Sasche, Texas’ Amanda “Happy” Comly had plenty to be happy about Week V at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic! Despite earlier heavy rain, the sun came out and the $25,000 Sidelines Grand Prix, held in Jumper I, installed with KCR footing, saw her gallop to the win, besting a field of eleven horse and rider teams. She also grabbed the ninth place honors with Alexandra Comly’s A & A Balthazar.
“I’ve been here for the past 4 years and this is also where I started when I was just a kid. Even back in 2004, we’ve always moved from the field to the ring when there is a lot of rain-I’ve never had an issue. They really don’t slip on it and I’ve ridden at other shows where the dry footing is really slippery. I don’t have a problem riding out here and it has always held up great. I knew I had to ‘turn and burn’ to win and I knew the footing wouldn’t be an issue,” said Comly.
Christina Athens of Tulsa, Oklahoma and her own Akira TSP were the first to go and the first to turn in a clear round in a time of 85.554 to qualify for the jump off.
Christina Fisher of Alpharetta, Georgia and her own Conero followed with their own clear round in a time of 79.986 seconds and then Scott Lenkart of Bartonville, Texas and Fleur de Lis Farms’ Ziezo added their name to the roster after their first round in a time of 82.583 seconds. Shannon Hicks of Lake St. Louis, Missouri and Helen Gilbert’s Emir D joined the jump off list after turning in a clear first round in a time of 81.861 seconds.
Comly and Clock-Wise CSH followed with their own clear first round in a time of 80.455 seconds, adding themselves to the roster. “Our first round looked a little rough and wasn’t so pretty, but it clicked in the jump off round -when it counted!” said Comly.
Hicks and Helen Gilbert’s Al Pachini were the last to go in the class and added themselves to the jump off order after posting a clear round in a time of 75.057 seconds.
Christina Athens and Akira were the first to go, but four jump faults in a time of 41.579 seconds would see them finish in fourth place. Fisher and Conero followed in the order, but four jump faults and seven time faults for their 58.117 seconds would see them finish in fifth place.
Scott Lenkart and Ziezo followed and turned in the first clear round in a time of 39.197 seconds and set the new time to beat. Hicks and Emir D stepped up to the challenge and although they went clear, their time of 40.052 seconds would see them finish behind Lenkart.
Hicks followed with Al Pachini as the last horse to go in the order, but retired early, leaving the win to Comly and Clock-Wise CSH and second place to Scott Lenkart and Ziezo. Hicks and Al Pachini would finish in sixth place.
“This is only the second venue for us this year,” said Comly. “And, it’s our first grand prix win!” she said happily. “I got him last July and we did some welcomes in Colorado and some 1.40 m and 1.45 m in Tryon. He has been very good over some tough tracks and we’re still trying to click,” she added. “Today it definitely clicked and I’m just so excited about our first win together today,” she added. “It was a real bonus!”
Northlake, Texas’ Kelley Buringa and her own Ladybird bested a field of twenty two horse and rider teams over a course designed by Manuel Esparza to earn the blue ribbon in the $7,500 Welcome which kicked off the jumper action Week V.
The first round was set with a time to beat of 88 seconds which saw only half the class advance to a second round opportunity.
Hampshire, Illinois’ Liz Atkins in the irons of her own Good Vision, were the first to tackle the course and advanced to a second round. Although their time of 42.288 seconds would beat the time allowed of 60 seconds, four jump faults would find them finishing in eighth place overall.
Laura Connaway of Little Rock, Arkansas and her own Quite Funny followed in the order and also advanced to a second round. However, four jump faults in the second round in a time of 42.957 would keep them out of the ribbons.
Scott Lenkart and Fleur de Lis Farms’ Ziezo followed to a second round opportunity, but four jump faults in a time of 43.774 seconds would keep them out of the ribbons.
Kelley Buringa and Lady Bird followed with the next double clear rounds and with their second round time of 40.912, would set the new time to beat.
Liz Atkins returned to the grass grand prix field, this time in the irons of Benchmark Stables, LLC’ Carletta. The pair turned in double clear rounds but their second round time of 42.869 would not be fast enough to catch Buringa and Ladybird so Atkins and Carletta would finish in third place.
Laura Connaway also returned to the grand prix field, this time in the irons of Ceralena and this time, turned in back to back fault free rounds in a time of 44.242 which would see them finish in fourth place overall.
Sitting in the enviable last to go spot, Liz Atkins and Benchmark Stables, LLC’s Undine turned in double clear rounds, however their second round time in 41.305 seconds wouldn’t be fast enough to secure the win and they finished in second place behind Buringa and Ladybird.