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Mary Jane King and Acapella Hit High Notes to Bring Home Championship

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2007 – Although competition is slowly starting to wind down at the 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival, the hunter rings were still hot with action as several divisions pinned their last champions.

In the Over 35 Amateur-Owner Hunter division, Mary Jane King rode her own Acapella to championship honors. King has owned and ridden the now 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood for about nine years, and Acapella earned third place over fences yesterday and won both over fences classes today for the tricolor.

“We bought him as a young 5-year-old – he had just been imported by Nona Garson as a baby Pre-Green horse,” she commented. “In the second class yesterday, I made a mistake and changed my mind out of the corner to a jump. It wasn’t his fault – I’m just not riding as much and I’ve been a little rusty, but today he was great.”

She continued, “He’s very balanced, very soft in the bridle and very smart, but very sensitive. He’s very quirky, but when he’s good, he’s the best horse you’ll ever ride. You have to make him happy – he doesn’t like tractors, he doesn’t like other horses near him – and we just try to do it that way he likes it!”

This is their second week of showing at WEF, and previously in the season, they were reserve champion twice in Ocala. King resides in St. Louis, MO. Teri Kessler piloted Pavarotti to the reserve championship in the Over 35 Amateur-Owner Hunter division.

The Section “A” championship of the 51 & Older Adult Amateur Hunters went to Carol Cone riding Harmony Bay, a Swedish Warmblood stallion. Harmony Bay was Grand Champion of the Winter Equestrian Festival last year, and this week marks the pair’s fourth championship this year. Reserve champion was Stephen Martines on Cabachon.

After her success last week, Cone spoke about the uniqueness of the equestrian sport and how lucky she feels to be able to ride.

“I go back and forth for work in Boston during the season. Having the time and being around the horses and friends and the beautiful weather, it’s a real gift. It’s a gift of time and a gift of experience, and you just want the horses to be consistent and go well,” she explained.

In addition to her tricolor on Harmony Bay, Cone earned the Section “B” championship with Trusted. This is her third season showing Trusted, and Cone noted that the partnership is just now starting to come together and is ending in the winner’s circle. Last week, the pair took the reserve championship, second only to Harmony Bay. Reserve champions in Section “B” of the 51 & Older Adult Amateur Hunters went to Norlando, ridden by Marsia Holzer.

The final day of hunter competition will begin tomorrow morning at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL. Highlights include the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Trophy Equitation Championship and several division championships.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mary Jane King and Acapella. Photo ©2007 Randi Muster.


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