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Mary Shirley Shines With RNW New Day in 1.40m at the Tampa Equestrian Festival

Tampa, FL - March 19, 2009 - It was an exciting day of jumper competition in the Covered Arena today at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. Today marked the second day of competition for the first week, Suncoast Internationale week, at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center on the Florida State Fairgrounds. Horses and riders competed for top ribbons in the 1.40m and 1.35m classes.

Mary Shirley earned the day's top prize after her exciting double clear victory aboard RMW New Day in today's 1.40m class. The course featured 11 obstacles including two double combinations and a liverpool. For the jump-off riders had to make tight inside turns and complete one of the double combinations again.

Mario Deslauriers entered the ring first with Tigger and completed a clean first round with a time of 71.090. Deslauriers raced through the jump-off course but pulled the rail at the final fence, a single vertical off of a tight turn. The pair tripped the timer at 30.446, and with their four fault score, landed in second place. Derek Braun and Rio Lindebjerg were the next horse and rider combination to complete a clear first round and earn a spot in the jump-off. The duo had rails at the second fence in the jump-off, a large oxer off an inside turn, and the final fence before racing through the timers with a time of 29.920, which would hold up for third place. Shirley and RMW New Day were the final entry to complete the first course without any faults and move into the jump-off. The pair managed to be clean and fast with a time off 32.073, producing the only double clear and winning the class.

"The course was very inviting, and the turns rode very nicely; I thought they did an excellent job," explained Shirley. "I hadn't shown him in an indoor ring before, so I brought him up before the grand prix classes start next week, and this was a perfect start."

"I gave birth last year, so right now I'm working towards being more competitive in the bigger classes and he's been a great partner for that," noted Shirley. "He's built a little down hill so you have to help lift him up without getting him too heavy in your hands, but he knows his job. He's been there and done that; he had a lot of experience when I bought him, so the less I do the better he performs."

Shirley plans to continue showing RMW New Day during the next two weeks of the Tampa Equestrian Festival, and will then continue on to Kentucky to compete in the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows.

The excitement continued in the jumper ring as the 1.35m class got underway. Brock Clermont was the first to enter the ring with Top Chic D. The pair took the rail at the fourth fence, a blue and yellow vertical going away from the gate, but it would be their only penalty with a time of 73.189, leaving them in second place at the end of the class. Donald Cheska and Zeldenrust Z were the only horse and rider combination to complete a clean first round trip during today's class. Coming home in a time of 74.704 the pair incurred one time fault but that would be enough to secure the day's blue ribbon.

"Zeldenrust Z is one of my favorite horses," smiled Cheska. "I've had him for two years and he will start showing in the grand prix classes in the spring. He's a very good horse, talented, careful and scopey. He has a very long stride so it took some time to get him packed and collected, but now he is very disciplined and rideable. He's not always the fastest in the jump-offs but he will always jump clear."

Cheska has been showing at the Tampa Equestrian Festival for 30 years and loves being able to come back every year. "It is one of my favorite shows," he noted. "It's very refreshing after being at WEF and it's very horse and rider friendly. Most horse shows that we go to are run like a factory, this show is not. It has permanent stabling, excellent footing and a wonderful staff; it's a great show."

The Tampa Equestrian Festival is a three-week horse show featuring the country's top hunters and jumpers. The first week of competition, the Suncoast Internationale, will continue through Sunday, March 24. Tomorrow the jumper classes will compete in the covered arena again, with the addition of the Adult Amateur Jumpers and Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. The Tampa Equestrian Festival will come to a close on April 4 at Raymond James Stadium after the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, the most prestigious show jumping event in the nation.

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



Photo Credit: Mary Shirley and RNW New Day garner the blue ribbon in 1.40m at the Tampa Equestrian Festival after completing the only double clear. Photo Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.

 

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