I saw him go first I thought, ‘That’s going to be really hard to beat.’ I thought it was pretty fast with Dijon. There were one or two places I could have ridden a little better and I was just off Daniel’s time.”
Going last with Brego R’N B, also owned by Grant Road Partners LLC, she felt she had nothing to lose.
“Brego is a horse that can go really fast if you ride him the right way,” she explained. “He has a really big stride, he’s very brave, and I knew I had to find a balance of trying to win but also staying cool and not doing something that wasn’t necessary. With him I try to remember how much joy I have riding him and how to ride the best for him.”
Dinan did just enough with her 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Namelus R x Gerlinus). Her time of 35.59 seconds edged Bluman out of the winner’s circle, putting him in second and taking first and third for herself.
“I’ve had him for five years,” Dinan said of her special relationship with Brego. “I feel so fortunate for our whole team. His groom, Lou Beudin, has taken care of him since we got him, and my coach, Beat Mändli – it’s a testament to them and their program that I have a 17-year-old jumping in these classes and feeling as good as he feels. I’m really lucky.”
They’ve conquered major grand prix classes and championships across the globe together, but the win in Traverse City still feels extremely special to Dinan. The pair has finished in the ribbons in CSI5* events, but Dinan admits that speed is something she’s finally trusting herself with.
“He has a really big stride and he can make sharp turns. He’s not a horse that looks like he’s going super fast but if you’re efficient and you ride smart he could be just as fast as any of them. The last two years I’ve figured that out.
“He’s a horse we usually save for the big classes,” she continued of Brego. “It’s not like I’m practicing going fast on him all the time. The only time we go fast is in a jump-off, so I’m always happy to be in them and now I’m working every time on riding him as best as possible.”
Having a partnership like theirs with all the experience and still reaching new milestones is something that Dinan does not take for granted. “It gives me extra confidence going in the ring because he knows his job. He’s a horse that won’t ever let you down. These courses can be challenging enough even with that, so when you know you have a horse that’s always on your side, it makes it a lot easier. I try to enjoy all the time I have with him,” she reflected.
“I’ve been coming to Traverse City since 2021,” Dinan continued about returning to the Flintfields Horse Park. “The footing is excellent. The facility puts the horses and riders first and that makes a huge difference to us as competitors. Every year they make improvements which is something we really appreciate. Every year the show gets better and better. It’s always a huge honor to win here.”
CSI3* competition continues during the third and final week of the Traverse City Spring Series, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, beginning Wednesday.
Final Results: $145,100 4G Surfaces CSI3* Grand Prix
- Katie Dinan (USA) & Brego R’N B: 2006 KWPN gelding (Namelus R x Gerlinus)
Owner: Grant Road Partners LLC
- Daniel Bluman (ISR) & Corbie V.V.Z ET: 2015 ZANG mare (Cornet Obolensky x Chacco Blue)
Owner: Over The Top Stables LLC
- Katie Dinan (USA) & Dijon Terdoorn Z: 2011 ZANG gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Lord Z)
Owner: Grant Road Partners LLC
- Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) & DSP Callas: 2012 DSP mare (Casskeni II x Levistano)
Owner: Roberto Teran Tafur
- Kristen VanderVeen (USA) & Bull Run’s Jireh: 2014 HOLST gelding (Uriko x Colman)
Owner: Bull Run Jumpers Inc
Courtney Lenkart and Chicoletto Charm $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Courtney Lenkart’s new ride Chicoletto did not come all the way to America for second place. Just recently imported and only in his third horse show stateside, he captured the win with Lenkart aboard in the $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Mansfield Land Use Consultants, besting 33 competitive entries.
Owned by Mercedes Flett, Chicoletto came into Lenkart’s string earlier in 2023, and they’ve been getting to know one another quickly, showing as a pre-green and rising into the higher levels of the hunters as the horse has acclimated.
“He’s only shown three times in America,” Lenkart explained. “So I wanted to be handy because he’s so soft and can turn really well, but he’s spooky, so I wanted to be cautious going through the gaps and show off on the long rides to the single jumps.”
Scores of 90 across the board for a two-round total of 360 landed them the win. Just behind in second place was Cullighan, owned by Claudia Millstone, with Tiffany Morrissey aboard, earning a total score of 358. Kelsey Epperson and Didgereedoo VDL, owned by Lashier Properties LLC, claimed third with a score of 354.
“We have a great guy that we get horses from in Europe,” she said about Neils Haesen of Stal De Eyckenhoeve. “[Chicoletto] was imported in February of this year. Mercedes fell in love with him; he looks a lot like her adult hunter. She bought him for me to bring along for a couple years and to be her amateur horse.”
The love ran deep with Lenkart, as well. “He just showed up in Florida and from day one I loved him,” she said of the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casall. “He’s so light across the ground, he goes in the softest bridle possible, and you barely take the reins and he turns. As soon as I started to turn in the schooling ring he kept jumping higher. He loves this.”
It’s just the beginning for what seems to be a bright future for Chicoletto, and for Lenkart’s partnership with him as well. “I feel so fortunate that Mercedes bought Chicoletto and trusts me and my program to bring him along for the next couple years. She’s an awesome owner and does the very best things for her horses,” Lenkart said.
Lenkart, of Bartonville, TX, feels very much at home in Northern Michigan, especially considering her family feels the same way.
“This is our favorite horse show of the entire year,” she said. “This is my husband’s 19th year to come to Traverse City. They have the best management, the best footing, the best jumps, and you have the lake, the boating, and the cutest little town. We stay here for nine weeks and we look forward to it all year. We have a boat so we go out on Mondays and now we have a 17-month old son, William, so we’re really excited to let him do this in the summer.
Rachael Herkowitz Finds Perfect Harmony in 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic
Keeping in the tradition of new partnerships thriving in the hunters Sunday afternoon, Rachael Herkowitz, of Bloomfield Hills, MI, took victory in the Rochester Hills Farm Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic with her partner Harmony.
“This is my third show on her,” Herkowitz said of her new ride. “She’s just a wonderful eigth-year-old mare. She’s really even around the whole course, studies the jumps but doesn’t back away from them. She wants to jump high and nice and square. I’m really lucky that I have her.”
When Herkowitz was in the market for the perfect horse, she received a call about Harmony being available in Texas. “We flew down in November and it was love at first sight,” she elaborated about her spontaneous trip. “She loves what she does, so it makes the rider part easy.”
At just eight years old, the mare is already showing her maturity and Herkowitz knows there are still big things ahead. She does remind herself, however, that nothing is guaranteed in horse sport and it’s the small things that really lead to the big things eventually.
“I think our goals are to keep doing what we’re doing,” Herkowitz said. “To keep things basic and simple, don’t forget the small things, take each trip one at a time, stay even and connected, and always have fun.”
Traverse City is practically Herkowitz’s home show, living just driving distance away so she can manage her life at home and continue to show at a high level. “I live about three hours south so I go back and forth,” she explained. “I’ll be back nearly every week. She’ll have a couple weeks off in between but we’ll be here all through September.”
It’s not just the horses keeping her busy, both at home and in Traverse City for the horse shows. “I’m a clinical psychologist and I have a five-year-old son who’s about to be in kindergarten, so I’ve got my hands full,” she shared. “He was passing out ribbons at the hack. It’s his first horse show. He loves to feed them and be around the atmosphere.”
Hunters resume Wednesday for the third week of the Traverse City Spring Horse Shows, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, opening with professional hunter divisions.