Wayne, Illinois, USA. – Aug. 1, 2019 – One of Equifest II’s highlight events, the $25,000 Purina Welcome Grand Prix, kicked off on Thursday afternoon in Lamplight’s Grand Prix Arena. Drawing a field of 41 talented equestrian athletes, the Welcome saw riders pull out all the stops in an effort to end the class at the top of the leaderboard. After an exciting jump-off round, it was Tracy Fenney (USA) and MTM Apple who took home the top prize.
The course, designed by Leopoldo Palacios (VEN), featured several rollbacks and challenging combinations that kept horses and riders on their toes, all while keeping up a quick pace to avoid any time penalties. Just second to go in the order, Fenney and MTM Apple, owned by MTM Farm, set a good example with a brisk, clear round. Several horse-and-rider combinations who followed found the course to be a test of their skills, and had rails or time penalties in the first round.
The second pair to go clear was Ryan Michael Genn (USA) and Dieta, owned by Taylor Blackman. Emulating Fenney’s round, Genn piloted the mare around a fault-free course within the time-allowed to ensure a jump-off. Nine total combinations added their names to the jump-off list, including Stefanie Collier (USA) riding Emma-Lee, Dorothy Douglas (USA) riding MTM Through the Looking Glass and Steve Schaeffer (USA) riding Valinski S.
Ryan Genn (USA) & Dieta
Also comprised of rollbacks and combinations, the jump-off course required technical skills but also allowed riders a place to open up and gallop to the last line of fences. Tracy Fenney and MTM Apple were the first to re-enter the arena for the jump-off, taking great care to leave all fences up and turn up the speed for a finish in just 31.754 seconds. Ryan Genn (USA) and Dieta were up next with their sights set on beating Fenney’s quick time. The pair successfully rode a clear course, but were not able to set a new time-to-beat, finishing in 32.216 seconds.
Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple
Tracy Fenney and Genn held the top two positions in the class until Douglas rode MTM Through the Looking Glass back into the arena. Riding an accurate and speedy course, Douglas crossed the finish line in 31.874 seconds, replacing Genn in second place but finishing just shy of Fenney’s leading time. Fenney and MTM Apple remained at the top of the leaderboard to take the win, a first-time grand prix victory for the 8-year-old gelding. Douglas and MTM Through the Looking Glass took home the class’ second place prize, while Genn and Dieta finished in third place.
Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple
Tracy Fenney – $25,000 Purina Welcome Grand Prix Winner
On MTM Apple:
“We have had Apple for a year now – we got her here last year actually. This was her first grand prix win tonight and she is only 8 years old. I haven’t done that many grand prix [classes] with her because of her age, so we really only started doing them this year. She did one in Ocala and then in Fort Worth, but that is pretty much all she has done.”
On her plans for the future with MTM Apple:
“I would like to just keep building her up. Like I said, she is only 8 years old, so I don’t want to do too much too soon. I would like to keep doing classes she is confident in to keep her brave.”
On her rounds:
“The time-allowed was extremely tight in the course. I went super fast on Apple but on my other horses I realized I was going to be in trouble because Apple is a fast horse and the others are slower. In the jump-off I figured I just needed to do what I could. There were eight great riders behind me and everyone rides fast so I didn’t have much choice but to give it my all. I think I gained the most time to the last jump. I saw the distance so far away and every stride I was able to build where Dory (Dorothy Douglas) had to balance up once to it.”
“We love Lamplight. The facility is beautiful, Nina does an amazing job. To me, you feel like you’re riding in someone’s backyard when you’re here. We could not have a prettier backdrop to ride against. The surrounding towns are also amazing, between Geneva and St. Charles, it is so cool. Everything is convenient, the river is beautiful and the weather is perfect!”
Dorothy Douglas (USA) & MTM Through The Looking Glass
Dorothy Douglas – $25,000 Purina Welcome Grand Prix second place
On MTM Through The Looking Glass:
“MTM Through The Looking Glass is an 11-year-old owned by Davenport Farms. We got her midway through the Ocala circuit and she was actually third last week in the 1.50m! She is a super firey, really careful little mare. I really feel like I am getting to know her now and every class she feels better and better.”
On her rounds:
“My game plan going in was to honestly copy what Tracy [Fenney] did. I watched her warm-up with Apple for the jump-off and I realized I needed to do a right hand turn over the oxer to fence two, tidy going back to the jump with the green underneath and gallop to the last jump. I want to be beat by my boss only so this is the best!”
Results – $25,000 Purina Welcome Grand Prix
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Penalties/ Time / Jump-off Penalties / Time
1. Tracy Fenney (USA) MTM Apple – 0 / 74.881 / 0 / 31.754
2. Dorothy Douglas (USA) & MTM Through The Looking Glass – 0 / 73.813 / 0 / 31.874
3. Ryan Michael Genn (USA) & Dieta – 0 / 75.623 / 0 / 32.216
4. Michael Burnett (USA) & Chagrand – 0 / 74.585 / 0 / 33.240
5. Jacqueline Steffens (USA) & Freaky Liefhebber – 0 / 74.651 / 0 / 34.064
6. Ryan Michael Genn (USA) & Colora – 0 / 75.636 / 0 / 34.273
7. Theo Genn (USA) & Chaccomo 11 – 0 / 75.861 / 0 / 34.810
8. Steve Schaefer (USA) & Valiniski S – 0 / 72.973 / 4 / 30.633
9. Stefanie Collier (USA) & Emma-Lee – 0 / 75.665 / 4 / 33.173
10. Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Como No – 1 / 76.819
11. Sydney Swarr (USA) & Titus 2:11 – 2 / 77.103
12. Dorothy Douglas (USA) & MTM Cornada – 4 / 72.317
Source: Press release by Emma Miller / Phelps Media Group for Lamplight Equestrian Center
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Emma Miller