The 11th Annual Traverse City Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival kicked off on Wednesday, July 2nd in Traverse City, Michigan. This Northern Michigan sports event and festival is hosted each year in one of the nation’s premier vacation destinations. Horse Shows by the Bay welcomes a roster of competitors from more than 30 states and Canada. MyNorth would like to thank Horse Shows by the Bay for the following information.

Henry Pfeiffer

Henry Pfeiffer

Scott Stewart earned the first blue ribbon of the 2014 Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival. Scott Stewart had the honor of winning the first blue ribbon of the 2014 season. He handled Fredrick, a horse owned by David Gochman, to the top spot in the Conformation Hunter Model.

Stewart, of Flemington, New Jersey, is a five-time WCHR Professional Finals winner, and this is the first time he’s traveled to Traverse City for Horse Shows by the Bay.

“The lake is beautiful and the weather is nice,” he said of his first impressions. “At home it’s 94 degrees they say, so this [cool] weather is good. We’re staying two weeks, and the Gochmans will stay the whole time. I brought some Pre-Green horses, and then I’m riding some for the Gochmans.”

In addition to the Model win, Stewart and Fredrick also jumped to two blue ribbons over fences in the Conformation Hunter section and won the under saddle for a commanding lead going into tomorrow’s final two classes.

“This is our second show with him; we bought him from the Thatchers after Devon,” said Stewart. “Becky [Gochman] was champion with him at Fairfield [Connecticut] in the 3’3 “Amateur-Owners, so he was great. This was the first time I’ve shown him.”

scott stewart

Scott Stewart

Stewart also collected top ribbons in a variety of other classes, including the 3′ Pre-Green Hunter section aboard Celebration and Trust, who swapped first- and second-placed honors for Rivers Edge.

Trainer Sarah Mechlin, of Mechlin Farm in Wright City, Missouri, enjoyed a banner opening day, taking wins in the First Year Green Hunter section with Sarah Portell’s Cheveaux and in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter section aboard Debra Gross’ Rhythmicon.

Cheveaux is a 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Indoctro–Oilily) that Mechlin imported from the Netherlands in January of 2013. “He’s a great horse,” she said. “His owner does him in the 3’3″ Junior Hunters, and I do him in the First Years.”

She said Cheveaux felt amazing today despite the challenges of a new venue and beautifully decorated ring, with courses set by Scott Starnes and Robert McGregor.

“It’s kind of an imposing ring, because when we practice [the rings] don’t have the flowers or the decorations,” said Mechlin. “So, when we walked in I thought, ‘Here goes nothing!’ He just jumped wonderfully for me.”

This is Mechlin’s third season at Horse Shows by the Bay, and each year she’s become more entrenched.

“The first year I came up I just rode for Heather Irvine the last couple of weeks, and then last year I just brought Cheveaux and rode Heather’s horses. But this year is really fun because I have 11 in my own barn and Heather’s to ride,” said Mechlin.

In the Take 2 Hunters, Rhythmicon jumped to first and second over fences and collected the first of many ribbons for trainer Heather Irvine’s Hillside Farm banner.

“I tease Heather and tell them at the barn that I want to start every day with ‘Bear.’ He sets the rhythm. You go in and pick up the canter, and it never changes,” she said. “He’s 100 percent reliable, and he’s the same every time you bring him out. He’s a blast to ride.”

Irvine, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, has been a Horse Shows by the Bay supporter and sponsor since the early years and enjoys her trip North each summer. She brought a dozen horses for Series I and the number will double over the course of the four weeks.

Sara Melchin

Sara Melchin

Rhythmicon, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, is back to defend the 2013 Horse Shows by the Bay circuit title that he earned in the Adult Amateur, 36-49, Hunter section with Terri Irrer.

“Years ago, he was a little bit difficult, but now he’s point and shoot,” said Irvine of Rhythmicon. “Terri rides well, and she wins a lot. Debra has been hugely supportive of the horses and the industry and anything we need. Rhythmicon was our first horse to show, so it was a great way to start.”

Each year Irvine sponsors the Hillside Farm High-Score Hunter Awards, which are presented during Series II as part of the USHJA/WCHR Awards Program.

In the Horse Shows by the Bay Grand Prix Ring, Henry Pfeiffer motored to impressive performances in the opening class, the 1.20m Jumpers, with 43 entries.

Pfeiffer rode to victory aboard Triple Bar LLC’s Zyminka and placed second with Rebecca Cohen’s Belunga. It was an excellent start for trainer Polly Howard-Coberley and the Fox Meadow Farm team of Temperance, Michigan.

At the conclusion of the first day, show manager and owner Alex Rheinheimer expressed her enthusiasm for the 11th season.

“Each year we work to improve the show, and this year the first day went incredibly smooth thanks to the tireless work from the staff,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have everyone here to enjoy the show, from our loyal friends and supporters to the many new people experiencing Horse Shows by the Bay for the first time. I’m looking forward to a great month!”

Horse Shows by the Bay Fast Facts:

Horse Shows by the Bay is a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Premier (AA) Hunter and Level 4 Jumper competition.


  • Series I: July 2-6
  • Series II: July 9-13 (USHJA/WCHR Member Event)
  • Series III: July 16-20 ($25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby)
  • Series IV: July 23-27 (HJAM Equitation Medal Finals)

Featured events for Horse Shows by the Bay Series I — July 2–6:

  • Weekly $40,000 Grand Prix
  • Weekly $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Prix
  • Weekly $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
  • Weekly $1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program Stake Classes
  • Weekly TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter/Jumper Classes
  • Weekly Charity Fundraisers & Special Spectator Days
  • $1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Stake Class, sponsored by PJP Farm, Inc – Thursday, July 4
  • $2,500 1.40m Jumper Speed Stake, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone – Thursday, July 3
  • $10,000 Postive Step Farm Open Jumper Welcome Prix – Friday, July 4
  • $10,000 SJHOF High Jr/AO Jumper Prix – Saturday, July 5
  • $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Walgreens – Sunday, July 6
  • $2,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 6
  • $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 6
  • $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 6
  • $40,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City – Sunday, July 6

Special Exhibitor functions during Series I include: the Coldwell Banker Schmidt Wine & Cheese Social featuring local winery Black Star Farm on Thursday; a weekend ice cream social sponsored by the Gochman Family; and the Morgan Stanley VIP/Sponsor Luncheon on Sunday during the Grand Prix.

The Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival is located 10 miles east of downtown Traverse City, Michigan. Nearby tourist destinations include the famed Torch Lake Sandbar, which was recently named the clearest lake in the continental United States by and the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which was voted by “Good Morning America” viewers as the Most Beautiful Place in America.

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