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Alise and Lucie Oken of Hi Hopes Farm Garner Championship Tricolors

Wellington, FL - March 25, 2009 - It was another successful week of competition for Alise and Lucie Oken at the Winter Equestrian Festival, both bringing home championship tricolors for their family's Hi Hopes Farm, based in Weddington, NC. The sisters ride with top trainers Steve Heinecke and Jeff Wirthman, and Marc and Celene Oken own Hi Hopes Farm.

Lucie Oken and Promise captured the Medium Pony Hunter championship award over 30 ponies competing in the division. Oken and Promise won both the under saddle and the handy round, earned the second place ribbon in two of the over fences classes, and were third in the conformation. Oken also competed in the Large Pony Hunter division with Lands End Mad Hatter where she was awarded the third place ribbon in one of the over fences classes and the under saddle class, as well as earning the forth place award in the handy class.

Lucie Oken then moved on to the equitation ring with her mount Mid Accord. Oken purchased Mid Accord in August of 2008 and was originally competing in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children's Medal and the Children's Hunter division. Last week she began competing in the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal, Section A and the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship, Section A, where she earned sixth and eighth place honors.

"This was only Lucie's second time competing in the equitation but she has been very successful," explained Heinecke. "She is taking to it really well and she enjoys it; she just does it naturally well."

This week Lucie Oken also purchased a new horse, Cool Blue, who she will compete with in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division. "He is a really wonderful horse and we're happy to have him," smiled Heinecke. "It's a great match; she rode him beautifully the first time she sat on him. It's time for her to start moving from the pony divisions to the junior divisions and he is the perfect horse." This was the first week Oken competed on Cool Blue and the pair earned a third place ribbon in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under handy class.

Alise Oken and Take Away were awarded the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 championship prize for the second week in row on Sunday. The duo won the under saddle and the over fences class, were third in the stake class and seventh in the handy. Oken also competed with her second mount Quintin, earning the fourth place award in the over fences class.

This has been a very successful winter circuit for Hi Hopes Farm, which will be taking home 71 first place ribbons to Weddington, NC. "The horses have been incredible," said Wirthman. "Winning that many classes at WEF is just beyond anything I could have imagined. They have all been great and everyone has stepped up to the plate, I could not have asked for things to go any better than they have, it's been fantastic!"

This week Hi Hopes Farm will have two mounts competing the in the USHJA International Hunter Derby. Alise Oken will compete with her top junior hunter Take Away, and Steve Heinecke will ride the Second Year Green Working Hunter Quintin in the exciting class.

Photo Credit: Alise Oken and Take Away earned their the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 championship tricolor for the second week in a row during WEF Week 11. Photo Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


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