Wilhelm Genn has always been a man of hope. Fresh off a World Cup Qualifier win in Sacramento, CA, that hope is proving to be a smart thing to hold onto.

Hope is what drove him when he gave up opportunities in his home nation of Germany to start his Rheinland Farm operation in the U.S. with his wife, Patricia, more than 30 years ago. And it’s what he held on to as his two youngest sons Theo and Ryan grew up on the farm and sat astride their first Shetland Ponies, Pumpkin Pie, and Chocolate Chip.

Wilhelm hoped Theo and Ryan would catch on and join the family business, but he didn’t pressure them. He had to wait until both boys were in their teens for them to show interest in the sport of show jumping, but the Genn trio is now strongly making their presence known, with all three succeeding in the Grand Prix ranks across the country.

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For the first time in history, a U.S. dressage rider is ranked number one on the world rankings: following her performance at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September, Laura Graves and Verdades, the 16-year-old KWPN gelding that she owns with Curt Maes, are placed one point ahead of German powerhouse Isabel Werth and Weihegold OLD. Their impressive team Grand Prix and individual silver medal Grand Prix Special performances at the WEG in September increased their point total to 2,714 following the WEG and ultimately edging them up to the top of the Leaderboard. (Read more about the changes to the FEI Dressage World Ranking list and view the updated standings.)

Laura and “Diddy” have a fairytale story that has seen them rise to the top of the sport from humble beginnings.

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