Chrissy Lane/PMG

Horse Shows by the Bay is a three-week long equestrian festival held at the Flintfields Horse Park in Traverse City, Michigan. It runs from July 16 through August 3, and it features a $25,000 grand prix each week.

On Sunday, July 20, the $25,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix of Traverse City will kick-off at 2:30 p.m. in the Team Elmer’s Ring. Before that, there will be a Reining Demonstration featuring Local Expert Tom Pierson in the Team Elmer’s Ring at 2 p.m. At 2:15, the show will host the charming leadline class.

The Grand Prix features horses that compete in the jumper discipline. Jumpers are judged solely on their ability to jump obstacles. Style doesn’t count; jumper classes are purely athletic tests of speed and strength. Jumper courses are very demanding, calling for technical accuracy on the part of the rider and absolute obedience on the part of the horse. They are required to complete a course of approximately 11 to 16 jumps ranging in height from 3’6” to 5 feet or more with spreads of up to 6 feet, depending on the division in which they compete.

Jumper classes are offered at an assortment of levels for riders and horses of all ages and experience. At Horse Shows by the Bay, show jumping events start at Level 2 (3’3” in height & width) and cap off at the Regional Grand Prix Standard (4’3” to 4’9” in height & width). The weekly $3,000 Open Speed and $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome serve as primers for experienced riders and horses wishing to show in the featured big money weekend $10,000 JR/AO Prix and $25,000 Grand Prix. Each Prix is open to Junior and Amateur Owner Riders; however the Grand Prix is the only event open to Professionals as well.

The name “grand prix” is French for richest or greatest prize. It is the most challenging or sophisticated level of competition in a particular sport.

Spycoast Farm is a 24 acre farm located on the northern coastline of Long Island, NY, on a peninsula called Strongs Neck.  The farm is owned by the Lourie Family and specializes in the breeding and early development of top quality hunter and jumper performance horses.  Look for the Spy Coast Farm riders Shane Sweetnam and Julie Lourie piloting one of their many winning horses in the Team Elmer’s Grand Prix Ring during Series I and II.   

Photo(s) by Chrissy Lane/PMG