A to Z Finale- Alissa Kinsey & Grisset Share a Spotlight and
Green Cove Springs, FL—January 29, 2011—
Show Jumping action took center stage for the finale of the Jacksonville Winter Series. Starting with the $10,000 Children- Adult Jumper Classic, sponsored by Cedar Street Advisors, it was the Sunshine State’s own Alissa Kinsey from Ft Myers and phenom mare Grisset taking the top spot.
Dave Ballard of Olympic fame took over course designing honors for this final week of competition and created layouts that both tested exhibitors and took spectators breath away at times. A starting field of 27 crossed through the in gate on Saturday afternoon with high hopes of claiming the big prize in the $10,000 Cedar Street Advisors Children-Adult Jumper Classic. Nearly half survived the 68 second limited twisty 12 obstacle first round to advance into the dash for the cash jump off. Kinsey and her brilliant 14 year-old Hanoverian mare, Grisset, posted a clean time of 61.400 – the fastest in the first round. From the 13 to return, Kinsey was about half way down the list at 7th giving her the opportunity to check out her competitors and plan a strategy. The grand plan appeared simple, go fast and leave all the rails up in under the allotted 42 seconds. Rider-owner Melissa Woodson of Highlands, NJ riding Spring Heeled Jack posted the first clean time of 30.811 and took command of the leader board until Kinsey and Grisset blazed into the arena and landed a clean time of 30.358 with six horses to follow. Despite truly valiant efforts, when the dust settled it was Kinsey and Grisset holding on to the top spot.
Results for the $10,000 Cedar Street Advisors Children-Adult Jumper Classic:
After nearly a week of observation, course designer Dave Ballard took all he learned and applied it to a winding 13 obstacle-16 effort test with a time allowance of 84 seconds for Saturday evening’s $25,000 North Florida Hunter Jumper Association Grand Prix, sponsored by Cedar Street Advisors. With a who’s who list of 21 starters, such as North America’s most winning Prix rider Aaron Vale and Canada’s best export Hugh Graham, no one could predict the outcome. Lebanon, OH based Wilhelm Genn had three mounts, including last week’s victor the charismatic Happy Z –who boast the most prix wins for a mare in North America- the dynamic duo scored the first clean ride with a time of 80.794.
And just when it looked like a runaway win for Genn, 15 year-old Meg O’Mara of Rumson, NJ blasted into the arena with Sinatra IV (owned by Donald Stewart) and brought the crowd to a roar with their amazing clear round in 78.402. A jump off was assured. “It was really tough!”an overjoyed O’Mara described the first layout, “It started out with a roll back and then it was really forward. Sinatra doesn’t’ have the longest stride so I have to always ride him down the line harder. There were a lot of turns that aren’t natural for a horse.” When none of the remaining field succeeded in advancing, the jump off took on the look of a horse race as both competitors share a reputation for being swift of hoof. O’Mara confessed to a case of nerves being in competition with the likes of Genn, Vale, and Graham. “In the schooling ring I feel a bit intimidated; worried I’m in their way. I’m not cocky at all, I was 18th going so I figure I’ll just go in and try to get around the course. This is my second big grand prix.”
The finale round of 7 elements began as the first with roll back off of oxer #1 to a tall #2 vertical and preceded to the combination of 4AB [oxer to vertical] ,that had taken out many in the first round, on to the #5 vertical and a sweeping turn back to the #7 oxer and a fast gallop to clear the #15 oxer – all in under 36 seconds. The stage was set for a great duel of handy speed horses. Genn and Happy Z made short order of the course posting a fast clear ride of 32.663. The challenge was set for O’Mara and Sinatra IV, the 10 year-old Belgium bred gelding who she’s celebrating the one year anniversary of their partnership with this week. “Both of these horses [Happy and Sinatra] are very careful. I knew that and…second would have been amazing too! I was just going to go in and have fun.” O’Mara said with a broad smile. Her fun attitude and Sinatra’s sure footed style landed the pair a victory with a clean time of 31.296. “He’s [Sinatra] the best horse ever! He was so good!” O’Mara gushed of her partner as friends and well wishers gathered round to congratulate her. Once she catches her breath, O’Mara and Sinatra will next head to Ocala and Wellington for more competition or as she views it, “more fun”.
Results of the $25,000 North Florida Hunter Jumper Association Grand Prix:
For complete results of the 2011 Jacksonville Winter Series and all the Circuit Champions please visit www.classiccompany.com