May 22nd, 2011 – Conyers, Georgia – The 2011 Atlanta Spring Challenge Horse Show came to a close today at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, GA. Attention turned to the International Arena on Saturday evening for the $25,000 Atlanta Spring Challenge Grand Prix and “Preakness Party” which was sponsored by DFG Stables and Daniel and Cathy Geitner of Aiken, SC. The crowd gathered early to enjoy the impressive spread of tasty Mexican fare including ground beef, chicken, and steak tacos with rice and all of the fixings and an assortment of special mini cupcakes to celebrate the occasion. A large screen TV was set up for everyone to enjoy the 136th running of the Preakness Stake. As Shackleford headed towards the winners circle at Pimlico, riders prepared to tackle the challenging Prix course designed by J. P. Godard. The course set at the National Standard offered 15 jumping efforts in the first round including a double and triple combination with a time allowed of 84 seconds. The shortened jump off course included 8 jumping efforts with numerous options and a time allowed of 48 seconds.
It was a fantastic night for Daniel Geitner and his DFG stables of Aiken, South Carolina. Out of the original field, Geitner qualified two mounts for the jump off, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bostwick’s Sympa and CDS Stable’s Neville. DFG’s Christina Jason also advanced to the jump off on the Booth Parker Owned entry Wonder Pomme.
Overall 8 horse rider combinations graduated to the jump off including last week’s Prix winner Lazaro and owner rider Jordan Coyne. Coyne and Lazaro followed suit with their consistency throughout the two week show series turning in a clear round with a time of 36.276 taking the lead with 4 left to go. Wednesday’s $5,000 Welcome Stake winner Taylor Land and Nepal were next to try their luck turning in a quick and clear effort, but just missing the lead with a time of 36.296. With a tough test in front of them, Geitner and Sympa entered the ring looking cool and confident with the crowd on the edge of their seats. Cheering erupted as the popular duo jumped the last oxer brilliantly galloping to the finish with no jumping faults and a time of 35.755 taking the lead with only 1 left to go. With the final horse and rider Susan Knoblauch and her Carneval having a rail at 9a, 10, and 11, Sympa and Geitner sealed their victory. Sympa, a 12 year old Rheinland mare, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bostwick of Aiken, SC. The pair garnered 14 top ten placings in 2010 and most recently won the $25,000 Grand Prix of Gulfport back in February. “It was a great night and a great class,” said Geitner. “The course rode really well and I had a lucky draw this week – I knew what we needed to do,” Geitner explained, referring to he and Sympa going next to last in the original order and the jump off. Sympa and Geitner were presented with a custom cooler donated by Integrity Fine Equestrian Linens, a bridle donated by SmartPak, and horse cookies donated by Mrs. Pastures.
Team Land of Atlanta Georgia also earned some recognition Saturday night as Taylor Land and Jay Land’s Nepal took home third place honors in the Grand Prix and sister Francis Land and her Melin captured fourth. The sisters ride out of their Pinetree Farms in Atlanta, GA.
Up in the hunter rings, Ashton Alexander riding out of Don Stewart Stables in Ocala, FL had a super weekend in the pony ring. She took home multiple tricolors including the Medium Pony division championship on Bibby Hill’s Sassafras Creek, the Medium Pony reserve championship on Hill’s Roxbury, the Large Pony championship on Isabelle Caccamese’s Losander’s Camelot, the Large Pony reserve championship on Don Stewart’s Mystic Pizza, the Small-Medium Green Pony championship on Bibby Hill’s Beiber, and to top it all off she won the Medium Pony Classic on Sassafras Creek and the Large Pony Classic on Mystic Pizza.
The rest of the Don Stewart Stables group continued to rack up the wins this weekend as well with Taylor Adams and Don Stewart’s Walk the Line taking the championship in the Large Junior 16-17 division and Meg Mitchell and All That also owned by Stewart capturing the Small Junior 15 and under championship. They also dominated the equitation classes with wins in the USEF Medal for Julie Gravelle, the USEF Talent Search for Emma Kennedy, the ASPCA Maclay with Geoffrey Hesslink, and Hasbrouck Donovan took the top spot in the WIHS overall.
Over in the Amateur Owner divisions, the 18-35 section tricolor went to All the Best and owner rider Christina Fisher while the 36 and over division championship was won by McGraw and Kimberly Quinn. The $1,000 Amateur Owner Hunter Classic was won by Formality and owner rider Sandy Gregory. For complete horse show results please go to www.equusevents.com.
Equus Events continues its show schedule with the Tryon Summer Classic June 2-5 at FENCE in Tryon, NC. For more information please log on to www.equusevents.com or call 803-643-5698.