Wilhelm Genn and Chantal Add Triumph After Triumph at the Gulf Coast Winter Series
RELEASE: February 19, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
Lebanon, OH,-based Wilhelm Genn gave sister-in-law Laura Ryan-Barnaclo a very special belated Valentine gift of poetry in motion. German-born Genn, aboard Ryan-Barnaclo’s graceful Holsteiner gelding Chantal were the winners of the $25,000 EMO Grand Prix of the Gulf Coast, marking Genn’s second consecutive grand prix victory of the winter series held at the Harrison County Equestrian Center in Gulfport, MS.
Only two contenders emerged from the starting field to vie for the top spot in the thrilling jump-off. It was a 102-second, 13-jump (16 efforts) designed by Tim Hott laid across the vast grass arena. Genn, who is well on the way to dominating this circuit with his four mounts—Chantal, Happy Z, Loredo, and newcomer Ultaire—confessed this “was a tough course” to conquer.
A dozen horses faulted before the crowd saw the first clear ride put in by Alex Granato aboard the Augustin Walch owned Vasco D Gamma with a time of 96.768. Genn’s first two mounts, including last week’s victoress Happy Z, had dropped rails which meant no jump-off for them, but hope remained with the talented new “kid,” Ultaire, and the seasoned Chantal still to ride.
However, Genn faced an additional challenge to get past when son Theo took a spill on the field. While both rider and horse walked away safe and sound, the incident was no doubt a concern for the father side of this professional horseman. “That’s the nightmare. He’s my son first,” Genn began in explaining just how they both learn to handle or separate the personal from the professional side of competing together. “We’ve talked about it and we’ve tried to separate it. So when we’re out here, doing this, I am his trainer, yet I’m always going to be his dad first. So what happened today was a little scary.”
Despite knowing both son and horse were fine, this could have effected Genn’s performance on his next two mounts. “It becomes a matter of discipline and self control. Obviously if you get weak at that moment then you’re better off not going and if that ever happens to me I’m going to scratch.” Confidence and assurances from his family were more than enough to strengthen the discipline Genn spoke of as he and Chantal became the only other clear round with a time of 98.272. Afterwards while discussing this topic, a more relaxed “dad” Genn shared he’s had his own share of accidents and even injuries over the years, yet still comes back unafraid.
You could call it a match race between Granato and Genn. The abbreviated 48-second 6-obstacle [7-effort] deciding round was a snaky run that began with a hard rollback off a vertical to another vertical and continued the slinky motion to the very end. “My plan was to be right within striking distance time wise so that if I had a rail I’d step it up a little bit and hope to be faster than him [Alex].” Genn said upon learning that his final time was 38.632, then added, “So I was a little slower— good thing we were clean.” Granato and Vasco not so fortunate despite a slightly quicker time of 38.546, but a rail down cost them four faults and the victory to Genn. “It really was a good race. Alex did a great job.” Genn complimented his opponent.
Final results found Chantal and Genn the triumphant with the only double-clear ride in 38.632. Granato and Vasco D Gamma accepting the second spot in 38.546 with the four faults. Third and fourth place to Amanda Flint riding Texas Hold’Em for owner Kathleen Kamine in a time of 103.341 giving them two time faults and Flint’s own Cajun with four faults in 93.804. Granato completed the top five with the Teri Knowlton entry Mad Season finishing in a time of 95.254 and four faults. Presenting awards was Jonathan Rabon of EMO Insurance who said, "What an exciting field today! The Gulf Coast Winter series always has a talented group of competitors and we're proud to be a sponsor here."
Genn and son will return to accept the challenges