Edited Press Release
The spotlight shifted to jumper athletes Saturday, January 7 during Winter Classic #5 at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington’s Winter in the Midwest indoor circuit. The state-of-the-art facility played host to an impressive group of horse-and-athlete combinations for the highly anticipated $30,000 Tribute Grand Prix. Fourteen partnerships put their best foot forward in the Sanctuary, though none could touch Genevieve Munson (USA) as she earned the blue ribbon on Charlene (Clarimo x Raja II) and second place aboard Contendro Star (Contendro I x Gloria).
Anderson Lima (BRA) set a towering track for the field of scopey horses. A triple combination, a one-stride quick out of the turn, and a delicate liverpool at the end of the arena asked technical questions of the athletes and their abilities. Lima’s track was full of great difficulty, though Munson saw no challenge in the task at hand, besting the field of professionals in great style and speed aboard both of her entered mounts.
Of the seven horses to return for the jump-off, Munson of Rogers, Arkansas, returned first to go on her very own Contendro Star. The 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding impressed the crowd with his unmatched scope, making great efforts through the combinations and taking precious strides out in the lines during the jump-off phase. Landing through the timers in 33.419 seconds, the duo held the lead until Munson bested her own time aboard her second and final mount of the class.
“The plan definitely differed between horses. They are both very quick, but in totally different ways,” Munson explained. “Nigel (Contendro Star) has the gift of a large stride, so the turns are a lot harder for him. This jump-off played to his strengths because it was a long line and then a flat turn to another long line. I was able to do six strides which was a double leave out compared to what the other horses did.”
“The mare (Charlene) gets flat whenever she gets too stretched out and will have rails down. Her gift is how quick and handy she is, so it did not play to her strengths as much. I asked a lot of her today, but she gave me all that she had. She was incredible.”
As the final entry to return, already sitting on top, Munson looked to sweep the class with a first and second place. Picking up an immediate gallop to jump one, the 15-year-old Holsteiner mare made turns untried by the rest of the field to leave out one stride to the final fence. Munson and Charlene galloped through the timers in 32.935 seconds to take the win.
The young professional continues to grow her already successful record with her string of horses at Rogers Equestrian Center in Rogers, Arkansas, and Ecurie De Cuite Feve in Rosieres-Aux-Salines, Lorraine, France.
Rounding out the podium was Paul Halpern (CAN) and Vanessa Lee’s Esra (Bratt Z x Ulibra). Halpern of Ecuries Nova Stables in Montreal, Quebec, guided the mare to two consistent and effortless clear rounds. Crossing through the timers in 34.071, the duo was awarded third-place honors.
WEC – Wilmington sponsor Vitalize presented the Blazin’ Fastest Four Faulter $1,000 bonus in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix to Liz Hutchison and Balugata, who earned 74.664 seconds in the first round, finishing 10th in the class.
$30,000 Tribute Grand Prix Results:
1 Charlene, Genevieve Munson, Genevieve Munson | 0 | 32.935
2 Contendro Star, Genevieve Munson, Genevieve Munson | 0 | 33.419
3 Esra, Vanessa Lee, Paul Halpern | 0 | 34.071
4 Ivaro N, Barbara Disko, Lisa Goldman-Smolen | 0 | 35.271
5 Nike, Lisa Goldman-Smolen, Lisa Goldman-Smolen | 4 | 33.176
6 Carel Van Donderen, Darby Pease, Louisa Robb | 4 | 35.399
7 BSH Matinee, Shawn Butler, Shawn Butler | 4 | 36.108
8 Cumbaya W, Darby Pease, Hillary Gromus | 15 | 58.552
9 Balugata, Liz Hutchison, Stellar Farms INC | 4 | 74.664
10 Clarence NT, Mikayla Sancho, Mikayla Sancho | 4 | 78.783