Jacksonville A to Z Week Three Begins with H for Happy Z
RELEASE: February 7, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
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, who 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 offered Rheinheimer two opportunities to test riders, with the $25,000 Hunter Classic on Saturday evening and the big $35,000 Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. The Luck Sevens Welcome Classic sponsored by Ring Power was all about “checking out the talent,” Rhienheimer commented. The first round of 12 obstacles and 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,” Genn 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 seven obstacle/eight 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. Genn and Happy Z had been first in the order of go. The 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, Genn and Happy Z made a truly unbelievable inside cut between fence #11 and a magnolia tree—a space approximately five feet in width—to slice over the #3 vertical and sweep left to complete the final two 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 Genn 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!” Genn concluded with a laugh.
Completing the top five positions for the 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 four faults. Samantha Schaefer Takes One-Two-Three in the $25,000 Jacksonville Open Hunter Classic
When all the scores were tallied, it was 14-year-old Samantha Schaefer sitting in the top three spots of the $25,000 Jacksonville Jerry Parks Insurance/“Artists” by Timothy Priano Open Hunter Classic held under the lights of the covered arena at the Clay County Agricultural Center in Green Cove Springs, FL. The number one horse of the evening was Lazy Sunday, owned by Keli Colby and piloted by