Conyers, GA - The Atlanta Spring Classics series closed this Easter weekend under perfect blue skies and more heated competition among hunters and jumpers.
Held at the Georgia International Horse Park, home of the 1996 Olympics, in Conyers, GA, the two-week event presented by The Classic Company came to a close this afternoon with the announcement of division champions. “We’ve had two weeks of glorious showing here in Conyers with great weather, good rings, and some of the best talent around. Who could ask for more?" quipped event manager Bob Bell.
Local hero Terry Brown of Canton, GA repeated her victory as this week’s division champion in the combined 2nd Year Green and Regular Working Hunters aboard the Sandy Gregory owned Formality. Brown also picked up a Champion title in the Pre Green Hunters with the Margaret Ellen Weaver entry Euphoria. Woodstock, GA resident Julie Curtin returned to the winners circle riding the Karen Frandsen owned Empire to another 1st Year Green Working division champion award. And Lauren Kissel of Canton, GA brought Janet Salem’s Soiree to top honors in the Baby Green Hunter section.
Over in the Jumper arena, the Land’s of Alpharetta, GA kept their winning streak alive as the patriarch of the family, Jay Land rode daughter Frances’ new mount Look Real to the number one spot in Thursday afternoon’s $5,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake presented by The Farm House. Land bested ten first round survivors in the Allen Rheinheimer designed 47 second, 8 obstacle jump off round with a time of 34.014. Second place went to Frances Land and partner Merlin with a clean ride time of 35.257. Third place to Alex Granato aboard the Hillary Butt owned Clever and Smart with a clean time of 36.215. Fourth place went to Derek Petersen riding Lazaro for owner Jordan Coyne with a clean 36.893. And completing the top five was Michael Tokaruk with mount Roger Rabbit finishing faultless in 37.091.
The main attraction of the week was on Friday afternoon at the $25,000 Atlanta Spring Grand Prix sponsored by The Classic Company. After giving his string of show jumpers the winter season off, Daniel Geitner, owner of Aiken, SC based DFG Stables returned in top form to lead the victory gallop aboard Sympa, the 10 year-old Rheinland mare owned by Mrs. Charles Bostwick. “I rode hunters most of the winter in Florida so I might be feeling a little rusty now. It was a tough course, especially a little later with some shadows coming into play. Then the triple [6abc] at the gate, I think the horses started galloping towards the gate and they get their eye on the in gate and didn’t quite focus in on the triple combination.” Geitner said of the 16 effort and 90 second allowed layout Rheinheimer created. Last week’s victor Taylor Land and Karonda V. Schl’Hof were the first to produce a clean round with a quick time of 82.503. Archer, FL resident Derek Petersen paired with Lazaro (owned by Jordan Coyne) followed and assured a jump off with their clean time of 82.28. Sympa and Geitner would ride at the bottom of the order and post a flawless time of 81.820. “She [Sympa] was rock solid through everything. And the field/footing was beautiful.” Geitner said of his partner.
A mere 8 would advance to the jump off round of 8 fences and a time allowance of 49 seconds. Petersen and Lazaro were the first to successfully score a double clear ride, clocking a time of 39.341. The pair seemed unstoppable, until Geitner and Sympa crossed the last obstacle cleanly in 39.100 leaving only one horse to challenge their newly acquired lead. “It was a tough-tough jump off!” Geitner began after catching his breath, “Several really tight rollbacks, the second to last jump-the vertical had that panel under it we didn’t jump in the first round so that was a little spooky off a short turn. It was tricky and it was kind of a long gallop all the way around the field to do that tight turn.” Geitner spoke of the final run. Geitner mused he felt lucky to go after Derek Petersen and snickered when explaining that Petersen “didn’t leave a whole lot of doors open. He made me work for it.” Geitner is happy to be back in the jumper ring after a well deserved break and will continue the season’s “come back tour” at next week’s Camden Spring Fling followed by a leisurely week off for both horses and himself.
Presenting awards this afternoon was Classic Company president Bob Bell who commented, “This was a great class to complete our Spring series. The competitors were wonderful and we’re already looking forward to everyone’s return in June for the summer series.”
Official Results for the $25,000 Atlanta Spring Grand Prix
- 1st Daniel Geitner & Sympa Owned by Mrs. Charles Bostwick Clear 39.100
- 2nd Derek Peterson & Lazaro Owned by Jordan Coyne Clear 39.341
- 3rd Michael Tokaruk & Roger Rabbit Owned by Tokaruk Clear 40.412
- 4th Kitt Ritter & Jumbo Jet Owned by Ann Ritter Clear 42.518
- 5th Jay Land & Look Real Owned by Frances Land 4 Faults 40.695
For more information or complete results on the 2010 Atlanta Spring Classics please visit www.classiccompany.com or call the office at 843-768-5503.
Photo: Daniel Geitner & Sympa ©Flashpoint Photography