WEC Summer I Highlights
The World Equestrian Center summer horse shows kicked off with with a string of awe-inspiring wins in all feature classes. We hosted World Championship Hunter Rider classes and plenty of fun moments in every ring. As we get used to the new ways of horse showing, we applaud our exhibitors for their efforts to wear masks and adhere to social distancing requirements this past week. In efforts to aid with social distancing, hunters took over the outdoor complex while jumpers stuck to the Sanctuary Arena with all doors open.
Thursday saw a spectacular one-two finish by Ryan Genn in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m sponsored by CWD Sellier. Genn of Rheinland Farm in Lebanon, Ohio, recently returned to his home state of Ohio after an impressive win in Traverse City’s $72,900 Grand Prix CSI 2* with Shannon Reid’s Dieta. He continued his winning streak at WEC aboard Wilhelm Genn’s Dante’s Inferno (Diardo) and Wilhelm Genn’s VDL Gerinus T (Arezzo VDL x Rosalina). Genn first attempted the course aboard Dante’s Inferno and the pair was perfectly in sync, easily jumping a clear first round in 73.394 seconds. Genn and the 10-year-old bay gelding continued straight to the jump-off of the Table II 2b event, picking up pace and crossing the timers at 36.078 seconds, setting a tough time to beat. Genn returned aboard VDL Gerinus T, delivering the fastest clear first round of the class in just 72.033 seconds. Genn and the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding continued straight to the jump-off, also sticking to the inside track and galloping through the timers at 33.606 seconds, moving into first place and ultimately taking the win. Ryan’s father and VDL Gerinus T’s owner Wilhelm Genn commented, “He’s such an athlete. He’s as brave as any horse I’ve ever seen and he’s so careful. He’s not easy to ride, but when you have the right rider for that horse he’s amazing.”
Friday’s $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby saw a field of 40 entries contest for top honors over a beautifully decorated course accented by lush greenery, beautiful purple flowers and a stunning hay wagon island. David Beisel of David Beisel Stables in Goshen, Ohio and Lori Taylor’s MTM Bentley (Bonaparte Z x Hot Cherie P) were the stars of the class, pulling off an impossible approach in the handy round. Beisel and the six-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding were in typical flawless form throughout the first course, taking all four high options in the first round and earning a score of 88.75. When they returned for the handy round, Beisel decided to take a three-stride direct approach to fence 3 rather than go around and roll back, and was rewarded for his efforts with a score of 96. This brought their overall total score to 184.75, earning them the win in the class. MTM Bentley’s owner, Lori Taylor, was thrilled with her horse, saying, “Here’s the thing that’s cool about Bentley: he turns seven in August, so he’s still six now. He’s only been showing for a year. All he does is come to the show, does one round in a 3′ class, does the incentive, then he comes in and does the derby. That’s it, that’s how good his brain is.”
Saturday’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix saw another win for Ryan Genn and Wilhelm Genn’s VDL Gerinus T (Arezzo VDL x Rosalina) against an international field of 23 entries. Seven entries advanced to the jump-off and five managed double clear rounds, making for tough competition. Genn and the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding were on form again Saturday afternoon, bringing their A-game straight from their win on Thursday to the Grand Prix. The pair easily managed a clear first round in 72.243 seconds. They returned last for the jump-off with four double clear rounds already on the board. The duo gave the course their all for a second clear round in 34.725 seconds and the win in the class. Genn commented on the course, “Today’s class was a really hard 1.40m track. There were some good horses, too. It really complemented VDL Gerinus T’s natural ability. He’s one of those horses where the faster you go, the happier he is. If I try to make him go slow, he gets mad. He always tries really hard.”
Saturday’s $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design was an equally exciting competition with an incredible win by Jill Gaffney of Freestyling Farms in Batavia, Ohio and Freestyling Farms, LLC’s Z Love Story (Hunter x Elli) who left other entries in the dust with an impossibly fast jump-off. The pair blazed through the first round in 71.488 seconds, then continued straight to the jump-off of the Table II 2b class. Gaffney and the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare picked up even more pace and stopped the clock at 27.562 seconds, besting the second place time by more than three seconds for the blue ribbon. Gaffney laughed as she told us, “Well, she bucked me off in the warm up ring and ran around. However, once we got into the show ring, she was game-ready. She was ready to win, I could feel it. I knew that I could go as fast as I could possibly go. She was amazing.”
Saturday also featured the $2,000 Non Pro Derby 2’6″. Josephine Rose and her own His Way bested 30 entries for the win. The pair also swept the Non Professional Hunter 2’6″ throughout the week.
World Equestrian Center is excited for the opening events of our long-awaited Ocala, Florida, facility with an inaugural schedule that includes 12 weeks of World Equestrian Center hunter / jumper horse shows beginning January 5, 2021 and ending March 28, 2021. Prize money for the weekly events is proposed to top $400,000 per week with overall circuit money and prizes projected to reach nearly $5 million dollars. World Equestrian Center is committed to offering top quality horse shows for our competitors, owners and sponsors.
Exhibitors are encouraged to make their stall reservations in advance of the January 2021 opening. Reservations made now will hold stalls with payment due in October 2020 in advance of the twelve-week horse show circuit. Stall reservations can be made via www.horseshowing.com, in the ‘Ocala World Equestrian Center’ section.