Gulfport, MS - February 13, 2011 - The winter chills were brief, then Mother nature rolled out the blue skies and warmer temps to welcome exhibitors back to the Gulf Coast Winter Classics. Competition was heated in both the Hunter and Jumper Divisions with the first Championship awards up for grabs.
Wearing some of the first Tri Color ribbons was Franklin, TN’s pride Kelly Mullen with Last Tango owned by Susan Meyers in the First Year Green Hunters and in the Pre Green Hunters it was Applewood, owned by Anne Doolittle, with Kelly in the irons. For the Amateur Owner Hunters it was Kaitlin Porath of Camden, SC partnered with OC taking the Champion title. In the Adult Amateurs, for the younger section it was the Lindsey Gengo entry Flippin’ Murmur with rider Ashley Herndon taking the top spot, in the middle Adults- owner/rider Laura Hauser wore the number one and took mount Muse to that place each time, and for the mature Adults it was owner-rider Jane Olsen with best friend Catanio accepting the Champion rosette.
From the Jumper Divisions; owner/rider Lila Sessums with Continental B clinched the Junior-Amateur Owner Meter 1.20 Championship while Taylor Gardner rode Sarto (owned by Adriane Tritask) for top honors in the Children’s Jumper section. However, on Sunday morning it was Lebanon, OH based Ryan Genn who grabbed the brass ring, winning the EMO Insurance sponsored $10,000 Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic aboard new mount Marlo. “She’s great! I’m having a lot of fun with her.” Genn commented.
After nearly a 7 year absence from the Gulf Coast, Daniel Geitner, owner-trainer of Aiken, SC based DFG Stables remerged as a force to be reckoned with. Geitner, who is recovering from a broken wrist, started his week with a Championship in the Conformation Hunters aboard the Elizabeth “Liz” Tarumianz owned Bonafide. “He’s just a neat horse to ride.” Geitner said. Then Geitner witnessed what he refers to as the best part of being a trainer on Friday, when Liz took top honors in the USHJA Hunter Classic with “Bo”. Most of Geitner’s week was spent collecting top ribbons in various hunter and jumper divisions. “Having a terrific time here!” Geitner said with a mischievous grin.
If you were to ask Daniel about Valentine’s Sweethearts he would no doubt gush about his wonderful wife Cathy, but this Sunday afternoon Sympa gave Geitner her heart by winning the $25,000 Grand Prix of Gulfport sponsored by Nutrena. The 12 year-old Rheinland mare owned by Mrs. Charles Bostwick earned 14 top ten placings during 2010 under Geitner’s guidance. “She was phenomenal!” Geitner complimented of his “Sweetheart” du jour. Course designer Allen Rheinheimer had prepared a 13 fence, 14 effort layout complete with a double combination- vertical in, oxer out, a triple combination towards the bottom of the track, plus the dreaded triple bar-all spanning the vast grass field via tricky turns and all to be done in less than 93 seconds. Geitner’s other big challenge today was going head to head with Wilhelm Genn and his speedster mare Happy Z. “Two fast mares, anything can happen.” Geitner chuckled.
The sticky point on the course may have actually been the time allowed. “It [the time] probably was the toughest part, two related lines, both in and out lines, the rest of them were off your eye so you really had to make sure you jumped and stayed galloping. You couldn’t jump and pull on the reins to the next jump. I think that may have caused a few rails out there.” Geitner shared. Sympa kept both her momentum and perfect balance landing a clean time of 88.306. And time was the deciding factor for Genn and Happy Z who rode a fault free round rail wise, but ended with one time fault, 93.121, keeping them from advancing to the jump off. However, Genn did put two other mounts into contention with clear rides- Kalinero Du Galete (owned by Whitney Goulart) in 91.247 and his own Copyright 3 with a time of 92.716. Joining them would be local favorite Vicky Miller of Gulfport, MS riding the Showcase 81 entry Cincinnati clean in 91.293, and Columbus, NC’s own Vick Russell with the Lillian Hahn owned Lucky One with a clear time of 90.495.
Spectators packed in bleachers and along the sidelines of the field were full of anticipation for the final 50 second limited round of 7 fences, 8 big efforts that would conclude with a rolling turn off an oxer to race safely over the tall vertical finish line. “I saw Wilhelm [with Copyright 3 ] and knew he was fast across the ground, so I just had to try to make those two inside turns and hope that we’d leave them up.” Add to this strategy the duo pulling off one of the sharpest pin point turns and you have an audience gasping in excitement that seemed to spur Sympa on. “She was amazing- just amazing!” Geitner beamed.
Official results for the $25,000 Grand Prix of Gulfport were:
- 1st Daniel Geitner & Sympa owned by Mrs. Charles Bostwick 0 Faults 44.272
- 2nd Wilhelm Genn & Copyright 3 owned by Genn 0 Faults 46.539
- 3rd Vick Russell & Lucky One owned by Lillian Hahn 0 Faults 48.140
- 4th Vicky Miller & Cincinnati owned by Showcase 81 0 Faults 49.535
- 5th Wilhelm Genn & Kalinero Du Galete owned by Whitney Goulart 4 Faults 48.695
- 6th Wilhelm Genn & Happy Z owned by Genn 1 Faults 93.121
- 7th Theo Genn & Zarafa owned by Blue Wolf Farm Farm 4 Faults 88.111
- 8th Daniel Geitner & Trading Places owned by Kyle Register 4 Faults 89.789
- 9th Maggie Sarmiento & Ultaire owned by Janet McCarroll 4 Fault 89.909
- 10th Theo Genn & Paradox owned by Thomas Bruinsma 4 Faults 92.822
- 11th Wilhelm Genn & Winchester owned by Bridlebourne Stables 4 Faults 96.187
- 12th Vick Russell & Boudicca owned by Russell 7 Faults 96.187
The Gulfport Winter Classics continues with more hunter/jumper action through March 13th . 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 2011 Gulf Coast Winter Classics please visit www.classiccompany.com or www.horseshowsonline.com or call the show office at 228-832-2745.
Photos: Daniel Geitner & Sympa, Liz Tarumianz & Bonafide ©Flashpoint Photography