Samuel Parot and Costa Real Win Outback Steakhouse Gamblers Choice; Taylor Ann Adams Named Grand Puba Junior Champion; Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z Triumphant in $35,000 Outback Steakhouse Grand Prix
Conyers, GA — June 26, 2011 — The Atlanta Summer Classics wrapped up competition at the Georgia International Horse Park, awarding nearly $300,000 in prize money and raising thousands for local charities over the two week run. “We’ve had some of the best riders in our sport joining us; it’s been a remarkable series and I couldn’t be happier,” Bob Bell, President of Classic Company, said.
Starting off the finale week was a couple of highly anticipated clinics on Tuesday, beginning with a member of the $1 million dollar club, famed Grand Prix pro Wilhelm Genn, sharing his secrets of mastering water jumps. Sponsored by the United States Hunter Jumper Association, Genn used the covered arena to set a mini course of six jumps, two with water hazards and utilized approximately ten horses to demonstrate proper and improper approaches. Speaking over a wireless microphone to riders and trainers for nearly two hours, Genn answered questions and provided helpful tips to “boost a horse’s confidence” when confronting water obstacles. Following was a very informative Pony Model Clinic with one of the foremost experts in this area, Bibby Farmer from Ocala, FL. She carefully explained to the young exhibitors not only what judges look for, but how to get the best from their ponies. Covering all the essentials from the pony’s stance to where the exhibitors’ attentions need to be when a judge is walking about them. On Thursday evening it was the judges who found themselves in the proverbial hot seats for an open forum called Just Ask the Judges, sponsored by Practical Horseman magazine. Three of the most respected names in judging, Betty Oare, Scott Fitton, and Barry Lobel, fielded questions from exhibitors and provided insight on scoring in the Hunter/Jumper disciplines. The panel also shared several of what they referred to as Judges’ Pet Peeves, which included overly short releases, especially in the Equitation divisions. All the experts agreed a restrictive release interferes with the horse’s jumping style, but pointed out that that doesn’t imply they want to see the opposite extreme with the infamous overdone throwing of the arms release. Another peeve they described was the exaggerated tour taken upon entering the ring, stating that if a rider needs to show their mount the ring and/or the fences then the rider appears unprepared. Questions were asked on a wide range of subjects and guests left the forum armed with a lot of valuable information. “The clinics were a giant success and we [Classic Company] will be introducing more of these throughout out show schedule,” Bell commented.