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Invincible and Ellen Toon Victorious in Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 Championship

Tampa, FL - April 3, 2009 - The Tampa Equestrian Festival's week three Tournament of Champions continued this week at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. The Tournament of Champions hunter competition is a qualifier for the World Championship Hunter Rider Program, and some of the top horses and riders are competing for top honors. The show will conclude this Saturday, April 4.

Ellen Toon competed in the week three Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division with her horses Attaché and Invincible this afternoon. Toon took home both the championship and reserve championship tricolors with her talented horses after the two days of competition. Invincible won the championship honors and Attaché was awarded the reserve championship honors for the second highest points in the division.

"They were a little fresh yesterday," Toon explained. "They were in such a rhythm in Palm Beach week after week and I think that we got a little lackadaisical, but this is a new place. Today they were a little quieter and they were perfect, so I was very happy."

Toon praised both horses for their consistency. "Attache always has energy, but good energy," she said. "He knows his job and he is a really great horse to ride. Invincible is always so good and he just keeps getting better and better."

Toon enjoyed the laid back atmosphere in Tampa after coming off of the Winter Equestrian Festival's twelve-week circuit. "We came and schooled the first day we got here and it was so nice because the ring was open and the footing was so nice," Toon explained. "I had so much fun on both of them; they were perfect. That made the whole show for me because I just had so much fun schooling over the courses."

Toon added, "I haven't shown here in the last couple of years because of the conflicts with Palm Beach, but we have always loved coming here. We enjoy it; there are a lot of great restaurants in the area and the facility is great. They really put on a great show and I think we are going to try and come again next year because we just like it so much."

The younger Amateur-Owner Hunters 18-35 also competed this afternoon with Marianna Bishop Wade winning the championship tricolor with her horse Bishonen. Megan McGuire and Abel won the reserve championship.

Marianna Bishop Wade is from Charlottesville, VA and has owned eight year-old Bishonen for three years. Wade has showed Bishonen during the last two weeks of competition in Tampa and is very pleased with how the show has gone.

"He has been really good," Wade smiled. "It was a little windy one day last week and he was a little up, but he has been great. He is very slow, but he is so sweet and he has a lot of personality. He was so good in the mud today; he loves it, he doesn't care at all."

This winter was Wade's first time showing in Florida and therefore her first time ever competing at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. "It has been really nice," she expressed. "It has been fun to do something new because I usually show in Virginia where it is cold in the winter. It is nice to come have new competition and go to new places."

There is just one day of competition left for the 2009 Tampa Equestrian Festival's Tournament of Champions week. Tomorrow's competition will feature the conclusion of the Junior Hunter divisions with championship presentations and the evening's feature event will follow shortly after. The show's grand finale, the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational will begin at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, where the top 35 horses and riders will compete for one of the most prestigious titles in show jumping.

For more information please visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com.

Photo Credit: Ellen Toon rode Invincible to the division championship for the Amateur-Owner Hunters 35 & Over at the 2009 Tampa Equestrian Festival's Tournament of Champions. Photo © 2009 Lauren Fisher. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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