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Traverse City Horse Shows Just Added $260k in Prize Money—for Hunters!

Show riders have long bemoaned the low purses offered in hunter divisions.

Traverse City Horse Show (TCHS) is looking to change that in 2021.

The Michigan-based series has added a new hunter incentive program with a chance to compete for a whopping $260,000 in guaranteed prize money at the Traverse City Hunter Finals and the Traverse City Derby Finals in September.

The two Finals will run concurrently during the 51st edition of the American Gold Cup, Sept. 15–19 and include the following classes:

$25,000 3′ / 3’3″ Green Hunter Traverse City Final 
$25,000 3’6″ / 3’9″ Green Hunter Traverse City Final
$25,000 3’3″ Jr Hunter Traverse City Final
$25,000 3’6″ Jr Hunter Traverse City Final
$25,000 3’3″ A/O Hunter Traverse City Final
$25,000 3’6″ A/O Hunter Traverse City Final
$50,000 Performance Horse Hunter Final (3’3″, 3’6″, 3’9″, 4′)
$50,000 Traverse City 3′ Derby Finals (Pro)
$25,000 Traverse City 3′ Derby Finals (Non Pro)

Here’s where it gets interesting. Those purses could potentially get much higher with Traverse City’s innovative opt-in incentive program.

Starting Wednesday, June 9 with the Traverse City Spring Horses Show, the opt-in incentive program will run throughout the 12 weeks of competition. Enrollment fees start at $750 for the Hunter Finals and $1,000 for the Derby Finals if registered before July 15—with 70% of the fee being allocated as add back prize money for each division final.

That means, if just 30 Amateur Owner hunter riders opt-in for the 3’3″ Traverse City Final incentive program, the purse goes up to more than $40,000. If 100 opt-in, it goes up to $77,500!

Horses not enrolled in the incentive program will still be eligible to compete for prize money as long as they have competed for three weeks during the Traverse City show series. But they will not qualify for the add-back prize money.

“We are really excited to be able to offer this new incentive program this year to support our hunter competitors,” said TCHS event director Matt Morrissey, “As a discipline that is often overlooked when it comes to prize money and championships, we hope this new addition will set a precedent for the future of hunter competition. We are looking forward to a really exciting year!”  

Opt-in rates go up after July 15. Learn more at Traverse City Horse Shows.

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