Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2024

Genn Wins Again At Horse Shows By The Bay

Wilhelm Genn kept a perfect grand prix record during his two weeks in Traverse City, Mich., for the Horse Shows By The Bay three-week exhibition (July 12-30). He maintained his winning streak after claiming a vic-tory in the $25,000 D-Braider Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix aboard Ariado, only a week after topping the $25,000 Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix aboard one of his other mounts, Chantal.

"It's been an incredible year so far," Genn said. "The goal I set for myself was to have 10 grand prix wins this year. Today was the fifth one in a row!"

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Wilhelm Genn kept a perfect grand prix record during his two weeks in Traverse City, Mich., for the Horse Shows By The Bay three-week exhibition (July 12-30). He maintained his winning streak after claiming a vic-tory in the $25,000 D-Braider Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix aboard Ariado, only a week after topping the $25,000 Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix aboard one of his other mounts, Chantal.

“It’s been an incredible year so far,” Genn said. “The goal I set for myself was to have 10 grand prix wins this year. Today was the fifth one in a row!”

Aside from pinning grand prix blue ribbons to Ariado and Chantal, Genn’s 8-year-old Dutch mare, Happy Z, won the $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Prix during week two. She also won last year’s Cherry Capitol Grand Prix.

The questions on Michel Vaillancourt’s grand prix course kept most of the 19-entry class guessing as only three combinations advanced to the jump-off. Genn and Ariado posted the first clean round while Sean Steffee and Melissa Ann Hirt followed suit, aboard Bella Diamond and Mighty Mess, respectively.

Genn, of Lebanon, Ohio, described the course as a careful one, which is how he out-rode the rest, carefully. Taking the maiden jump-off voyage, Genn and Ariado set off with a conservative but steady pace.

“He’s not a speed horse, but he is very scopey,” said Genn of Ariado. “So I knew I needed to stay tight with the turns to avoid losing time. On this horse, the hardest parts are the verticals. Sometimes he’ll catch a ‘casual’ rail because it’s easy for him. So we stayed slower until we finished the tight turns, and then I could run at the last fence.”

Ariado clearly demonstrated his knack for razor-sharp edge work and jumping muscle through the tight rollback to the triple bar finale. The pair pulled off their second clean round in 37.18 seconds.

Bella Diamond and Steffee’s trip followed, but a rail kept them out of contention. Hirt picked up the final ride with a healthy head of steam, but even after a clean run, time didn’t favor her efforts. She and Mighty Mess stopped the clock at 44.01 seconds leaving the win to Genn and Ariado.

Genn bought the Holsteiner gelding in Germany four years ago. Now 9, Ariado has competed with Genn at grand prix level for 11�2 years. Sunday’s victory was Ariado’s fourth.

“This is the horse I would like to start some World Cup qualifiers on,” said Genn. “He’s got that scope, and he’s mature enough now.”

Genn plans to embark on their tour for World Cup points this fall after competing in August in the Budweiser Grand Prix at Trader’s Point Hunt Charity Horse Show (Ind.) and at the Lexington National Horse Show (Va.).

David Beisel also kept a packed agenda of showing in both the hunter and jumper rings in Traverse City. But the extra efforts paid off during the final week’s green hunter division where he quietly rode Elizabeth O’Leary’s How Now to the championship and earned the grand green/regular hunter championship.

Despite a slight rub in his first class on Thursday, How Now and Beisel dominated the remainder of the division. ” ‘Howie’ has a huge stride and goes around so smooth and soft, the course seemed like it was set so he could just walk though it,” said O’Leary after watching Beisel’s rides.

O’Leary and her trainer, Bobby Dreyer, helped the 8-year-old Thoroughbred change careers after his last race at Fairmont Park Racetrack (Ill.) as a 4-year-old, and this year is bringing rewarding results.

Howie found himself in the winner’s circle this winter at Lake St. Louis (Mo.) and HITS Ocala Winter Finals (Fla.) with green conformation cham-pionships. Horse Shows By The Bay marked his sixth first-year green hunter competition.

O’Leary rides How Now in the adult amateur division but aspires to advance to amateur-owners this year. “He’s a beautiful jumper, and I’m very lucky to have him,” said O’Leary. “He doesn’t have a lot of mileage, especially with a professional ride, but we think he’ll be a very good amateur horse this year.”

That is, as long as she rides softly. “David is Howie’s favorite rider. He’s a sensitive horse so he likes a very soft ride,” said O’Leary.

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Beisel trains professionally at his own barn in Loveland, Ohio. “We go to a lot of the same shows and David’s wife [Paige] rides in the amateurs with us so it works out well,” said O’Leary.

Paige showed Michael Sullivan’s Eternity to claim second in the NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter Classic and the reserve championship in the adult amateur, 18-35, division on Sunday with David by her side at the in-gate.

Two For Two For Two
Winning the amateur-owner hunter, 36 and over, championship for weeks 2 and 3 last year wasn’t enough for Cologne and Donald Graves. They doubled up on their double up again this year by winning three of five older amateur-owner classes during the second week and four of five in the final week.

“He just goes in there and does his job well, and I think he’s very attractive to watch at the same time,” said Graves, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Even though Cologne has grown accustomed to the brighter and stouter jumps he normally finds showing at shows in Florida, he kept his focus over the more subtle fences at this particular show. Overall, “he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Graves said.

Graves’ trainer, Heather Irvine, found Cologne in Europe five years ago but originally sold him to another rider at Irvine’s Hillside Farm in Michigan. “He ended up getting really big,” Graves said of the leggy, 9-year-old, bay gelding. “He got too big for his previous owner so I acquired him from her.”

Since Cologne was 4, Graves mostly showed him for previous owner, Mary Hepler, at various shows in Wellington (Fla.) and Lexington (Ky.). Beginning in pre-greens, he later exhibited him in the adult amateur division. Soon after winning numerous adult amateur championships, Graves bought Cologne.

They soon stepped up to the amateur-owners, returning to Littlewood (Fla.) this spring to win the amateur-owner circuit championship.

“When you’ve been riding a horse before he even knew how to canter, I guess there’s not much I don’t know about him,” Graves explained. “I like doing the young ones and bringing them along.”

Graves plans to continue riding Cologne as an amateur-owner and later hand the reins to his wife, Beth, who will show him in the adult amateurs.

In the amateur-owner, 18-35, division, Elsa Goding, of St. Louis, Mo., overcame some minor nerves and decorated her 9-year-old, Dutch gelding, Barbados, with the tricolor.

“The ride felt really good even though the course was hard,” said Goding. “The ring felt hilly, and it rode differently every time.”

But that didn’t stop her and Barbados from collecting enough points to merit the cham-pionship. “I just tried to do my best and get points, keep it simple and relaxed,” said Goding.

She bought Barbados as a 5-year-old from Joey Norick, who found the horse in the Netherlands. Now training under Susan Baginski and with additional help from Tim and Kelly Goguen of Boggs Hill, Goding aims to take Barbados and her 8-year-old, gray gelding, Coronado, to the Pennsylvania National in October.

“I got Coronado three summers ago when he was still a jumper,” Goding said. Their first show together was that year’s Horse Shows By The Bay. She brought him back this year and took home ribbons in the same classes as Barbados.

This fall, Goding will attend the University of Denver (Colo.) to study business and marketing. “I’m really into designing homes and architecture so I really want to own my own business,” she said.

Still, Goding plans to continue competing with “the great help of everyone, my awesome trainers, the support of my parents, and Patty Boland who’s always there for me when I need her.”

A Perfect Plan B
For Kelsey Wickham, it was a series of firsts at Horse Shows By The Bay. The show’s third week was Wickham’s first trip to Traverse City for the event, and she took commanding first-placed finishes in both over fences classes and placed second in the under saddle for small junior hunters. Wickham, of Novi, Mich., and her eye-catching, bay gelding, Just Because, earned enough points to win the division championship and ultimately merit the grand junior hunter championship.

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But Wickham and trainer Tara Golas-zweski’s original plans for the 10-year-old Rhinelander including competing with Wickham in the jumper and equitation rings.

“We’ll still do equitation on him,” said Wickham. But because “he got a little too excited in the jumper ring” and Wickham got nervous, she and Golaszweski decided the small junior hunter division would inspire more confidence in them.

And the redirection paid off. But it wasn’t just Micky’s fluent and gentle disposition in the ring, Wickham’s subtle and refreshingly classic equitation style completed the package to separate the duo from the competition in both small and large junior hunter divisions.

“The course was pretty simple, and the lines were short,” said Wickham of the first junior over fences class. But in the handy hunter test, she noted that the rollbacks and tight turns were the most challenging questions.

A proud Golaszewski noted that she’s had the pleasure of coaching Wickham since the age of 5. “She actually used to ride my pony, Lunar,” said Golaszewski.

Wickham and Micky found their connection after purchasing him from Golaszweski’s trusted horse liaison, Garo Kazan. Soon enough, the bond between the pair became one of inevitable success. “He’s always been amazing,” said Wickham.

Now, a year and a half later, Wickham plans to take Micky to the Pennsylvania National this fall. “I’m really excited to do equitation with him,” Wickham said of her forthcoming maiden trip to Harrisburg.

She and Just Because also placed third in Friday’s Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal class and second in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class and ribbons in the equitation, 14 and under, division.

Prep School Perfection
Amy Baginski picked up the reins for Prep School and decisively claimed honors as grand adult amateur hunter champion after sweeping the division in their second show together.

One might imagine such a quiet animal would go unnoticed, but the ease and polish with which the petite, 12-year-old gelding moves is undeniable, which is somewhat surprising considering a past accident prevented him from showing for a short time.

About four years ago, Prep School suffered an accident in his stall at a show and underwent surgery on both front legs to repair the damage. Before this injury, he competed in professional 3’6” hunter divisions with first-class results.

In April of this year, Baginski’s sister, Susan–who trains at her own Baskin Farm in Wildwood, Mo.–purchased Prep School from the Ingram family on the sound judgment of trainer, Tom Wright.

“He thought [Prep School] would be perfect; a nice, steady-eddy kind of guy for our niece, Laura, to move up from ponies to horses. And he’s been perfect,” Amy said.

Lake St. Louis (Mo.) marked Laura’s first show in the children’s horse division, where she started with a bang and the tricolor. In her third show with Prep School at Horse Shows By The Bay II, she earned a reserve championship in the younger children’s hunter division.

“Normally [Laura] will ride him, but she allowed me to show him this week,” Amy said smiling. “He’s as easy as they come. You can just loop the reins and let him go. As long as you can find the jumps, you’re in there because he’s so steady and consistent.”

With Laura’s thriving ascent from ponies to children’s hunters in the past few months, she now aspires to follow the road to the ASPCA Maclay Finals.

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