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Garfield and Samantha Schaefer Win Junior Hunter 15 and Under Championship at the Tampa Equestrian Festival

Tampa, FL - March 22, 2009 -The Junior Hunter divisions were awarded championship honors this morning in the Main Hunter Ring of the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The championship awards were the culmination of two days of competition for the Junior Hunters, as the 2009 Tampa Equestrian Festival's first week of competition concluded today. The three-week equestrian festival runs from March 18 through April 4 with the top horses and riders in the country competing.

The Junior Hunters 15 and Under were the first to compete this morning with the division championship going to Garfield, owned by K&S Show Service of Westminster, MD, and ridden by Samantha Schaefer. Ferngully, owned by Don Stewart, Jr. of Ocala, FL, was reserve champion with Taylor Ann Adams in the irons.

Garfield is just seven years old and is the newest horse that junior rider Samantha Schaefer is showing this year.

"Garfield is a really cool horse," Schaefer smiled. "He always jumps perfectly and he really wants to win. He is young and he just started, but he has come such a long way and he has grown up a lot."

Since Garfield has done so well the last few weeks, Schaefer hopes to show him at the Devon Horse Show in May and will then compete throughout the summer to qualify for indoors in the fall. She is excited about the possibilities for the talented young horse, stating, "He is a such a good boy; I think he is going to be a superstar."

Schaefer has shown here in Tampa for the past three years and really enjoys the competition and the great facilities. "I like this show a lot," she stated. "They try really hard to keep everything clean and nice and the jumps are really pretty. I think that they do a great job and I really like it here."

The Junior Hunter 16-17 division was next to show in the main hunter ring this morning. The division championship was awarded to Lyle after two great days of competition. Lyle is owned by Stephanie Keen of Ocala, FL, and was ridden this weekend by Abby O'Mara. Manchineel, ridden by Laura Pfeiffer and owned by Doug Mesker of Tampa, FL, was the division's reserve champion.

Today's competition was the conclusion of the Tampa Equestrian Festival's Suncoast Internationale, week one competition. The second week of competition, the Tampa Bay Classic, will get underway on Tuesday, March 25 and will run through next Sunday, March 29. Week two will feature much more exciting hunter and jumper competition including the highly anticipated $75,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier CSI-W Grand Prix of Tampa, which will be the grand finale of week two on Sunday afternoon.

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

Photo Credit: Samantha Schaefer rode Garfield to the championship win in the Junior Hunter 15 and Under division for week one competition at the 2009 Tampa Equestrian Festival. Photo 2009 Lauren Fisher. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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