Ocala, Florida, USA, January 16, 2021 – The penultimate day of the 2021 AIR Show Jumping Winter Classic debuted in top form with 32 talented jumper combinations on the card to contest the first round of the $25,000 Winter Classic Grand Prix. After an exciting 12-horse jump-off, veteran horsewoman Tracey Fenney (USA) executed a perfectly precise and efficient round to claim the win aboard MTM Dolce Vita.
Professionals, amateurs, and even a junior rider comprised the started line up for the Chris Barnard designed track. Ten of the original entries had only a single rail in the first phase, many of which saw their fault occur at the small skinny vertical. As riders returned for the jump-off, Genevieve Munson (USA), the only junior rider amongst the crowd, set what looked to be an unbeatable pace and took the early lead in 34.995 seconds. Kris Killiam (USA) followed directly after with another clean round but falling just short of the top time in 37.243 seconds. The win seemed almost secured to go to Munson when USEF National Equestrian of the Year Tracey Fenney (USA) passed through the starting timers on MTM Dolce Vita . Fenney then proceeded to guide her 2012 Holsteiner mare (Diarado x Philadelphia) with extreme accuracy to slide just under Munson’s time in 34.929 seconds.
“Genevieve is an extremely fast rider and we compete against her a lot,” Fenney explained. “Her horses were very quick and careful so I knew I had to kick the whole time but I made sure to actually add to the final fence so that I didn’t risk having it down.”
Fenney’s experience is what ultimately paid off as Munson had one final round faster than hers but just tipped the final vertical, which was an issue several other returning jump-off competitors had.
“I thought the course was technical and hard enough that you had to ride hard and the horses had to jump good, but it was friendly enough for some riders or horses with less experience as well,” Fenney added. “I personally am a fan of a larger jump off because it is more of a crowd thriller; when few horses go clean, it is not confidence building for the horses, the riders, or the crowd.”
Course designer Chris Barnard echoed Fenney’s statements about the final amount of returning competitors.
“I was very pleased with the amount that returned for the jump off,” he stated. “There was a collection of less experienced and more experienced riders and horses here so my goal was to just find the right balance so that everyone got something out of it.”
Sixteen-year-old Genevieve Munson held on to her runner-up position with Mark Holden’s 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Escudo I x Or-Animo) Zonderling, and professional Summer Hill (USA) took the third podium position with Andrea Simpson’s nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, La Belle SCF (Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve x Belle Bleu S).
Final Results – $25,000 Winter Classic Grand Prix
1) Tracey Fenney (USA) & MTM Dolce Vita – 0 / 0 – 34.929
2) Genevieve Munson (USA) & Zonderling – 0 / 0 – 34.995
3) Summer Hill (USA) & La Belle SCF – 0 / 0 – 36.903
4) Kris Killiam (USA) & Gangster CHS – 0 / 0 – 37.243
5) Grace Long (USA) & Happiness vd Hazelhof – 0 / 0 – 38.621
6) Genevieve Munson (USA) & Contendro Star – 0 / 4 – 34.3584
7) Hayley Waters (USA) & Galous – 0 / 4 -34.9274
8) Julie Cleveland Beam (USA) & Lancelot – 0 / 4 – 36.4104
9) Savannah Unger (USA) & Fabio – 0 / 4 – 36.7194
10) David Tromp (USA) & Incognito – 0 / 4 – 37.7624
Source: Press release by Summer Grace for Air Show Jumping
Photo: © Eye Was Here