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Benchmark Farm's Liz Atkins Continues Winning Streak

Olympian Lisa Jacquin Returns to Traverse City Winning $1,500 1.35m Open Jumpers With Chapel Z at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

 

By: Kendall Bierer   

 

Lisa Jacquin and Chapel Z win the 1.35m Open Jumpers at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival II.

 

Traverse City, MI - July 8, 2015 - Two-time Olympic Silver medalist Lisa Jacquin has been showing in Michigan for over two decades, racking up wins throughout the state. After taking a year away from the Flintfields Horse Park to recover from an injury, Jacquin returned to the venue to prove on the second day of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival that she is back in top form, winning the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumper victory with Chapel Z. 

 

Jacquin has known Karin Flint, owner of Flintfields Horse Park, for over 25 years. They started their working relationship at the Detroit Motor City Horse Shows when Jacquin looked at one of Flint's young horses and soon after began to train and work with it. Not long after, they began buying horses with the hopes of moving into the larger classes, which is exactly what Jacquin did with Chapel Z. 

 

The 11-year-old Zangersheide-Holsteiner stallion first came to Jacquin as a 3-year-old, and she worked to bring him up through the young jumper ranks. He has competed in several grand prix classes, as well as jumped at the 1.60m-level, but when Jacquin shattered her pelvis in 2013 during Horse Shows By The Bay, their training regimen changed. 

 

"He is difficult in his mind, but he is very careful," Jacquin said. "I am starting him back up to get to the higher level again. Next week he will probably do the 1.40m Open Jumpers and the Welcome Stake, but this week I just wanted to compete in the 1.30m and 1.35m Open Jumpers to help build him back up."

 

Jacquin and Chapel navigated Keith Bollotte's 1.35m Open Jumper track as one of only three to master the first round. Their double clear effort in 32.335 seconds proved good enough for the first place finish today.

 

Jacquin explained, "It was really nice for Karin [Flint] to see him win both yesterday and today. She remarked after the jump-off, 'His feet are very fast.' I laughed, because it is very true. He has amazing foot speed, and rides very much like a Thoroughbred."

 

Caitlyn Shiels and Cavalier II finished four seconds off of Jacquin's time with a double clear ride in 36.585 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire and Lady Maria BH, owned by David Gochman, finished as the last of the clean rides, stopping the clock in a conservative 39.244 seconds.

 

Jacquin concluded, "We are glad to be back. It is beautiful here, and having Stadium Jumping managing the show is wonderful. I have always been a fan of Stadium Jumping. When you go to a lot of horse shows, good management makes a difference. I am glad they are here, and I think they are going to do great things."

 

It has been an amazing two days for Liz Atkins, of Benchmark Stables, at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. After winning the 1.35m Open Jumpers on Wednesday with Esconial, she decided to move the 10-year-old gelding into the 1.40m Open Jumpers in preparation for the $25,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Amberway Equine. 

 

Liz Atkins and Esconial

 

"I could not be happier with that horse," Atkins smiled. "After the way he jumped today, and the way he rode today, I am feeling so good about going into the Welcome Stake tomorrow. He feels fantastic. He loves it here."

 

Atkins returned to the ring with Undine, a mare she has jumped in several regional grand prix events with, but is now working on consistency.

 

"I have been kind of going up and down with her a little bit to keep her consistent and she jumped beautiful in the 1.35m yesterday and today she jumped it easy here," Atkins said. "I am really loving Keith's courses as they are really nice to ride. They ride spot on, and they are lovely. This is my first time jumping his courses, and I am liking them, so they must be good luck. I am going to keep my eye out for when he is designing."

 

Liz Atkins and Undine


Atkins took the first place finish in 35.125 seconds with Esconial, and second place with 35.615 seconds aboard Undine. Third place was awarded to Lauren Bardy and Calvin Van Het Wuitenshof for their clean jump-off time of 36.565 seconds.

 

The outside vertical-vertical double combination with four strides to an oxer saw several rails fall, but Atkins stayed careful through the line, saying, "Everything rode beautifully."

 

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival continues tomorrow with the $25,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Amberway Equine, the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Saturday, and the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan set to take place Sunday afternoon.

  

For more information or to view schedules, please visit www.stadiumjumping.com  or www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com