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Tobasco and Alexandra Thornton Triumph for 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival Circuit Championship

Wellington, FL – April 12, 2007 – At the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, CSI-4*, which was held on April 7 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, the Winter Equestrian Festival awarded circuit championships to the leading horses and riders of the 2007 season. Alexandra Thornton and her chestnut gelding Tobasco joined the traditional Parade of Champions to receive the coveted Small Junior 15 and Under Hunter Championship. They were also awarded the Marie Speed Perpetual Memorial Trophy for winning the Grand Junior Hunter Championship.

Thirteen-year-old Thornton resides in Bedminster, NJ, and trains with Susie Humes, a well-known judge and highly respected trainer in the equestrian industry. In 2006, Thornton and Tobasco took home the overall WEF circuit championship for the Children’s Hunter division, and the pair only moved up to the Junior Hunters last August.

“I was thrilled with our success during WEF this year,” commented Thornton. “I had a lot of new experiences, started new divisions and rode new horses. WEF was such a rewarding experience for me, both through success in the show ring and through my learning and development as a rider. Tobasco could not have been better and qualifying for the Hunter Spectacular was a lofty goal that I was hoping to one day to accomplish.”

In addition to Tobasco, she showed her large junior hunters, For The Music and High Noon, and earned additional division championships at WEF. Her family farm Dunwalke added new mounts to its stellar string of horses.

“For The Music was great this season, and we were consistent throughout the circuit, but one of the most exciting things that happened during WEF was my progress with High Noon,” she related. “I got him at the beginning of August last year. He had previously been a jumper and had just started his life as a hunter. It has been fun and gratifying to be a part of training him to be a junior hunter.” She added, “With the help of Susie, Phil [Kiley] and Charlie Weaver, it happened really quickly, and every week he got better and better.”

“I also got a new jumper, Naomi, at the beginning of March. I recently moved up to the junior jumpers, and she is so much fun to ride. She has really boosted my confidence riding jumpers and is much more experienced than I am. So, in the ring when I make a tight turn or a funny approach to a jump, it is really nice to be riding a horse that knows how to leave from every angle possible. I am so lucky to have her!”

In addition to Naomi, Dunwalke added a new equitation horse to their farm named Samson.

“I started the 3’6’’ equitation this season on Samson. I was looking forward to doing the equitation because I remembered how challenging it was when I did it with my ponies. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work because a classically correct position is not one of my strengths,” she smiled. “The past two weeks in Tampa were very rewarding for me because I felt like I was getting the hang of it, and my courses were starting to come together. I love riding Samson in the equitation, and I always look forward to a new, challenging course.”

“I would like to thank everyone at Dunwalke, especially Susie and Phil. None of this would have been possible without them,” she acknowledged. “And I also want to thank Charlie Weaver for all of his help with the hunters, and most of all George Morris, who has been so generous with his time and who has helped me tremendously. And of course, my parents, who support me in everything I do.”

Humes added, “It is rewarding for me to watch Alexandra develop into a horsewoman and mature as a rider and competitor. She is a hard worker and cares so much about her horses, and she is always appreciative of the help that she receives from everyone.”

The horses at Dunwalke will compete next at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, and then they will move on to Devon, NJ, Lake Placid, NY, Lexington, KY, Traders Point, IN, Monmouth, NJ, and The Hampton Classic in New York.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Thornton and Tobasco during Parade of Champions. Photo©2007 Randi Muster.


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