Wellington, FL – February 20, 2010 – The rated hunter divisions wrapped up competition today at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center as the final junior hunter division championships were awarded.  The award winners qualified for tonight’s AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach at 7 p.m. at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Bainbridge is the title sponsor for the AHJF/WCHR Hunter Spectacular week.

The Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division was split into two sections, and the Section A championship went to Madison, ridden by 13-year-old Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, for Chansonette Farm LLC. The duo, who just started together two weeks ago, won both over fences and the under saddle yesterday, and they finished third and fourth today.

Keenan’s family purchased the eight-year-old mare from Stewart Moran two weeks ago. “She was a jumper in Europe, and he imported her,” Keenan explained. “She’s been a hunter for four weeks. I tried her and she was so sweet. She used to be a broodmare and has had a few babies. She really does feel like she’s a mother. You can feel that she wants to take care of you.”

Madison also finished as the reserve champion in the First Year Green Hunters this week with Keenan’s trainer Patricia Griffith of Heritage Farm. Griffith will show Madison in tonight’s class, while Keenan will compete on her more experienced hunter Genuine. It will be Keenan’s first time competing in the night class. “I just want to try and have fun. I have to go home and sleep before, but it should be fun! I’m trying not to be nervous. Genuine is really good at that, it’s what he does best,” she remarked.

In Section B, the championship was awarded to Peridot, ridden by 15-year-old Schaefer Raposa of Clinton, NY, for owner Stephen Martines. Raposa was trained by Lynn Jayne for Peridot, but she also works with her parents, Kara and David Raposa. Raposa and Peridot finished second in all three classes yesterday and were first and second over fences today.

Raposa rode Peridot for the first time two weeks ago, and they were champions then as well. “My mom actually showed him last year in the Second Year Green Hunters,” she revealed. “It’s funny to have mother/daughter showing him. When I first found out I was going to show him in the juniors, I went to her for a few tips. My mom helps me at home and sometimes at shows. It was nice having her there, knowing the horse so well too. My dad was here cheering me on. It’s nice having the support team.”

Raposa described Peridot, “He’s really fun. He has one of those really boundy canters. He can make an amazing jump; he can really crack his back. It’s nice because he has a huge stride and you’re never too far. You just land and the out (of the line) is always right there.”

She said that showing in the large field, she was “mostly nervous because his stride is so boundy, I didn’t want to get too open and start flying around! I was just trying to keep it together, package him up on the ends, and then find the jumps and work from there. He went in and I could feel he was right on it.”

Raposa and Peridot will compete in tonight’s class as well.

In the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters, Victoria Colvin continued her dominance in the division by winning the championship on World Time, owned by Scott Stewart. They placed first, first, and second over fences. The reserve championship went to Cape Town, ridden by Lillie Keenan and owned by Lanes End.

Colvin was riding sick with a cold, but managed to take home three tricolor ribbons today. She and her successful partner World Time, who she describes as “really comfortable and doesn’t have that big of a jump,” repeated their championship performance from last year’s Hunter Spectacular week.

Colvin and Krystall, owned by Scott Stewart, were reserve champions in Section A of the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters, and she was reserve champion in Section B on Way Cool, another Scott Stewart entry. She said of Krystall, “He’s easy too. He has a prettier canter, but he jumps a little hard too.” Colvin started riding Way Cool in December, so it is a relatively new ride for her. It took her a few weeks to get used to her new junior hunter mount. She described, “It took me a little bit to get used to him because he jumps really high and pops me out of the tack.”

Having the opportunity with multiple mounts in the pony and junior hunters is great for Colvin, who is just 12 years old and come from Loxahatchee, FL. “It means a lot to me to get to ride these horses. There are so many to practice on, and I get better when I practice,” she said.

Colvin plans to show World Time and Way Cool in tonight’s AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach. “I like showing under the lights, it’s cool,” she smiled. “I like showing in the field because it’s really big. I’m excited to have two in it. Last year I went off course, so I want to do better this year.”

Hunter competition wraps up tomorrow in the Bainbridge AHJF/WCHR Hunter Spectacular Week with the $5,000 Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Amateur Hunter Classic (NAL), the Florida Pony Hunter Classics with $2,500 in prize money for each of the three height divisions, and the $2,500 Florida Children’s Hunter Horse Classic (NAL).

For full results please visit www.shownet.biz or www.equestriansport.com.

The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.

WEF is proud to be supported by their title sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc. FTI Consulting, Inc. exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex economic, legal and regulatory environment.  FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history. For more information, please visit www.fticonsulting.com.

During the 12 weeks of WEF, “Saturday Night Lights” headlines the entertainment each Saturday night where spectators not only enjoy the Grand Prix class, but a street carnival, live music, and numerous dining options with box seats, sports bars, and the famed Tiki Hut for front row fun.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.