Land Sisters Open Atlanta Spring Classics with Big Wins
RELEASE: April 1, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
Photo by Robbi Meisel (Taylor Land and Karonda V Schl’Hof)
The Atlanta Spring Classics welcomed the new season with Cherry Blossoms in bloom, blue skies, and heated competition among hunters and jumpers. And the biggest competition this week centered around two sisters, Frances and Taylor Land, who dominated the jumper rings.
Produced by the Classic Company and held at the Georgia International Horse Park, home of the 1996 Olympics, in Conyers, GA, the two-week event runs March 24-April 3 with classes running Wednesday through Sunday on Week One and a special Easter schedule of Tuesday through Saturday for Week Two. “The scheduling of events was reorganized to accommodate exhibitors who show weekends only and those wishing to enjoy Easter with their families,” explained Show Manager Bob Bell. Another of the schedule changes is the use of Wednesday (week one) solely for Hunter Pony Breeding Classes with regular hunter-jumper classes running on Thursday; for Atlanta Spring’s second week, Tuesday will be the Hunter Pony Breeding day while Wednesday through Saturday will host the hunter-jumper performances.
Fresh off a triumphant Florida winter circuit, local favorite Terry Brown of Canton, GA, continued her winning ways by capturing this week’s division champion title in the combined Second Year Green and Regular Working Hunters aboard the Sandy Gregory-owned Formality. “I’m just thrilled with the horses and the great season they’re having. I have to commend Rick Rawlins on having and maintaining the best footing in Conyers that I’ve experienced! And I appreciate all the support from my clients—they’re the best!” Brown said. Also scoring a tri-color was Woodstock, GA-resident Julie Curtin riding the Karen Frandsen-entry Empire to a First Year Green Working division champion award. South Carolina’s Liza Boyd paired with Sunday Morning, for owner Neil Stiles, were named champs in the Pre-Green Hunter section.
Moving to the jumper arena, it was Alpharetta, GA’s own Frances Land with mount Merlin to tackle the course designed by Allen Rheinheimer in Friday afternoon’s $5,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake. Land bested four others in the 48-second, seven-obstacle jump-off round with a time of 36.291. Second place went to her sister, Taylor Land, and partner Karonda V Schl’Hof with a clean ride time of 37.697. Third place went to Alex Granato aboard the Augustin Walch-owned Vasco da Gama with a clean time of 37.763. Fourth place went to father of the winner, Jay Land, riding Look Real (owned by Frances) with four faults in 35.512. And completing the top five was Alex Granato back with mount Mad Season finishing with eight faults in 36.977.
The weekend’s feature event came on Saturday afternoon with the $25,000 Cherry Blossom Grand Prix sponsored by the Classic Company. And the Land family kept on winning with this victory going to Taylor and her 11-year-old Swiss Warmblood mount Karonda V Schl’Hof. “It was nice, very connected even in this big ring. The striding was a little bit tight, which isn’t great for my horse but she jumped it all really well,” said Land of the 16-effort and 86-second allowed layout Rheinheimer created.
Alex Granato and Vasco da Gama were the first to land a clean round with a time of 82.839, and three rides later Frances Land with Merlin assured a jump-off, posting a clean 77.646 time. Another five attempted before Granato double his chances for a win with Mad Season, clearing the last obstacle in 81.296 seconds. Following would be Taylor securing her place with a clean 79.863. “My sister won the Welcome and she’s younger than me so I’ve got to come back and put her in her place. She was quite speedy in the Welcome. She rode great, and she had just bought that horse [Merlin] in January,” a laughing Land said.
In all, six would advance to the jump-off round of eight fences and a time allowance of 47 seconds. The first pair to succeed at a double-clear was Frances Land and Merlin, stopping the timers at 37.615. A lead holding time until her sister Taylor bested them with a clean 36.531 finish. “The footing and course were awesome. Which was good since I was chasing my little sister!” Land said with a giggle. Taylor added that the two sisters really aren’t that competitive of one another, “as long as we keep it [a win] in the family we’re happy.” And given that their father, Jay, not only trains but competes with the girls, it’s a win-win attitude all around. Land added of her new mare, “I’ve only had her a little over six months and still trying to figure her out, but we’re getting there. She’s been wonderful.” The family’s biggest hurdle with Karonda V Schl’Hof is learning the proper pronunciation of her name, “if I knew I’d tell you! I actually met a woman who’s from Switzerland and we tried to describe how it’s written, because I couldn’t even remember how to spell it! She said it would probably be Ka-Ronda V (a) Sch-silent l and hof. We just don’t know but we love her.” It’s easy to say the mare returned the affection and respect with another outstanding performance this afternoon.
Presenting awards this afternoon was Classic Company President Bob Bell, who commented, “It’s great to have the Land’s continue to do so well from our winter to our spring circuits.” Official Results for the $25,000 Cherry Blossom Grand Prix
1st: Taylor Land & Karonda V Schl’Hof, Clear 36.531
2nd: Frances Land & Merlin, Clear 37.615
3rd: Alex Granato & Clever and Smart, owned by Hillary Butt, Clear 38.945
4th: Alex Granato & Mad Season, 4 Faults 37.523
5th: Daniel Geitner & Sympa, owned by Mrs. Charles Bostwick, 4 Faults 38.322
The Atlanta Spring Classics continues with more hunter/jumper action through April 3. Admission is free, and the public is invited to enjoy the exciting competition throughout the week along with another $25,000 Grand Prix next Saturday afternoon.
For more information or results on the 2010 Atlanta Spring Classics, please visit www.classiccompany.com
or call the show office at (770) 602-2510.