Gulfport, Miss.—March 11
Amanda “Happy” Comly had a very important phone call to make following the $25,000 Sidelines Grand Prix at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic 5—to her mother Amely Comly, who she described as her biggest fan.
Though Amely doesn’t make it to shows outside of Happy’s home state of Texas often, she embraced using modern technology to keep up with results.
“She’s texting me every day,” said Happy. “She’s on the internet looking up results. ‘Congratulations with this horse.’ ‘What happened with this horse?’
“Where would we be without that support?” she asked, with emotion creeping into her voice. “She’s there whenever she can be, and when she’s not she’s demanding minute-to-minute updates from my clients. ‘How’d the first round go? How did this one do? How many are in the jump-off? Did she go too fast? Tell her not to go too fast?’ ”
Happy’s got some pretty exciting news to share, as the win in the grand prix marked her first with her 9-year-old mount Clock-Wise CSH.
“I’ve won welcome stakes before, but it’s the first time winning a prix with him since I got him, so she’s going to be over the moon about that, and I love that support system,” said Happy. “The other horse that I ride [A&A Baltazar, who finished ninth] is my sister’s horse, so I’m going to have to call her and tell her how he did.”
Clock-Wise CSH, an Oldenburg (Sanvaro—Aida Diva, Guidam) bred by Gestuet Lewiz, is still a relatively new ride for Happy. She purchased him last summer from Kyle Timm with hopes that he’d be an FEI mount for her. They made their first foray into FEI competition in October of last year at the Tryon International Equestrian Center [North Carolina], and she hopes to return there this fall and see how they’ve progressed.
“We’re still learning each other a little bit especially when it comes to jump-offs and riding fast,” said Happy. “You never go home and practice doing inside turns or long runs and galloping. You’re always practicing collected and nice form, so when you do get to the jump-off it’s kind of a test. Did everything pay off with all of the exercises you did? You kind of have to start testing what you can or can’t do in the jump-off with certain horses, but he was so game today.”
And Sunday’s grand prix wasn’t exactly something Happy had been practicing for. The class was scheduled to take place on the grass field, after rain descended onto the Harrison County Fairgrounds for several hours in the morning and early-afternoon, organizers elected to move the remainder of the day’s classes to a sand ring.
“We’ve done grand prixes in the dirt ring before but never on him,” said Happy. “The first course was a very nice flowy course. I thought I didn’t ride it very well on him. I thought it was a little bit edgy. It could have been smoother, and he helped me out in a couple places. The jump-off was a really nice course. There were open gallops and then some rollbacks and technical parts, but it was smooths still. I thought he and I really clicked in that jump-off. We really were on the same page.”
Due to the rain, the original start list of 18 dwindled to 11, but the field still had plenty of strong contenders, and six advanced to the jump-off. Scott Lenkart was just a hair slower on Ziezo to finish second. Shannon Hicks, who has been on a hot streak after winning the past three grand prix classes, took third with Emir D.