Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 1, 2018 – All day Wednesday at Lamplight Equestrian Center’s second week of Equifest, spectators gathered to watch classes full of eager competitors battle for the show’s top honors. In the Grand Prix Arena, Ryan Michael Genn and Calamera stole the spotlight for the day, clinching a speedy victory in the competitive Open 1.35m Jumpers.
Nicole Bellissimo and Jersey V.D. Hunters, owned by Bellissimo LLC, were first in the ring for the class, completing a clear first round. The pair subsequently moved on to their jump-off round, setting the pace for the remainder of the class by crossing the finish line clear in 31.695 seconds. Bellissimo and Jersey V.D. Hunters kept their names at the top of the leaderboard until Genn and Calamera entered the ring, determined to surpass their time.
Genn and Calamera focused on riding a smooth, yet efficient, first round in order to be given the opportunity to challenge the leader’s time. They were successful in doing so, finishing the first round clear without missing a beat. Kicking into high gear for the jump-off, Genn and Calamera skillfully navigated the course in 29.774 seconds to overtake Bellissimo and Jersey V.D. Hunters.
Genn has developed a special relationship with the 8-year-old mare, owned by his father Wilhelm Genn, largely due to her sweet and caring nature. Sensitive and scopey, Calamera has proven her ability in the jumper ring by always leaving rails up with her careful nature. Today was no exception, as Genn explained she masterfully navigated tight turns in today’s jump-off rounds and took out a stride before the last jump to help them secure the victory.
The remaining horse-and-rider combinations each took their shot at going double clear with a time quicker than Genn’s, but none were able to meet his challenge. Bellissimo and Jersey V.D. Hunters finished the class in second place, while Michael Dorman and Wyndmont Inc.’s Favoriet U took home the third place ribbon, jumping double clear with a 31.773-second jump-off round.
Competition at Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Equifest II will resume Thursday, Aug. 2 with the 1.20m Jumpers. Don’t miss Thursday evening’s exciting $25,000 Welcome Grand Prix kicking off at 4 p.m., as well as the week’s highlight event Saturday, Aug. 4 — the $50,000 Buck Brothers John Deere Grand Prix at 4 p.m.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Ryan Michael Genn – Open 1.35m Jumpers winner
“Calamera is an 8-year-old mare, and she’s the younger sister of the best horse I’ve ever had named Cookie Monster. She’s very special to me in that sense. Physically she’s not a lot like him but mentally they are very similar, so it’s really cool to see that. She’s very sensitive but very sweet so everyone in the barn really likes her.”
On his rounds:
“She was really good today. Yesterday she was a little more difficult because she was really fresh and it was the first day. Today she was a lot more level-headed and really easy. We went around and she was nice and balanced everywhere, really positive but still jumping really careful. Naturally she’s super careful.
“The first round she was pretty much perfect, and in the jump-off I caught [fence] one to [fence] two really hot, then I had to turn back onto [fence] three and had a little trouble turning her back to the skinny because I was going so forward. It was just the way I caught the second jump so I had a little bit harder turn back there, then she was really good everywhere. Into the combination she was really brave and scopey. To the last jump she actually left out a stride; it was more of a five-and-a-half to a short six, and she did five. When I landed it was super far away but I just kicked forward anyway praying that she would fire and she really did. I was really happy with her there.”
On the Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“I grew up showing here and I’ve always loved it. It’s my first time back in two years and I’m really glad I came back. I forgot how much I loved it. It’s so beautiful and everyone is really nice. Nina does such a great job with this place. Every year she makes it nicer and nicer so we really like coming here.”