The last day of week eleven at the Winter Equestrian Festival celebrated a championship win for Aly Muir and her entry, Paparazzi, in the Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter Horse Older division. Muir, of Allison Park, Pa., piloted the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding to a first, second, and eighth over fences with a third-place finish on the flat.

“This is my first championship win of the season,” said Muir who has been partnered with the liver chestnut for two years. “I love riding him, so I am really excited about this. He can be a little bit of a push-ride, but for the most part he is pretty easy. He is a true listener!”

The duo started together at the 2’6” height last year and moved up to the Children’s Hunter 14 & Under 3’ division at the Old Salem Farm Spring horse show where they captured the Grand Champion title along with the award for Best Rider. While the 15-year-old has started to get more involved in the jumpers this year, Paparazzi has continued to be her “go-to guy” in the hunter ring.

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“We have been working a lot on pace,” said Muir. “I have had to switch a lot between horses in the jumper and hunter rings this circuit, so I have been focusing on staying the same speed with him through the turns.”

Muir, who trains with Lainie Wimberly, plans to keep showing Paparazzi in the Children’s Hunter Horse Older division for another year before moving up to the Junior Hunter division. After that, Muir voiced that the gelding will hopefully be able to teach all that he’s taught her to one of the little kids at her barn.

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