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Wilhelm Genn & Chantal Add Another Triumph- Duo Capture $ 25,000 EMO Grand Prix of The Gulf Coast

GULFPORT, MS.—FEB.15, 2009—Lebanon, OH based Wilhelm Genn gave sister in-law Laura Laura Ryan-Barnaclo a very special belated Valentine gift of poetry in motion. German born Wilhelm Genn, aboard Laura’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, Mississippi.

Only two contenders emerged from the starting field to vie for the top spot in the thrilling jump off. “When we walked it I had Theo [Genn’s son} and Denise [Wilson] with me and I said guys don’t under estimate those jumps because the jumps didn’t look that high, but, I said you’re going to look at me funny when I tell you this.You’re going to have to ride the hills today.” Genn paused with a grin then continued, “And they did look at me funny. Because the way the jumps were set you were always either riding that way or that way [motioning up and down]. When you ride down to a vertical and then turn and go oxer uphill –that takes an experienced rider.” This was a perfect description of the 102 second 13 jump – 16 huge efforts that designer Tim Hott laid across the vast grass arena for today’s competitors. Genn, who is well on the way to dominating this circuit with his four mounts, Chantal, Happy Z, Loredo, and new comer Ultaire confessed this “was a tough course” to conquer today. “It really was a good course, it just rode a lot scopier than it walked.” Genn said. Admittedly he considers a tough-difficult course to be a good course.

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. Then with a hearty laugh and glance backward at son Theo added, “There is a fine line between bravery and you know what.”

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 4 faults and the victory to Genn. “It really was a good race. Alex did a great job.” Wilhelm complimented his opponent.

Final results found Chantal and Wilhelm the triumphant with the only double clear ride in 38.632. Alex and Vasco D Gamma accepting the 2nd spot in 38.546 with the 4 faults. Third and fourth place to Amanda Flint riding Texas Hold’Em for owner Kathleen Kamine in a time of 103.341 giving them 2 time faults and Flint’s own Cajun with 4 faults in 93.804. Alex Granato completed the top five with the Teri Knowlton entry Mad Season finishing in a time of 95.254 and 4 faults. Presenting awards this afternoon 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 and perils of Grand Prix competition next week. “I’d like for Theo to win one. That would be truly special.”was the parting comment of a proud father slash trainer.

The Gulfport Winter Classic continues with more hunter/jumper and Grand Prix action through March 15th. Admission is free and the public is invited to enjoy the exciting competition throughout the week along with another $25,000 Grand Prix next Sunday.

Photo: Wilhelm Genn & Chantal ©Flashpoint Photography

* Photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release


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