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, the only junior rider amongst the crowd, set what looked to be an unbeatable pace and took the early lead in 34.995 seconds. Naples, FL resident Kris Killiam 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 Equestrian of the Year nominee Tracey Fenney passed through the starting timers on MTM Dolce Vita. Fenney then proceeded to guide her young mount 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 took the third podium position with Andrea Simpson’s nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, La Belle SCF.
The final day of the Winter Classic will feature a fun filled day of hunter, equitation, and jumper competition and will include the $3,500 USEA Arena Eventing Classic.
MTM DOLCE VITA: 2012 Holsteiner mare by Diarado x Philadelphia
TRACEY FENNEY, MTM Farm: 0/0/34.929
ZONDERLING: 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Escudo I x Or-Animo
GENEVIEVE MUNSON, Mark Holden: 0/0/34.995
LA BELLE SCF: 2011 Belgian Warmblood mare by Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve x Belle Bleu S
SUMMER HILL, Andrea Simpson: 0/0/36.903
GANGSTER CHS: 2011 KWPN gelding by Eldorado Van De Zeshoek x Cute Girl
KRIS KILLIAM, TopHorses LLC: 0/0/37.243
HAPPINESS VD HAZEL HOF: 2012 KWPN mare by Falaise De Muze x Ursina
GRACE LONG, G&T Equestrian: 0/0/38.621
CONTENDRO STAR: 2008 Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Gloria
GENEVIEVE MUNSON, Genevieve Munson: 0/4/34.3584
GALOUS: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Touchdown x Huff & Puff
HAYLEY WATERS, Chuck Waters: 0/4/34.9274
LANCELOT: 2008 Warmblood gelding by Unknown x Unknown
JULIE CLEVELAND BEAM, Anastasia Stewart: 0/4/36.4104
FABIO: 2010 KWPN gelding by Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Ullah
SAVANNAH UNGER, Savannah Show Stables, LLC: 0/4/36.7194
INCOGNITO: 2013 KWPN gelding by Baltic VDL x Sweet Dream
DAVID TROMP, David Tromp Show Stables, Inc: 0/4/37.7624