Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024

Genn And Happy Z Enjoy A Cheerful Victory At Jacksonville

They’re rewarded after battling it out in the grand prix ring with a worthy rival.

After five weeks of tough competition, Wilhelm Genn and Bill Lowry had much to smile about at the $25,000 Grubb & Ellis Grand Prix during the Jacksonville Finale, Feb. 6-10 in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
While Genn took the top spot in the class with the veteran Happy Z, it was Lowry who went home with the $10,000 Reynolds, Smith & Hills High-Point Grand Prix Rider Award.
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They’re rewarded after battling it out in the grand prix ring with a worthy rival.

After five weeks of tough competition, Wilhelm Genn and Bill Lowry had much to smile about at the $25,000 Grubb & Ellis Grand Prix during the Jacksonville Finale, Feb. 6-10 in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
While Genn took the top spot in the class with the veteran Happy Z, it was Lowry who went home with the $10,000 Reynolds, Smith & Hills High-Point Grand Prix Rider Award.

“Before the class, I said whoever wins the bonus has to pay for dinner tonight,” Genn said laughing.
“I said whoever won has to take us on a fishing trip, but I said it thinking it wasn’t going to be me,” Lowry added.

The two walked the course together earlier in the evening, but the challenge that later ensued wasn’t at first realized. Genn and Lowry both said “it seemed like one of the easiest courses over the past few weeks, but we didn’t know if there would be 15 riders or three riders clear.”

Course designer Tim Hott’s first round included many verticals, with the last fence, a plank vertical, causing the most problems. “The oxers were much easier throughout the course; verticals can be confusing. The horse doesn’t gauge them correctly and they cause rails to come down,” Genn said.

“I think a lot of riders get soft, they see the last jump and they let their guard down. That’s what happened tonight, and that’s why so many people had rails at the last jump,” Lowry said.

He gathered 4 faults with Polygraaf in the first round, but he secured a jump-off spot with Rio Corde.

Genn added, “I told Theo [Genn’s son], to pretend like there were three more jumps after the last vertical. It’s not a hunter round, you can’t just lope down to the last fence.”

Along with Happy Z, Genn qualified three other horses for the jump-off, including Michaela Kennedy’s Loredo, Laura Ryan-Barnaclo’s Chantal and Cary Van Wormer’s Cedric. “I wanted to qualify all four horses for the jump-off, go as fast as possible and leave all the fences up,” Genn said wryly. “It didn’t really go according to plan.”

Genn tackled the jump-off course for the first time aboard Chantal, but they pulled a rail at the third fence, a rollback to an oxer. Lowry went second in the 11-horse jump-off, and he endured watching all of the other competitors take their turn to chase his time of 36.43 seconds.

Lowry gathered speed throughout his trip but lost valuable time in the final two turns, which included a serpentine through the last three jumps. The crowd, however, rewarded him with a roar of applause as the first to deliver a clear round.

“Rio’s a great horse. He jumps a lot of double-clear rounds; he’s starting to get better with his pace in the corners,” said Lowry.

“My plan was to go as fast as possible in the jump-off and leave the jumps up, obviously,” Lowry explained. “But my horses are usually about 2 seconds behind Wilhelm’s; he just has very fast horses.”

Genn rode a beautifully smooth round on Loredo, ending in a time of 38.09 seconds. But it was his blazing speed on Happy Z that secured the win. A sharp turn to the last oxer allowed Genn to shave time, and he secured the victory in 34.00 seconds.

“Happy knows her job, but Laredo is only 7 and really doesn’t quite know what he’s doing yet,” Genn said. “He’s very careful, and he’s a really exciting horse. But he’s so green I think he just jumps over the fences because they’re in theway. We’re working on getting his knees up—maybe we’ll make him step through tires!”

Tommy Feigel and Contendress, last year’s winners, almost caught Genn’s time but a tight distance to the final oxer caused him to pull two rails. Chuck Waters and 747 left the jumps up, but his horse’s lofty jump and sweeping turns left him with the third position in a time of 37.24 seconds.

“Some people try and go so fast they just end up making more mistakes, they self-destruct,” Lowry commented.

Genn ended the evening in fifth place with Loredo and 10th with Chantal. Joining him in the victory gallop was student Denise Wilson, who placed fourth with Life Is Life 15, and son Theo on Ariado, in 11th. “This is Theo’s seventh grand prix and his fifth placing,” Genn said beaming. “We have a great father and son rivalry.”

The competition between Lowry and Genn is only beginning, as both will head to Gulfport (Miss.), where
another $10,000 leading rider title is on the line. Genn won the award last year, and Lowry claimed the same title four years ago.

As for the wagered fishing trip, Lowry has no qualms. “Any day on the water is a great day to me,” he said.
Genn has other ideas, though. “I told him he needs to buy one of my young horses,” he chuckled.

First Time Win

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Gary Young has been absent from the show ring for a while, but that absence didn’t stop him from winning the green conformation championship. In his first time showing Molly Crosland’s Torch Song, Young won three classes for the tricolor.

Young, in fact, hasn’t been in the show ring since the Pennsylvania National last fall. “I haven’t been competing at all. My wife just had a baby three weeks ago, and so I haven’t shown since October,” he said.

Crosland competes in the older amateur division but is taking a break. Young keeps her horses fit and will begin showing them regularly for her. His other ride in the second year green division, Colorado, earned the amateur-owner, 36 and over, division championship with owner Nancy Jones.

Casady Captures Pony Championships

Shawn Casady has no plans to move up to horses anytime soon. “We’ve got to sell some ponies if we want to go to horses,” trainer Bill Schaub said with a laugh.

Casady gathered three tricolors in the pony divisions at the Jacksonville Finale. He rode Schaub’s Triscuit to the medium pony championship and reserve in the small/medium green pony division. He also was champion in the latter division with one of Schaub’s other ponies, Sunny.

Schaub purchased Triscuit, a European Riding Pony, from Mark Junghher as a
5-year-old. Casady began showing him last September. The duo won many classes during their time in Jacksonville, including the medium pony classic on the final day.

“They’re all really nice ponies, but very different,” Casady said.

Schaub noted, “He’s really learning to adapt riding all these ponies. We’ve been bringing them along, since they’re all green.”

Casady is home-schooled, which allows him to spend as much time riding ponies for Schaub and attend the winter circuits full time.

Crosland purchased Torch Song, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood, from Larry Glefke and Kelley Farmer. Rick Fancher showed the mare the previous year in the first year green division.

“She’s absolutely exceptional,” Young said. “She’s very talented; I love her spirit, her jump, and she really wants to please.”

Young also rode Ivy Road, another horse of Crosland’s, to ribbons in the second year green division. “She’s been riding horses most of her life and has owned a lot of nice horses,” Young said. “She’s a wonderful owner and just a wonderful person to be around.”

With the Jacksonville series coming to an end, Young plans to show in Ocala (Fla.) for a week and then Wellington (Fla.) for two weeks. He’ll take Torch Song with him, whether he shows her or not.

Even after his Jacksonville victories, Young was still most eager to talk about his new family. “My daughter’s the best thing that’s happened to me,” he said. “But I say I gained more weight during the pregnancy than my wife, so I’ve got to get back in the saddle and start working!”

Triumphant Finale

In 2006, Claire Wilson showed her new horse, Lauderdale, for the first time during the Jacksonville circuit. Two years later, she’s moved up from the children’s to the junior hunters with much success. The pair was rewarded with the reserve tricolor in the small junior, 16-17, division, the small junior hunter circuit title, and the $5,000 Bruning Foundation High-Point Perpetual Trophy.

“He’s finally coming all together,” Wilson said. “I got him when he was 5, and he’s been a work in progress to make him this consistent.”

The duo gathered top ribbons over the past five weeks, winning three championships on their way to the circuit title.

Wilson didn’t even count the final week at Jacksonville as one of their best. “I think his feet are hurting, and he’s tired, but he still was so good,” she remarked. “I would say last week was our best, and he was so awesome in the classic last Sunday.”

Trainer Chrissie Kear, Jarrettsville, Md., showed Lauderdale, or “Billy,” in the professional divisions when they first purchased the warmblood gelding through Joe Norick.

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“I did him in the green conformations, but really after that Claire only showed him. He didn’t do much in the second year division,” Kear said.

Wilson credited her knowledgeable equitation mount, Redskin, as the key to her success with Billy. “He [Redskin] has taught me everything. I’ve been riding him the past year, and I could do anything to him and he’d still save me,” she said.

She splits her time between the junior division and riding Kear’s jumpers, if needed. Redskin, a former grand prix horse, will carry her through her final junior year in the equitation classes.

“I’m so sad that it’s my last year, and my dad keeps joking that he’s going to do Redskin in the children’s/ adult jumpers,” she said with a laugh.

Although Wilson has worked hard to get Billy to this point, there is a secret to their winning partnership. “He’s completely obsessed and motivated by carrots,” she quipped.

There’s not much motivation needed in the large junior hunter circuit champion. His consistency, bold jump and easygoing attitude make Scott Stewart’s Perfectionist a horse that lives up to his name. Samantha Schaefer and the warmblood gelding swept the large junior, 15 and under, division and won the classic on the final day to add to their laurels.

“He never lets you down—he wants to win for you,” Schaefer said. “I just kind of started riding him, he’s another horse for me to ride and show.”

Schaefer, Westminster, Md., began showing Perfectionist at the National Horse Show (Fla.) and will continue showing him along with her other junior mounts, Monroe, Jackson, and Kelly Colby’s Lazy Sunday.

Seasoned Winners

Courtney Grimm and Movado scored a hometown win in the adult amateur, 36-45, division. Winning three of the five classes, Grimm took away the championship, the classic win, and the overall adult amateur circuit title.

Grimm showed all five weeks of the circuit and was champion in her division for four of them. Movado is semi-retired, so Grimm appreciates being able to compete him each year at home.

“He’s 22, so he’s done everything, and now his job is just to do the little old lady adults with me every now and then,” she said.

The Thoroughbred gelding was originally at Quiet Hill Farm, Ocala, Fla., and was shown throughout the junior ranks with Courtney McKay. Due to his age and time spent in the show ring, he’s developed some quirks Grimm laughs about.

“He counts his jumps, so when it’s down to the last two it’s a struggle to keep him balanced,” she said. “Classics are even worse because of the 10 jumps, and after the first eight he’s like, ‘OK, I’m finished.’ ”

Hack classes aren’t any easier, either. “The second direction is a nightmare! We’re always just praying he doesn’t take off, because all he wants to do is just go,” she said.

When not competing in the green pony division with Spectacular Kid, Grimm’s daughter Hannah enjoys riding Movado bareback. “He’s so great with my kids, just a very kind horse and a great package,” Grimm said.

Katie Young and Nashea Rowland of Coriander Farm train Grimm, who also competes with her other adult amateur horse, Montego Bay. They claimed the USEF Zone 4 reserve title in their division last year.

Movado, however, holds a special place in Grimm’s heart. “There are no words to describe him. He’s just so there, and he will respond to anything you want,” she said.

Beth Johnson

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