Gulfport, MS - Lebanon, OH based Wilhelm Genn commented earlier in the season that a perfect event would have three big triumphs, one for each of his sons and one of his own. Week four of the Gulf Coast Winter Series found Genn’s fondest wish coming true.
In Thursday afternoon’s $5000 Lucky Sevens Open Jumper Welcome Stake it was Theo Genn (right) riding the Thomas Bruinsma owned Paradox, a 10 year-old Zweibruecker German Warmblood gelding, who bested both the field of 23 competitors and the technical layout of course designer Allen Rheinheimer.
“I feel like I got lucky. He’s [Paradox] still young and just moving into this level so there were several who could have beaten us. He’s still developing speed.” A very modest Theo said after a victory gallop.
Rheinheimer had an 82 second allowance in which riders were expected to weave their way successfully from one end of the vast grass field to the other while clearing 12 obstacles [15 jumping efforts] that included a double vertical combo and a triple combo of oxer into two verticals out. “It was a snaky ride, but pretty straight forward.” Theo said of their clean 79.284 first round. Eight more horses would join Paradox in the jump off, among them Theo’s dad Wilhelm with the up and coming mount Loredo, owned by Micaela Kennedy. The abbreviated 8 fence- 46 second layout had a beat the clock theme as its design was one for a quick pace and quick thinking. While speed was not an issue for most, being delicate over the plank vertical was. In total only 3 riders had a second clear run. “You had to be careful and fast. Paradox was great!" a happy Theo said of their winning clear time of 39.332.
Top Five placing in the $5,000 Lucky Sevens Open Jumper Welcome Stake were:
- 1st - Theo Genn riding Paradox –owned by Thomas Bruinsma – Clean 39.332
- 2nd - Laurie Jakubauskas riding Mirage-owned by Jakubauskas – Clean 39.562
- 3rd - Amanda Flint riding Volumia-owned by Clarice Davey- Clean 40.640
- 4th - Devin Ryan riding No Worries-owned by Barbara Rowland- 4 Faults 37.324
- 5th - Chris Nelson riding Inside Out-owned by Lazy Creek Ranch- 4 Faults 38.994
Sunday morning’s $15,000 NHJL Nordic Lights Junior-Amateur Jumper Classics found the youngest Genn, Ryan (left) beating out 17 tough riders with his mount Poco 3. “The horse was awesome!” Ryan began with a compliment of his 14 year-old Westphalian partner, owned by parents Patty and Wilhelm, “There were only three double clean and I had the privilege of going last so I knew what to do.” His confidence was evidenced by clearing the first round in 87.530 seconds, safely below the allowed 90. Returning to the final round Ryan found the hardest competition would be with himself, making smart choices to beat both the riders and 49 second allowance.
“I left out a stride to the last jump, it was a 9 stride to the oxer, everyone did the 9 and I left one out and did 8 there. I think that’s where I ended up winning the class.” Ryan explained his strategy. However, rather than go on about the victory the younger Genn changed the subject to his favorite mount Poco, “He’s got the best personality! Everyone loves him. When I get too close [to the rails] he likes to kick out and everyone loves it- he’s a crowd pleaser.” the laughing Ryan said. The pair is looking forward to two more weeks of making spectators smile.
Official results for the $15,000 NHJL Nordic Lights JR-AM Jumper Classic were:
- 1st - Poco 3 owned by Patty & Wilhelm Genn and ridden by Ryan Genn Clear 48.040
- 2nd - Corsavita owned by Blue Gate Farm and ridden by Denise Wilson 1 Fault 49.870
- 3rd - Iron owned and ridden by Michael Burnett 3 Faults 51.930
- 4th - CR Aryenne owned and ridden by Brett Gage 4 Faults 78.190
- 5th - NLF Trans Atlantic owned and ridden by Eirin Bruheim 4 Faults 80.360
And rounding out the Genn Family Week was Papa Wilhelm Genn taking the top three spots in the featured event on Sunday afternoon, the $25,000 Harrison County Grand Prix presented by Harrison County Tourism. Rheinheimer spared nothing in his 16 effort layout that encompassed virtually the entire grass field with fierce roll backs, combinations, sweeping tracks, lots of technical questions and a time limitation of 95 seconds. From the 32 slated to compete only 8 would survive to the jump off round and of those Wilhelm Genn piloted half.
However this day belonged to his phenomenal 12 year-old Dutch bred mare Happy Z. After posting a first round time of 89.830 giving the audience one of her trademark “Yippee” kicks, it was clear she meant business. "She felt good today-she was sharper.” Genn said of his mare and then explained Happy’s first victory of the Gulf series may result partially from a “Jumping School” the pro put her through a couple of days before the Prix. “You know when you do the same thing over and over again, all of a sudden it becomes such a routine that you’re going to make some mistakes. So I took her out of that by making her try a little bit harder on the exercises we did and she felt super today.” Genn said. Joining Happy Z in the final round with Genn in the irons would be three time winner Chantal clean in 85.020, Copyright 3 clear in 88.050, and Loredo clean in 90.120. “It was an awesome course, a good national class. Big oxers. I think that was the biggest track we’ve jumped here. It rode beautiful.”
Genn said of the first round. When asked about the difficulty in preparing 4 horses for a Prix Genn joked, “Well they were all clean so it didn’t really hurt me! But seriously, it just takes preparation mentally and physically, because there all 4 very different horses. Happy is small and very set in her ways so I have to be open minded when I warm her up, I can’t just do my thing. I have to get on, see how she feels, and adjust my warm up accordingly. Chantal- he’s pretty consistent with his warm up, just have to make sure he’s mentally in it. Loredo I have to challenge a little bit and then I have the green one, Copyright, who I have to pamper a bit because he’s still fragile mentally, so he’s the one I have to be the most careful with.”
A true serpentine design, the jump off’s 8 efforts in under 49 seconds would be the ultimate test of each pair’s endurance and agility. It became another case of quickness being the easy part as rails began to drop around the course, except Genn who closed in on another big win. “You never know where you are the next stride! Happy’s like a little rubber ball, she’s here one moment and a stride later she’s here and then there, so you have to be really focused because she’s so quick. She pushes off her front end a little, like a quarter horse and she cuts so quick to the side.” Genn said upon catching his breath after the duo’s 44.980 clean winning ride.
Also to note of the “little mare who can”, Happy Z is a mere two wins away from timing the USEF record for most Grand Prix victories among same horse and rider combos, the record is currently held by the great Robinson and Richard Spooner. “That’s a goal I’d really like to make.” Genn said. At the end of the day Genn not only won the Prix, he also had the distinction of being the only rider to go double clear- three times.
Yet the high point of the senior Genn’s day was sharing a perfect week of triumphs with both his sons. “Best win is their success.” he concluded.
Official Results for the $25,000 Harrison County Grand Prix were:
- 1st Place Happy Z owned & ridden by Wilhelm Genn Clear 44.980
- 2nd Place Chantal owned Laura Ryan-Barnaclo & ridden by Wilhelm Genn Clear 45.296
- 3rd Place Copyright 3 owned & ridden by Wilhelm Genn Clear 46.200
- 4th Place Karonda V Schl’Hof owned & ridden by Taylor Land 4 Faults 44.160
- 5th Place Loredo owned by Micaela Kennedy & ridden by Wilhelm Genn 4 Faults 47.700
The Gulfport Winter Classics continues with more hunter/jumper action through March 21st. Admission is free and the public is invited to enjoy the exciting competition throughout the week along with another $25,000 Grand Prix each Sunday afternoon.
For more information or results on the 2010 Gulf Coast Winter Classics please visit www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 228-832-2745.
Photos: Theo Genn & Paradox; Ryan Genn & Poco 3; Wilhelm Genn & Happy Z ©Flashpoint Photography