Jacksonville A to Z Week Three Begins with H- for Happy Z

Green Cove Springs, FL –

For the opening of week three, the Jacksonville A to Z, we start with the letter H. As in Happy Z who with owner-rider Wilhelm Genn in the irons won the Lucky Sevens Welcome Classic sponsored by Ring Power.

Taking up the reins as course designer this week is Allen Rheinheimer of Zionsville, IN. is known for making the riders “feel welcomed” in the first jumper classic but creating a real zinger for the week’s finale. This week will offer Allen two opportunities to test riders, with the $25,000 Hunter Classic on Saturday evening and the big $35,000 Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. Today’s event was all about “checking out the talent” Rhienheimer commented. The first round of 12 obstacles- 15 efforts’ real challenge was the series of intricate turns horse and rider needed to survive in order to beat the allowed time of 74 seconds.

“I thought there would be more clean.” the afternoon’s victor began, “When we walked it, all of us [the riders] thought maybe it would be a little on the easy side, but then there were several dropped rails.” Genn wondered if the angle of the sunlight streaming into the arena at that time of day might have factored in. “The horses got rails in places you wouldn’t have thought they would.” he reasoned further. Fortunately for him, Happy took no issue or rails finishing clean in 71.874 seconds.

Only four other riders would join them in the 7 obstacle- 8-effort jump off. A course that held to Rheinheimer’s twist and shout theme. With a 42 second limit, riders started at fence #1 [an oxer] but made an immediate right hand turn over to tall vertical #8. then a nice gallop to the combination 10AB- vertical to vertical, but clearing oxer #11 is where it all got interesting with today’s winner. Genn and Happy Z had been first in the order of go. Today’s format was a Table II 2ab that gave riders who went clean in the first round the option of staying to run their jump off or returning at the end of the class. Genn had elected to remain, which in itself added some pressure since they would not only be chasing the clock but setting the pace for those who followed. In a daring move that illustrated complete trust in a partner, Wilhelm and Happy made a truly unbelievable inside cut between fence #11 and a magnolia tree- a space approximately 5 feet in width to slice over the #3 vertical and sweep left to complete the final 2 jumps stopping the clock at a blazing 31.892 seconds. Only Roberto Teran would attempt the same feat and despite clearing the obstacles his time just wasn’t quick enough. “If she runs it [#11] good then I’d try it but if I had to kick for the oxer then no way.”a confident Wilhelm said of the pairs maneuver. Genn said he was quite confident in Happy’s ability to make the sharp turns, in fact that is one of the 10 year-old Warmblood mare’s specialties. “I liked the outcome!” Wilhelm concluded with a laugh.

Completing the top five positions for today’s Welcome Classic were in second place Bill Lowry on Rio Corde for owner Winsor Farm Sales, Inc with a clear final time of 33.897. Third place went to Roberto Teran with Double Diamond for owner Kingridge Stables in a clean 34.411 seconds. The fourth position went to Mary Nicholson-Leffler on board Gerona 92 for owner Rolling Acres with a clear time of 40.055 and completing the fifth spot was Chuck Waters aboard his own 747 in a time of 38.523 with 4 faults.

The Jacksonville Winter Series continues through February 10th with classes Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8AM until about 5PM except for special events on Saturday evenings at 7PM such as this weekend’s big $25,000 Jacksonville Jerry Parks Insurance/”Artist” by Timothy Priano Open Hunter Classic on Saturday and the $35,000 Jacksonville A to Z Grand Prix to benefit the Jacksonville Zoo. Admission to the shows are free, a $5 donation is requested for special events, which in turn is given to various local charities.

Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z win Welcome Classic
© Flashpoint Photography


For more information or results on the 2008 Jacksonville Winter Series please visit www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 904-284-9492.



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