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Steve Heinecke and Hi Hopes Farm Jump Start Season With Stellar Week of Competition

Wellington, FL - January 13, 2009 - Steve Heinecke's students had a successful first week of competition at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Heinecke trains at Hi Hopes Farm, which is based in Charlotte, NC. Alise and Lucie Oken and Madison Maners train with Heinecke and Jeff Wirthman, and all three young riders earned top ribbons at the show this past week.

Alise Oken and Take Away excelled in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Hunter division and came home with the championship award. She also rode Pedro in the Low Junior Jumpers on Friday and Sunday and had two clean rounds.

Lucie Oken followed in her sister's footsteps and earned the championship in the Low Children's Jumper on Ibezia De Malle, and Madison Maners took home the reserve championship in the Children's Hunter Pony Small/Medium division on All The Glory.

"We had a pretty good weekend," commented Heinecke. "The girls did really well. It was a busy week because we had 12 horses showing, and we were at the main show grounds and at the south grounds. I was really pleased with the junior jumpers, and I think the girls did a great job their first weekend out. They were very consistent."

The students at Hi Hopes Farm spent the last few months preparing for the Winter Equestrian Festival by training at home. They attend regular school and fly down on Fridays to show, studying with a tutor on Friday afternoons to keep up with their schoolwork. "We tried to get down here early, and I schooled the horses all week," related Heinecke. "We've got the preparation and show schedule down to a science, so we are definitely ready for a great season."

The Oken sisters and Madison Maners will compete next week at the Winter Equestrian Festival on January 14-18, 2009.


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