Kelley Farmer and Rosalynn Win $20,000 USHJA Hunter Derby & Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z Take $25,000 National Grand Prix at Jacksonville National
Green Cove Springs, FL-January 23, 2010-
Kelley Farmer who hails from Keswick, VA, partnered with Rosalynn, captured the top spot of North Florida’s Inaugural $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby sponsored by Jerry Parks Insurance, Great American Insurance Group and The Bruning Foundation, held Saturday under the lights of the covered arena at the Clay County Agricultural Center in Green Cove Springs, FL.
In all, 37 rider teams competed on the course designed by Allen Rheinheimer. The class consisted of three sections, with amateurs and juniors primarily jumping 3’6” while most professionals took the 3’9” to 4’3 fences depending on the horse’s level. Natural obstacles such as pine branches and hedges adorned the course layout with additional ring décor provided by Ring Around the Roses, all to make for an intricate 10 fence challenge, four of which with optional heights to offer riders the opportunity to garner bonus points. Two panels of judges- Sue Ashe, Chris Wynne, Rob Bielefeld, and Andy Lomker presided over the scoring. Typically the top 12 teams return for the Handy second round, however last night had an unusual circumstance unfold with a dead tie at the cut off score of 164 which provided a 13th pair advancement to the final round.
Aiken, SC professional Daniel Geitner, and Living Color, a coming 8-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Robin Hughes of Rincon, GA , led the first round, putting forth a combined score of 181, a feat made more impressive by the fact that Geitner performed in a cast for his broken thumb. “I’m so very proud of both my horse and Daniel’s great ride. This was our first Derby together and for Daniel to give 200 percent even in a cast was just amazing!” Hughes said.
Following in second place for the first round was Amanda Steege of Bedminster, NJ and the Katie Dinan owned Allejandro with 180.10, but Triompf, owned by Sarah Patterson and ridden by Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL was hot on their hooves with a score of 179.50. The Handy second round was led early by crowd favorite Jennifer Alfano and the powerful Miss Lucy, whose total score of 363.50 dominated until Camden, SC based Liza Boyd gave a near-perfect performance aboard the Sarah Ward owned Onassis finishing with a score of 374.50, but the night would belong to Kelley Farmer and new mount Rosalynn. Partnered for about a year and half it was only recently that Larry Glefke took ownership of the 9 year-old Oldenburg mare by Lanciano. “She’s amaz-z-z-ing!” an exuberant Farmer said, “She’s a special horse, luckily she’s easy to prepare and easy on herself so I can pick and choose where I want to show her.”
“This is alot, the covered ring, the lights, and then the cold weather. I mean it’s a lot of distraction, luckily she’s [Rosalynn] is somewhat a seasoned horse. She’s the type of horse that the harder it is, the better she is. She never gets nervous and I know if I have a rub that won’t happen in round two! She’s brave and careful of whatever I ask her to do.” Farmer shared of the pair’s experience on course, “And after Liza and Jen went I knew I had to go for it, there was no backing up-neither one of them ever do and those horses went beautifully.” Farmer’s action plan for the Handy round of 8 obstacles was to stick with the inside track over all the higher options which she feels is Rosalynn’s forte. A theory proven when the final scores came rolling in, Panel One gave a 91 plus 4 Bonus for the Options and 6 for Handiness while Panel Two called the round a 92 plus 4 Bonus for the Options and 8 for Handiness giving them a 205 and adding this to round one numbers gave an overall 383.50 to clinch their victory.
Presenting awards were Rhonda Mack of Jerry Parks, Great American Insurance along with Robin Stoney from Classic Company. Farmer will catch her breath and then head to Ocala next week with her two younger mounts, giving Rosalynn some well deserved downtime before competing in Palm Beach. “This was a great time! I’ll be back.” she added while heading towards the barn.
Results in the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby:
Sunday afternoon found the spotlight shifting to the jumper arena and the talents of 25 Grand Prix athletes. As two o’clock rolled around the stands began to fill with spectators eager to cheer their favorites to victory in the $25,000 North Florida Hunter Jumper Association Charity Grand Prix sponsored by EMO Insurance. Livermore, CA’s favorite resident and former Olympic rider Buddy Brown was tasked with designing a course capable of testing while showcasing the skills of each horse. Round one’s 84 second limit to navigate the curvy 13 fence [16 effort] track “looked” simple enough and the second horse-rider combo in the arena, Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, OH with the Whitney Goulart entry Kalinero Du Galete, made it all appear effortless with their clean ride in 78.356, but as more and more of the starting field failed to advance, it became clear this was no easy test. “It was a great class. I thought that Buddy built a beautiful course, challenging, but it was nice to ride. Made you think about everything- all the turns and actually I thought it rode scopier than it looks, because the oxers were going into the turn- like #7, a big wide oxer into the corner. That’s hard especially for the younger horses.” Genn spoke of the hiccups in the layout, such as this fence which angled toward the corner of the VIP tent where spectators were enjoying a benefit luncheon for HOPE Therapy Horses.
From the original field a mere eight horses advanced to the exciting dash for the cash final jump off and among them Genn had three mounts, Kalinero, Copyright 3 and the amazing Happy Z –the latter two owned by Genn. Taking them on were Genn’s own son Theo with the Abby Albritton owned Ariado, legendary Hugh Graham with Kingridge Stables’ Executive Privilage, Mary Lisa Leffler and Rolling Acres’ Gerona 92, young comer Michelle Spadone aboard Redfield Farm’s Coco, and Gavin Moylan riding the Meadowville Farm entry Icon. Genn lead the charge across the 46 second limited -abbreviated eight effort layout that twist and rolled back from end of the arena to the other with Kalinero marking the pace in 44.568. “Just got him [Kalinero] 5 weeks ago, in the middle of December so he’s a new ride for me. He’s a little horse, so little horses are a little short strided and you have to learn to believe in them. Learn to trust them. He gave me a really hard ride in the first round, but was just fun in the jump off.” Genn said. Three horses later Genn bested himself aboard Copyright 3, who he’s ridden a little over a year now, with a clear time of 42.374. Hugh Graham and Executive Privilage set their sights on short cutting the course and successfully took over the lead with a clean 41.184.
But Genn still had his secret weapon, Happy Z, the phenomenal 12 year-old Dutch bred mare, his partner of nearly 8 years and 44 various prix wins. “Well she [Happy Z] is the most winning Grand Prix horse in North America by number of Grand Prix wins.” Genn said with a mix of humor and pride, but was quick to point out, “I knew I had to follow Hugh’s track and that Happy could be faster, but I’m not underestimating him. He was very smooth and his horse has a very big stride, so it would be foolish for me to ever underestimate his speed, but I knew with Happy’s quick action that if I stayed on the same track I could pass him up.” Displaying her talent for pinpoint turns the dazzling mare sliced through the course clean in a blazing 39.491 assuring her title of “most winning” is well deserved and before exiting the arena demonstrated her trademark “Happy Buck Dance” to the cheering audience. After a few days of rest both Wilhelm and Happy Z will be back for the finale Grand Prix of the Jacksonville Winter Series next Saturday evening in the hopes of doing another “Happy Dance”.
Results of the $25,000 North Florida Hunter Jumper Charity Grand Prix:
The Jacksonville Winter Series continues with more hunter/jumper and Grand Prix action through January 30th. Week III, The Jacksonville Winter A to Z, will conclude with the thrilling $25,000 Jacksonville Finale Grand Prix and the $10,000 Cedar Street Advisors Child-Adult Jumper Classic.