Gulfport, MS - Translated to English, “let the good times roll” easily sums up the series that Lebanon, OH based Wilhelm Genn continues to enjoy in Gulfport with two $25,000 Grand Prix victories this week. Riding the Laura Ryan-Barnaclo owned Chantal, on Friday Genn celebrated victory in the $25,000 EMO Insurance sponsored Grand Prix and again on Sunday in the $25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix.
2008 Beijing Olympic co-course designer Steve Stephens arrived in Gulfport with one goal in mind, to test the mettle of week three’s competitors over his infamously complicated layouts. Friday’s $25,000 EMO prix consisted of 12 fences-15 efforts, which included 3 sets of double combinations, two triple bars, and several tight rollback turns all set across the vast grass field with the expectation of completing the course cleanly in less than 90 seconds. Genn partnered with his chestnut fireball, the 12 year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Happy Z were the first of 30 entries to take on Stephen’s quiz, “I thought it was a good course. Similar to last week I was concerned that it could have been a little bigger, but again it was built to be careful. And it was a very careful course!” Happy Z posted the first clean time of 86.021 and only ten others would duplicate her feat.
Among them Columbus, NC resident and show jumping veteran Vick Russell piloting Creed for owner Helen Terranova with a clear round in 86.438, two slots later it was Kelsey Baker riding the Oxford Holding Company entry Lucy Lectric III coming in clear with a time of 84.710 and five rides later Genn added the 12 year-old Holsteiner Chantal’s name to the jump off list with a time of 86.054. “This was a course of keeping your horse sharp everywhere; you could have gotten a rail any place.” Genn offered an opinion to the numerous rails dropping in round one.
With 54 seconds allowed, the deciding round of 6 fences-8 efforts was full of twists and a couple of hot spots- the 6AB off a bending turn and a tight left turn to the 9AB combo of triple bar in and vertical out, that would dash the hopes of most of the field, including Happy Z. “She jumped high and maybe just stalled a little bit in the air. Normally she jumps really good on those tough left turns, that’s how she’s won many prix by coming in tight on a left turn, but unfortunately it didn’t work out this time.” Genn said. Vick Russell and Creed were successful with a clean ride of 42.602, three horses later Genn and Chantal galloped onto the field and into the lead with a clear run of 40.575.
“Chantal’s just a great horse who gets better each outing,” the smiling Genn said of his partner. The majority of rails came down at the 6AB combination, “It was a pretty high vertical going in and the inside was a short distance where the horses had to rock back and then the oxer had a real wide spread.” Genn explained. Only one other horse would clear the second round, Copyright 3 another entry of Genn’s registered a time of 40.699. “He’s young but starting to come along nicely.” Genn said.
Final top five results for the $25,000 EMO Grand Prix were:
- 1st Place- Wilhelm Genn & Chantal o-Laura Ryan-Barnaclo 40.575 0 Faults
- 2nd Place- Wilhelm Genn & Copyright 3 o-Genn 40.699 0 Faults
- 3rd Place- Vick Russell & Creed o-Helen Terranova 42.602 0 Faults
- 4th Place- Wilhelm Genn & Happy Z o-Wilhelm Genn 41.646 4 Faults
- 5th Place- Kelsey Baker & Lucy Lectric III o-Oxford Holding Co. 41.668 4 Faults
Awards for Division Champions from the Hunter Rings also began on Friday, some of the highlights included:
- 1st Year Green-Robin Hood Z owned by Patricia Jenkins and ridden by Holly Shepherd.
- 2nd Year Green -Daily Devotion owned by Valinda Moore and shown by Colleen Acosta.
- Regular Working- Primera owned by Helen Gilbert and ridden by Christina Jason
- Conformation Hunter- Dubari owned by Gayle Cox with Will Roberts in the irons.
Another Cajun expression Lagniappe (lan yap), “something extra”, best describes Friday’s exhibitor party! The community of Harrison County welcomed riders back with a bounty of delicious local cuisine, festive music, and down home warmth. More than 1400 pounds of crawfish (boiled right on the spot), 700 pounds of shrimp, 400 pounds of spiced chicken, another 400 pounds of fried catfish and barbeque ribs, and more extras than one could wish for were served. Topping off the evening was some toe tapping live music. “Now this is how to celebrate a victory!” exclaimed Wilhelm Genn this week’s big winner.
Sunday morning found the crowds already settling around the grass field the day’s featured events. Starting with the $15,000 NHJL Nordic Lights Farm Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic. Designer Steve Stephens didn’t give away the big money, the field of competitors had to survive a technical layout that in the end became a two horse race between Frances Land of Atlanta, GA aboard Merlin and Denise Wilson of Dousman, WI riding Corsavita. Land and Merlin were first in the jump off with a fast time of 35.072, but when a rail dropped giving them 4 faults off bets seemed off. Wilson followed but also had a rail down and a time of 38.106. Land and Merlin happily took the 4 fault victory. Wilson and Corsavita were 2nd, Eirin Bruheim with Cicero 75 finished 3rd in 75.820 and 4 faults, Lillian Hahn and Lucky One were 4th with 8 faults in 73.970, and completing the top 5 was Michael Burnett paired with Iron also with 8 faults in 74.880.
Closing out the third week of exciting show jumping action was Sunday afternoon’s $25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix with a highly energized field of 28 competitors ready to take on Steve Stephens’ technical 13 obstacle [16 effort] course in less than the allotted 93 seconds. Second in the order of go, Amanda Flint of Tewksbury, NJ aboard the Kathleen Kamine entry Texas Hold’Em were the first pair clear in 90.357. Following was Wilhelm Genn with Happy Z who ensured a jump off with a clear ride of 86.350. The 8th in the order Denise Wilson brought Life is Life 15 clean for owner Blue Gate Farm in 88.860. Also joining the party was Magnolia, TX based Tony Font aboard the YZ Partners LLC owned Gardenio in 88.730 and fellow Texan Whitney Owens of San Antonio riding the DS Holdings entry Santina H to a clear time of 84.820. As the first round closed Wilhelm Genn had managed to add three more mounts to the jump off, Copyright 3 (owned by Genn) in 86.976, Loredo owned by Michela Kennedy in 87.760, and Chantal for owner Laura Ryan-Barnaclo in 87.022. In all nine horses would advance to the final round.
When asked how, given his horses’ continued triumphs week after week, Genn manages to keep his string of mounts in tune and so sound the pro said, “Simple- not over jumping. They maybe jump 35 to 40 classes during a whole year. Not really a lot in comparison to how many some others go into. Given that I know my horses so well, I don’t usually jump extra classes during a week- unless it’s the first time I’ve been to a show, then I’ll take each into one class to get them accustom to the new ring. And then I just do the Welcomes and Grand Prix. Often only a Welcome if they need a warm-up.” He went on to explain further scenarios such as multi week events, like their arrival in Gulfport, meant rotating the horses so that each gets a week off to relax. “The first week here they all took off. And I vary their schedules- one week some will only do the Prix or a level class but with no jump off round. We also do a lot of flatting, conditioning them –good feeding program and balancing all that’s in their best interest.” Genn said.
Coming into the 8 fence [10 effort] finale Genn’s “conditioning” certainly came into play with bending lines and the need to be airy, as evidenced by the curve into and over the #9 triple bar and a short few strides to the #10 skinny plank vertical. Amanda Flint and Texas Hold’Em survived the dreaded plank and posted the first clear run in 55.650-nearly 4 seconds below the allowed 59. Genn and Happy Z would have a bit of bad luck as a knick of the plank cost them 4 faults in 49.980. “This was a really good Chantal jump off! I just knew I could be faster with him, his big stride, cutting it to 4 [strides] where others did 5. He loves this kind of jump off- he could gallop shave the turn, keep the gallop and turn back. He’s really good at that.” Genn said. Indeed Chantal could and did love the tracks finishing clear in a fast 48.092 to clinch the win. “He’s really in tune with me.” a grateful Genn added of Chantal.
Final results found Chantal and Wilhelm Genn in first place for the second time this week with a clear ride in 48.092. Whitney Owens and Santina H captured the 2nd spot with a clean 50.250. Third place went to Wilhelm Genn riding Copyright 3 in a clear time of 50.280. Fourth place went to Alex Granato with Mad Season clean in 51.094. And Amanda Flint completed the top five with Texas Hold’Em finishing clear in a time of 55.650.
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.
Photo: Wilhelm Genn & Chantal and Frances Land & Merlin ©Flashpoint Photography