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Box Seats Available for Saturday Night's AHJF Hunter Spectacular at PBIEC

WELLINGTON, Fla., Feb. 14--Kelley Farmer and Early Applause won the World Championship Hunter Rider Spectacular Saturday night, an event she described as "the most important to win in America... like winning the Kentucky Derby."

They were clear winners with 184.50 points combined over two rounds, all the more remarkable for this being only the fourth horse show for Early Applause, a seven-year-old bay gelding and "some sort of warmblood" and the first time the horse had competed over four feet.

The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation event was a glittering affair of a near sold out VIP dinner in the International Club and box seats at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The event was the midway highlight of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival that runs for 12 weeks through Mar. 27.

Twenty-combinations started the first round of the championship, whittled down from the hundreds who competed throughout hunter week, under the lights in PBIEC's centerpiece International Arena.

Kelley Farmer, 33, of Keswick, Va. and Early Applause, owned by Larry Glefke, also of Keswick, maintained the lead they established in the first round to top Morgan Thomas and Vedette owned by Norgan, Inc. with 178.16 points and Eliza Towell Boyd of Camden, S.C. and Andora owned by Windhaven of Moncton, N.B., Canada with 175.99 points.

Farmer described her mount as "quiet, careful and an absolute brat... who demands attention from everyone all the time."

Glefke, the owner, said that quality of the competition, the footing, the course, the arena made the Hunter Spectacular at PBIEC the best event for hunters in the U.S.

"I would give up my prize money," he said half seriously, "to win this event... it is the one to win. The horses who win this are the great horses."

The name Early Applause comes from Glefke's optimism of starting to applaud good rounds before the ride is complete.

Results of the final round:


93 91 92 92.00 184.50

2 . VEDETTE NORGAN INC 92 90 90 90.66

89 85.5 88 87.50 178.16

3. ANDORA WINDHAVEN 88 84 87 86.33

92 87 90 89.66 175.99

4, SUNSHINE BECKY GOCHMAN 90 86 85 87.00

90 86 87 87.66 174.66

5. ARGENTUM ALTA BASALDUA 89 88 88 88.33

85 83 85 84.33 172.66

6. PREMONITION SHEILA MOTLEY 87 84.75 83.5 85.08

84 85 84 84.33 169.41

7. SAMBALINO GINA DAY 87.5 87 84.5 86.33

82 82 82 82.00 168.33

8. PERIDOT STEPHEN MARTINES 86.5 84.25 85.5 85.41

79 80 74 77.66 163.07

Photo: Kelley Farmer and Early Applause completing the second round to clinch victory in the World Championship Hunter Rider Spectacular at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington Saturday night. Photo: 2009 Ken Braddick


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