Mackenzie Hamill Wins Big in the THIS National Children's Medal

Wellington, FL - February 5, 2011 - The weekend got off to a great start here at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for the fourth week of competition at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, which runs through April 3. Riders and parents packed the rings and surrounding areas this morning for the THIS National Children's Medal.

Mackenzie Hamill bested a field of twenty-seven riders to take top honors in the THIS National Children's Medal. Hamill was aboard the Monty Kelly entry, Einstein. Hamill has only been riding Einstein since the summer.

The top four riders from the first round were called back to test over a short course that included a trot fence. Einstein and Hamill received a top score of 86 in the first round of the class, which had them going in to the test on top. Hamill and Einstein remained on top for the win after all four riders completed the test.

"I thought it was pretty easy because I've been doing the equitation next door, so that was a little harder than this," said Hamill about today's course for the THIS National Children's Medal.

Katherine Strauss aboard Debonaire, Olivia Mulvey aboard Valentino, and Isabella McCary riding Chantelle rounded out the top four riders in the THIS National Children's Medal this morning in Ring 7.

Hamill will continue showing throughout the rest of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, but flies back and forth to attend school. "I went to a new school this year, and they won't let me stay down for more than ten days at a time, so I got here Thursday night for ten days," explained Hamill.

Tonight in the International Arena, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will host one of the season's must-see events. The women will aim to defend their unbeaten title in the Nespresso Battle of the Sexes. The doors open at 6 p.m. with the first horse on course at 7 p.m. It is sure to be a night of entertainment and fun-filled rivalry between the men and the women.

Tomorrow, the ponies get to work bright and early in Ring 12. The Gotham North Small Pony Hunters will take center stage and be awarded their championship for Week 4 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.

The Champion Equine Insurance Style Awards were presented this week in hunter and jumper divisions by sponsor Laura Whitlow. The winner of the hunter style award was Cologne and Donald Graves, who won the Elite Shavings Amateur-Owner Over 35 Handy Hunter class. They won the award for style that best exemplifies a show hunter, which was determined by the judge based on form, movement, manners, and way of going.

In the G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers this week, winners HH Palouchin and Rodrigo Pessoa were awarded the jumper style award. It was determined by the judges based on scope, rideability, technique, and competitive spirit.

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Photo Credit: Mackenzie Hamill and Einstein win the THIS National Children's Medal during the fourth week of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival,