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Tampa Equestrian Festival Week 1 Wrap-up, March 18-22, 2009, Suncoast Internationale

Written by: Rebecca Walton and Lauren Fisher
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2009-03-23

Tampa, FL - March 23, 2009 - It was a clean sweep for Tiffany Hammock and Rebound in the Children's/Adult Jumper Division after their double clear victory in the Children's/Adult Jumper Classic yesterday. The pair won all three of the division's classes to earn the championship tricolor. The NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic win went to Samantha Schaefer for her ride aboard Snoop, and the division championship was divided between Schaefer and Snoop, and Michael Murphy and Cheeky, who placed third in the Classic. The two Classics were the highlights of the Suncoast Internationale, the first week of competition at the Tampa Equestrian Festival, held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Next week is the Tampa Bay Classic, which will be held March 25-29, and will feature the Grand Prix of Tampa on Sunday.

The Children's/Adult Jumper Classic competed in the Covered Arena over a course that included a double combination, a triple combination, and a liverpool. Seven riders completed clear first rounds and were able advance to the difficult jump-off course, which asked riders to complete many tight turns over six obstacles in a very fast time. Alex Vespico and Fairplay, owned by Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, were the first pair to go clear during round one, but missed the first jump and received no score during the jump-off for going off-course.

Tiffany Hammock earned the first place and second place ribbons during Sunday's class with her two mounts. Hammock and Carerra Z left all the jumps in tact during the jump-off and tripped the timers at 27.686 seconds to secure second place honors. Earlier in the class Hammock competed on Rebound where she was the first to go double clear and set the fastest time of the class, racing through the finish line in 26.437 seconds.

"I wanted to win, so I knew I had to go double clear and be very fast," smiled Hammock. "During the first round I wanted to be smooth and make sure I left all the jumps up. I wanted to let Rebound pause before the fences so that he would not run into them or flatten out."

She continued, "I don't really like jumping the first round on him because he doesn't really pay attention. He seems to know when the jump-off is and that's when he starts to pay more attention and is really careful."

Last year Hammock and Rebound won the NAL Adult Jumper Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. This year she hopes to qualify for the NAL Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Final with Rebound and Carerra Z.

The Grand Prix of Tampa next Sunday is an FEI World Cup Qualifier CSI-W for the FEI Rolex World Cup Finals that will be held in Las Vegas in April. It is also a qualifier for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, which will held at the end of week three, Saturday, April 4, at Raymond James Stadium. The $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational is the nation's premiere show jumping event, showcasing the top horses and riders from around the world.

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday to Sunday

On Wednesday Mario Deslauriers, of New York, NY, was victorious in both today's 1.30m and 1.35m classes. During the 1.30m Deslauriers rode Cocu, owned by Jane Clark of Cooperstown, NY, to a double clear victory, and followed in the 1.35m with a double clear victory aboard Diablo.

Today's courses were designed by Philip J De Vita and were scored under Table II, section B, a timed first jump off. The courses included 11 obstacles with bending lines, a skinny fence, and two double combinations. The jump-off tested riders' speed and power with tight turns and large oxers.

Deslauriers had three horses competing in today's 1.35m class, and earned all three of the top spots. Deslauriers would be the first rider to complete a fault free first round and move on to the jump-off round aboard Diablo. The duo also went clear in the jump-off and speed home with a time off 37.430, moving them into the lead. Deslauriers would go clear again with his next mount, Vicomte D, but during the jump-off the pair had a rail at the first fence in the double combination. Their jump-off time of 35.360 was the fastest of the class, and held up for the third place. Deslauriers went double clear with his final mount, Paradigm, but their jump-off time of 41.615 would not be enough to catch Diablo, and would put them in the second place for the day.

"Diablo is a young horse that I've been showing at WEF in the WEF Challenge Cups and the grand prix," explained Deslauriers. "It's nice to bring him here and let him come down a little bit and breathe. He's a really nice horse with a good stride and some blood, so you don't really need to push him or kick him, he pretty much does everything on his own."

Mary Shirley earned Thursday's top prize after her exciting double clear victory aboard RMW New Day in today's 1.40m class. The course featured 11 obstacles including two double combinations and a liverpool. For the jump-off riders had to make tight inside turns and complete one of the double combinations again.

Mario Deslauriers entered the ring first with Tigger and completed a clean first round with a time of 71.090. Deslauriers raced through the jump-off course but pulled the rail at the final fence, a single vertical off of a tight turn. The pair tripped the timer at 30.446, and with their four fault score, landed in second place. Derek Braun and Rio Lindebjerg were the next horse and rider combination to complete a clear first round and earn a spot in the jump-off. The duo had rails at the second fence in the jump-off, a large oxer off an inside turn, and the final fence before racing through the timers with a time of 29.920, which would hold up for third place. Shirley and RMW New Day were the final entry to complete the first course without any faults and move into the jump-off. The pair managed to be clean and fast with a time off 32.073, producing the only double clear and winning the class.

"The course was very inviting, and the turns rode very nicely; I thought they did an excellent job," explained Shirley. "I hadn't shown him in an indoor ring before, so I brought him up before the grand prix classes start next week, and this was a perfect start."

Shirley plans to continue showing RMW New Day during the next two weeks of the Tampa Equestrian Festival, and will then continue on to Kentucky to compete in the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows.

Mario Deslauriers was today's top rider again Friday, winning both the 1.30m and 1.40m classes in the Covered Arena. First Deslauriers competed in the 1.30m class with Lutopia, owned by Jane Clark of New York, NY, where they earned only one time fault. He then competed with Tigger, also owned by Clark, in the 1.40m class, where the pair completed double clear rounds and had the fastest jump-off time.

Mario Desauriers, of New York, NY, and his third mount Tigger completed clear rounds in both the first round and the jump-off, crossing the finish line in a time of 32.378, the fastest of the day, and garnering the blue ribbon. Deslauriers tried to catch his own time with his fourth mount, Diablo, and came very close with a faultless jump-off round, but the pair crossed the finish line with a time of 34.956, earning the second place prize.

"Tigger has a classic jumping style but sometimes he just needs a little extra leg because he will look at the jumps a little," Deslauriers said. "He's very quick, probably one of my fastest, and he's very handy. He has a big step and he can turn quickly because he is very quick with his knees. We're teaching him to go faster, so today was a really good exercise for him."

The first class of the day on Saturday was the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, where Erica Pritz, of Chicago, IL, and Landessa 4 earned the day's blue ribbon after performing the only double clear round of the class.

Erica Pritz and Landessa 4 were the first combination to enter the ring, and laid down the first round in 70.735. The pair entered the jump-off and was again faultless, with a time of 33.785, the only double clear in the class to earn first place.

"Today the plan was to be a little aggressive," explained Pritz after her double clear victory. "Sometimes I'm not very aggressive about doing the inside turns, but today I managed to do them and Landessa was perfect. She likes to be ridden forward in your hand and leg, which is a little different than I'm used to, but it's working."

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday through Sunday

After two days of competition the Pre-Green and Working Hunter divisions concluded Thursday with Jennifer Alfano and Michael Morrissey taking home top honors with their talented young horses. Professional hunter rider and trainer Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY, was champion and reserve champion of the Working Hunter division with her two horses Kid Rock and Exxtraordinary.

Six year-old Kid Rock, owned by Bright Star 158 LLC, won the division championship after placing first in three of the division’s five classes, and coming in second and fourth in the others. Five year-old Exxtraordinary, owned by Helen Lenehan of Buffalo, NY, was reserve champion with Alfano, placing third, third and fourth yesterday, and placing first and second today.

“Both of them started out the year pretty green and they are both really starting to come into their own,” Alfano commented. “Every week they just get better and better with more experience.”

Michael Morrissey had the very first championship win of the 2009 Tampa Equestrian Festival earlier in the morning riding Nono Z, owned by Richard Cheska of New Berlin, WI. Morrissey and Nono Z showed in the Pre-Green Hunter division, placing first, first and second in yesterday’s classes, and first and third over fences today.

Clair Kellner had the ride on the reserve champion Pre-Green Hunter for week one’s competition. Kellner rode Status Quo, owned by Biro Hunters, LLC of Lutz, FL, to the second highest point total of the division just behind Morrissey and Nono Z. Kellner and Status Quo placed first and second in today’s classes and were second, third and fifth yesterday.

The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal and Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal were held Friday afternoon in the covered ring with both wins going to Laura Pfeiffer. Laura Pfeiffer rides out of her family’s Fox Meadow Farm in Temperance, MI, and trains with her aunt, Polly Howard. She is 16 years old and competes as a junior in the equitation, hunter and jumper divisions.

Pfeiffer rode an eight year-old mare named Cassay to the wins in both the equitation medal classes today. Cassay is owned by Fox Meadow Farm and was purchased for Pfeiffer last summer.

“She is coming along; she hasn’t really done the equitation yet, so we are just training her and she is definitely learning a lot,” Pfeiffer explained after her wins. “She has been great.”

Pfeiffer showed Cassay in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal first this afternoon, completing the course over fences and riding under saddle as the judges determined who would receive top honors. After the flat portion of the class it was Pfeiffer who won the blue ribbon, with Lauren Baylor of St. Petersburg, FL, placing second. Caroline Carr of Ocala, FL, came in third place, and Chelsey Zulia of Canada placed fourth.

The riders immediately moved on to show over fences for the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal. After competing over fences the top four were called back to test for the top ribbons. All four riders executed the test skillfully, but it was Laura Pfeiffer who came out on top for the blue ribbon and top honors. Molly Braswell of Ocala, FL, placed second. Shawn Casady of Ocala, FL placed third, and Chelsey Zulia of Canada placed fourth.

Earlier in the day the Ariat National Adult Medal was held, with Courtney Rodrigue of Longwood, FL taking top honors aboard her horse Role Model. Lisa Hunt of Marshall, VA rode her horse Wyona to second place honors and Lori Ahearn of Palm Harbor, FL, rode The Flying Dutchman to third place. Karen Jones of Tampa, FL placed fourth.

Saturdays’s competition featured the conclusion of the Amateur-Owner Hunter division. After two day’s of competition, the division’s championship honors were awarded with the win going to Betty Oare of Warrenton, VA. Oare rode her nine year-old Westphalian mare Fine Kiss to the Amateur-Owner Hunter championship and her nine year-old Selle Francais mare L’Alezon to the reserve championship.

Oare and Fine Kiss won both classes over fences today and were first and second yesterday to score the most points in the division. Oare and L’Alezon placed second and third in today’s classes and were first, second and fourth yesterday.

“I am really happy with the way things ended up today,” Oare stated. “The horses gave it their all. We did okay yesterday, but there was a lot of room for improvement and today I felt like I stepped up and did what I was supposed to; I felt really good about it.”

The Junior Hunters 15 and Under were the first to compete Sunday morning with the division championship going to Garfield, owned by K&S Show Service of Westminster, MD, and ridden by Samantha Schaefer. Ferngully, owned by Don Stewart, Jr. of Ocala, FL, was reserve champion with Taylor Ann Adams in the irons.

Garfield is just seven years old and is the newest horse that junior rider Samantha Schaefer is showing this year.

“Garfield is a really cool horse,” Schaefer smiled. “He always jumps perfectly and he really wants to win. He is young and he just started, but he has come such a long way and he has grown up a lot.”

The Junior Hunter 16-17 division was next to show in the main hunter ring this morning. The division championship was awarded to Lyle after two great days of competition. Lyle is owned by Stephanie Keen of Ocala, FL, and was ridden this weekend by Abby O’Mara. Manchineel, ridden by Laura Pfeiffer and owned by Doug Mesker of Tampa, FL, was the division’s reserve champion.


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