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Fire Cat and Amanda Metzler Blaze to Victory in $1,500 WIHS Children's Jumper Classic

Wayne, IL - June 5, 2009 - It was a full day of competition in the Grand Prix Ring at the 2009 Showplace Spring Spectacular, and there were three major awards presentations for jumper riders. The first was the $1,500 WIHS Children's Jumper Classic sponsored by Ashley Hill, in which Amanda Metzler of St. Charles, IL, blazed to victory on Fire Cat over 27 other entries. In the $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Classic, Alissa Kinsey and Grisset continued their winning ways. Abbie Ross and TNT were victorious in the $1,500 NAL Pony Jumper Classic, sponsored by Midwest Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists.

Metzler and Fire Cat were one of 10 pairs that were clear in the first half of the Power and Speed course designed by Dave Ballard. Metzler and Fire Cat were clear in the Speed phase in a time of 28.666 seconds to take home the win over Éclair Dubeny and Sam Wagner, who finished in 28.952 seconds. Barbara Ruziska and Rebound were third in a time of 29.475 seconds.

Metzler has ridden Fire Cat for just nine months, but they have already been very successful, having won the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Circuit Championship in the Low Children's Jumpers. This was their first time competing in the regular Children's Jumper division. The 11-year-old Metzler believes that her horse is "really fun. He's fast and he jumps really good. He feels great!" she smiled.

"I thought the course was a little tricky, but it was fun," Metzler went on to say. "My trainer Steve Schaefer told me to go forward, and he told me to win this class. And I did!"

Metzler hopes to do well at Pony Finals this year with her pony jumpers, and she plans to move up to the junior jumpers with Fire Cat, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding.

Alissa Kinsey made the long trip from Salem, NH, to Chicago to compete over the next two weeks at the Showplace Spring Spectacular. She lives in Ft. Myers, FL, but is based up north in the summer. This is her first time competing at the Showplace Spring Spectacular, but she has already made it worthwhile by winning the $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Classic with her horse Grisset, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare that she imported three years ago.

"It's really gorgeous. I heard a lot of great things about the show," Kinsey said. "I drove all the way over here for the two weeks, to give it a shot. The prize money is great for my division too, which is a big thing for me. I have to support my habit with winning, so I go where the money is."

Kinsey and Grisset have won the WEF Circuit Championship for the past two years, and they just finished as champions at the Devon Horse Show. Kinsey believes that it is her horse's smoothness that helps her win. "A lot of the horses (in this division) are really hot and feisty, and they're very fast. I do get worried that they can beat me because they can turn tight and run, but she's got such a big stride and she's so smooth about it. It's deceiving how fast she is, and you don't have to run," she explained.

She felt that today's course suited her horse and said, "I was surprised that there weren't more clear rounds. I think the course had a lot of questions and options with the bending lines and how many strides you can do. Her big stride helped her because we could leave a stride out and keep going."

Kinsey will be one of the top competitors vying for the first place prize in Sunday's $5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Classic sponsored by Bill Kay Auto, as well as next week's $10,000 NAL Adult Jumper Grand Prix.

Another rider that kept on going this afternoon was 13-year-old Abbie Ross of Wheaton, IL. Ross and TNT, a 15-year-old mare, won the $1,500 NAL Pony Jumper Classic. The class was sponsored by Midwest Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists, which is owned by her father, Dr. Michael Ross.

Ross and TNT have been together for two years, and the pony was successful with Ross' older sister Lillie before that. They won the national championship last year at Harrisburg, and Ross hopes to be successful this year at Pony Finals.

She felt that today's course was "pretty good." She said, "It had nice turns and enough options to go inside. I try to go inside every time because she's really good at turning. I just wanted to go clean and go fast."

Ross was also happy to win today's class because of her family's involvement. "It makes me proud to win this class and I'm excited to win because it was for my mom and dad," she said.

Ross' mother Allison explained that their company, Midwest Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists, wants to give exposure of equestrian sport to the businesses in the Chicagoland area. "It's a perfect opportunity to support a great sport," Allison Ross explained. "We try to teach people to prevent accidents and injuries and treat them as well. We want to have more people and businesses here recognize this sport. This facility is amazing. We're hoping that we can bring more people here, and we like to support the exhibitors."

Competition continues tomorrow at the Showplace Spring Spectacular with the highlight class of the week, the $30,000 Showplace Productions Grand Prix sponsored by Tapestry Farm, at 3:30 p.m.

For further information on Showplace Productions and the Showplace Spring Spectacular, please visit http://www.showplaceproductions.com.

Final Results: $1,500 WIHS Children's Jumper Classic

1. Fire Cat, Amanda Metzler, Amanda Metzler

2. Éclair Dubeny, Sam Wagner, Nicole Wagner

3. Rebound, Barbara Ruziska, Tiffany Hammack

4. Traveler, Lauren Tyree, Katie Baron

5. Rocky, Hayley Waters, Chuck Waters

6. Tricky Cricket, Alexa Malevitis, Alexa Malevitis

7. Royal Step, Michael Banas, Brampton Woods Farm

8. Lord Stanley, Julia Murray, Julia Murray

9. Fast Break, Ashley Reed, Tiffany Hammack

10. Verdicchio, Devon Macneil, David Macneil

Final Results: $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Classic

1. Grisset, Alissa Kinsey, Alissay Kinsey

2. Chagall 115, Cynthia Hampton, Aja Vernon

3. Larissa 689, Cynthia Hampton, Hampton Farms LLC

4. Never In Time, Jenna Korte, Mark Domitrovich

5. Caribik Louis, Ashley Romano, Ashley Romano

6. Louie Louie, Amanda Williamson, Amanda Williamson

7. Brosius, Nicole Wagner, Sam Wagner

8. Trinchero, Bryn Stromberg, Bryn Stromberg

Final Results: $1,500 NAL Pony Jumper Classic

1. TNT, Abbie Ross, Lillie Ross

2. Bally Mac, Madeline Thatcher, Pony Lane Farm

3. Havana, Amanda Metzler, Amanda Metzler

4. Zack Attack, Amanda Metzler, Marshall Reed

Photo Credit: Fire Cat and Amanda Metzler won the $1,500 WIHS Children's Jumper Classic sponsored by Ashley Hill. Grisset and Alissa Kinsey were victorious in the $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Classic. Abbie Ross rode TNT to victory in the $1,500 NAL Pony Jumper Classic, sponsored by Midwest Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists. Photo © Jennifer Wood/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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