Ocala, FL (February 25, 2017): After an exciting finish to the FEI Nations Cup CSI4* week at HITS Ocala, FEI competition continued at HITS Post Time Farm. Riders and horses from the US, Canada and abroad met in the Horse Capital of the World for a shot at blue ribbon status. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina grabbed the win in the $25,000 FEI SmartPak Grand Prix.
Fifty-one challengers tested the course designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico and nineteen would advance with first-round clears to contest the abbreviated course in the jump-off. Twelve produced clean jump-off rounds, leaving it all down to the quickest time to bring home the victory.
Chopping, who originally hails from Canada, piloted Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington, through the jump-off, laying down a blazing-fast ride in 38.20 to eventually take home the win.
Brandie Holloway ultimately garnered second place in the thrilling class aboard Lucky Strike, owned by Hays Investment Corp. Their final time of 39.06 after a fault-free round in the jump-off gave them the red-ribbon slot on the leaderboard.
Coming in just behind Brandie Holloway was Germany’s Andre Thieme riding Conthendrix. Just fractions of a second divided Thieme’s time from Holloway, a 39.34, settling them third in the ribbons.
Devin Ryan took home fourth place riding Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC. Ryan and Eddie Blue also grabbed a win in Ocala with first place in the $5,000 FEI Welcome Stake. Their time of 40.24, gave them the white ribbon.
Brandie’s daughter, Hunter Holloway, would also capture a seat in the top five. Hunter won the $41,200 FEI Thursday Prix at HITS Ocala with VDL Bravo S, owned by Hays Investment Corp, and the pair showed they are still in top form. They earned fifth place with their clean round in 41.13.
(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Aaron Vale and Quality on Top.
Ocala, FL (February 19, 2017): The CSIO4* Week continued at HITS Post Time Farm on Saturday with the $41,200 HITS Jumper Classic. Riders from several countries, including USA, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Colombia and the recent winners of the $100,000 FEI Nations Cup™, Ireland, took their turn over the course set by Marina Azevedo of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The rider to beat would be hometown hero, Aaron Vale riding Quality on Top, owned by North Face Farm. They would indeed finish on top by an impressive three seconds. Third place rider from Venezuela, Pablo Barrios, made Vale work for it though, entering immediately before Vale in the jump-off order, setting down a time Vale had to chase.
“My horses have jumped great all circuit; I just haven’t had luck on my side. Today, it was,” said Vale. “This was this horse’s first ribbon in an FEI class, and for it to be a blue one is pretty special.”
The course was winding and included two roll-back turns and two exciting galloping points that riders could hustle across the ring to shave the seconds off of the clock.
First to return to the shortened course was McLain Ward riding Quinta, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare he co-owns with Francois Mathy. They laid down a clear round right out of the gate, clocking in at 42.48 to set the tone for the class. The trip would ultimately settle them in sixth place, with the remaining contenders, aside from Vale, all finishing within a few fractions of a second of each other.
Pablo Barrios grabbed the next clear round of the eventual top five placings, going fourth in the jump-off order aboard Zara Leandra, owned by ZL Group, Inc. Cheers rang out from the Venezuelan team supporters as they watched them laid down a cool, clear round in 41.17. They’d ultimately take home the third-place prize.
Vale followed next, taking care to ensure the lead did not stay in Barrios’ hands for long. Vale and Quality on Top powered through the course, flying across the arena from the fifth fence on course to the combination, which required riders to gallop to the opposite end of the ring then change direction.
“I got to watch McLain go, and I thought he was quite fast so I knew I had to be especially quick,” said Vale. “There were a couple of spots early in the course where I could have been faster, but I wanted to be careful too.”
The crowd gasped as they zoomed toward the finish, the lead imminent by their quick speed. They passed the timers in 38.43, a time no other could catch.
“We had a rub in the combination and I actually thought we had had a rail down. I looked up at the scoreboard a couple of times waiting for the 4 [faults] to come up, but it didn’t – so then I just went as fast as I could to the last few jumps. My horse is fairly quick-footed, so that really paid off.
Emanuel Andrade and Mattias Tromp both put in valiant efforts to catch Vale. Andrade, another speedy Venezuelan rider, powered home to a fault-free 41.33-second ride for the eventual fourth place, riding his bay gelding, U.
Tromp, entered behind Andrade in the order piloting Avon, owned by Swede Ventures, LLC. They put the pedal to the metal in the course, trying with all of their might to catch Vale’s leading time. Their finish in 40.33 would settle them in second place.
Ali Wolff would round out the top five riding Quirie, co-owned with John Wolff. They put in a clear round in 41.90 for fifth place.
Ocala, FL (February 20, 2017): The curtain on the CSIO4* week at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, came to a thrilling close on Sunday with a jump-off battle in the $100,000 FEI City of Ocala Grand Prix. Hot off the win with Team Ireland in Friday’s FEI Nations Cup™, Cian O’Connor prevailed aboard Seringat, owned by Ronnoco Jump LTD., with another top title in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium in Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“After winning the Nations Cup with the team and then coming back today to win again, it’s a great feeling. The course designer [Marina Azevedo] designed both courses that I won on, so I love her courses,” laughed O’Connor in the post-victory press conference. “I like the arena [in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium]; the ground is perfect. The jumps are different and impressive. Plus, there’s lots of room to work your horses in Ocala – it was no doubt a great week of competition.”
With a little luck, and a lot of skill, O’Connor returned as the final contender in the three-horse jump-off to once again take the victory under pressure. Olympic gold-medalist and Team USA rider Beezie Madden took home the second-place prize and young talent Ali Wolff, Team USA’s alternate rider in the Nations Cup, raked in third place.
Interestingly, both O’Connor and Madden were the only riders to garner double clear rounds for their respective countries in Friday’s FEI Nations Cup™.
“Having a great week of sport like this is pretty special, so my hats off to the HITS Team and to the riders sitting to my right [Cian and Beezie], two of the very best,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “We’re lucky to have super sponsors, like The City of Ocala and Longines, and of course the support from Marion County.”
Forty-four decorated riders, including the likes of McLain Ward, Ian Millar, and Kevin Babington, tested the course of 13 jumping efforts set at 1.60m by Marina Azevedo of Sao Paulo, Brazil, but time would prove a factor early on in the class and the top three would prove themselves to advance to the jump-off.
The jump-off was speedy, with O’Connor, Madden and Wolff all claiming clear rounds but separated by only tenths of a second.
First to tour the abbreviated course was Madden riding Breitling LS, owned by Abigail Wexner. The pair had the first clear trip in the first round, slating them as the first trip into the jump-off.
“Going in first can be a difficult spot especially when there are only three in the jump-off, there needs to be a little strategy. If there’s 12 in the jump-off, you just go for it and go fast,” said Madden with a grin. “I wanted to set my trip up taking a few risks to be fast so it would be hard to catch us. In hindsight, I could have done the seven [strides] from the wall to the oxer safely, that might have cost me those four-tenths of a second.”
They finished their jump-off trip fault-free in 41.43, to the sound of the crowd’s cheers, to set the tone for Wolff to follow and then O’Connor.
Wolff entered next with Casall, owned by Blacklick Bend Farm. They powered toward the finish as the clock wound down, the crowd on the edge of their seats. They would stop the clock with all of the rails up but their time of 41.86 would ultimately settle them in a well-fought third place.
O’Connor was last to challenge, and just like his exhilarating anchor ride for the Irish on Friday, he and Seringat were back to perform under the pressure. There was one shot, and O’Connor laid it all on the line with his chestnut gelding. They opted for the seven strides from the wall to the oxer, the same track that Madden opted to play it safe in eight strides, shaving crucial time off the clock. They passed the timers in a cool, clear 41.22 to secure the win.
The crowd roared to life and a terrific week of FEI competition at HITS Post Time Farm had gone out with sparks in the air.
Fourth place went to Isabelle Lapierre [CAN] aboard Cesha M. They nearly passed into the jump-off with a single first-round time fault. Emanuel Andrade [VEN] would too be foiled by a single time penalty with his bay Holsteiner, Ricore Courcelle, settling them into fifth place.
Up next for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is an FEI CSI2* week, February 22-26. Then, the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix culminates the exciting circuit on Sunday, March 26. For more information on the Great American Million, please visit HitsShows.com.
Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team Members Wolff and Casall Pick Up Third
Ocala, Fla. – Beezie Madden and Breitling LS led the way for the U.S. contingent with a second-place finish in the $100,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix at HITS Ocala on Sunday. After guiding the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team to a second place finish in the FEI Nations Cup™ on Friday, she and Breitling LS earned their second consecutive double-clear. Ali Wolff and Casall, the reserve combination for the FEI Nations Cup™ team, landed in the jump-off to place third. Ireland’s Cian O’Connor stole the win by 21-hundredths of a second.
A field of 41 world-class athletes contested Marina Azevedo challenging four-star course. The spread of the triple combination and the last line comprised of the double combination, followed by a wide square oxer and a tall vertical, showed its complexity. Numerous combinations fell prey to faults in the first round until Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Breitling LS, Abigail Wexner’s 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion, entered the ring. The four-time Olympian and her determined mount traveled around the course with ease. They secured the field’s first clear round with a time of 79.45 seconds.
“He was a green seven-year-old to start with. The spring of his eight-year-old year, I broke my collarbone, and that was seven to eight weeks before we got going again. He is 11, but he’s not quite as experienced as he should be as an 11-year-old who has been with us since he was seven. I think now he is just starting to get more consistent and being able to depend on him for bigger things,” said Madden.
Madden and Breitling LS continued with the lead going in to Wolff (New Albany, Ohio) and Casall’s attempt on the course. She and the 2005 Holsteiner gelding owned by Blacklick Bend Farm guaranteed a jump-off against their teammates going clear. Irish Olympian Cian O’Connor and Seringat rounded out the jump-off. In a heart-pounding jump-off, it came down to speed. Going last, O’Connor had the advantage. Knowing the time to beat, the combination barely blazed past Madden and Breitling LS for the win.
“[Going] first is a little difficult spot, especially when there are only three. There is a little strategy. I wanted to set it fast enough that it was a little hard to catch, and they would have to pull some risks,” said Madden.
(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Hunter Holloway and VDL Bravo S.
Ocala, FL (February 17, 2017): The FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping CSIO4* week kicked off on Thursday with two featured FEI classes, the $41,200 Thursday Prix and the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transport Welcome Stake. Riders and horses from around the globe all converged at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida to celebrate and compete in this very special week.
$41,200 Thursday Prix
Fifty-five horses and riders contested the course, designed by Marina Azevedo of Brazil. Hunter Holloway stole away with the win in Thursday’s class in an exhilarating eight-horse jump-off, where speed, power, agility and precision, all came into play.
“Thank you to my sponsors, and to the owners of VDL Bravo S, Virginia T. Bartholomay and Hays Investment Corp, for letting me ride this amazing horse,” said Holloway. “[VDL Bravo S] is an incredible horse; he always tries and has a big heart for what he does.”
First to return to test the abbreviated course was Mexico’s Eugenio Garza Perez piloting Bariano, owned by David and Monica Garza. They started the course out strong, but one unfortunate rail would ultimately put them in the fourth-place spot with a round in 37.61.
Following Perez was Canadian Isabelle Lapierre riding Cesha M. Lapierre and her powerful mare won the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix just last Sunday at HITS Ocala, and they returned to the Grand Prix Ring to once again claim a spot among the top contenders. They put in the first clear round of the jump-off in 40.75, which would eventually give them the third-place prize.
The victors, Hunter Holloway and Cassevel, owned by Hays Investment Corp, were next to enter the ring. Cassevel, a mighty ten-year-old grey gelding, was agile and quick under Holloway’s lead. The crowd cheered as they galloped to the finish, stopping the clock in 39.46, where the lead would remain.
Lisa Goldman, a veteran to the Grand Prix ribbons at HITS Ocala came in with Centurion B, and they would ultimately pick up four faults for sixth.
Two-time World Cup winner and Olympic silver-medalist, Ian Millar, entered next riding Dixson, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. They laid down a brilliantly smooth round, nearly catching Holloway with their time of 39.78. They would settle for the red ribbon in second place when the class was finished.
Devin Ryan was the second-to-last to challenge the jump-off course riding Cooper. They laid down a lightning-fast round in 38.64, but a heart-breaking rail at the final fence would give them the final spot in the top five for fifth place.
$5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Welcome Stake
Devin Ryan took home the win in Thursday’s Johnson Horse Transportation Welcome with Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC. Eighteen would produce clear rounds out of a field of 44 in a race against the clock. It was a speedy and challenging class, with the top exhibitors finishing within just tenths of a second, and seconds of each other.
Ryan’s fault-free time of 54.12 held up after testing the course second in the order. Second place would belong to Lisa Goldman and Sovereign, owned by Barbara Disko. They punched their ticket into the top five with a 54.45-second round.
Lauren Hough rode Joblesse, co-owned by Patrick de Roeck, to the third place prize. Their time of 55.04 with no penalties in sight sealed their spot after challenging the course fourteenth in the order of go.
The final contenders in the top five were Paris Sellon riding Quantis, owned by Willow Grace Farms. They nearly caught Hough’s time with their own round in 55.61, settling them in fourth.
Rounding out the top five was Andrew Bourns of Ireland. He rode Charming Girl, owned by Deirdre Bourns to the fifth-place finish in 57.57.
Ocala, Fla. – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team jumped to the top of the North America FEI Nations Cup™ standings with an exciting finish at FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO4* Ocala. With the U.S. Team trailing by four faults, anchor combination Beezie Madden and Breitling LS came through in the clutch for a double-clear round to help secure the Team Silver medal. Madden and Breitling LS were accompanied by Lauren Hough and Cornet 39, Lillie Keenan and Super Sox, and McLain Ward and Rothchild, who all performed well to secure 90 points. Ireland took the Gold medal with 12 faults and Canada claimed the Bronze medal on 24 faults.
“We are fortunate to be on top [of the standings]. It means a lot. It was important that we won our own [Nations Cup] because now we are going off-campus so to speak, and the Mexicans have always been strong at home. The Canadians will be strong at Langley,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We did what we came here to do which was to lead in the points, but it is going to be a tough battle, and we are prepared for that.”
The U.S. Team showed grit and strength in the first round, ending on a total of eight faults. As pathfinders for the team, 2016 Rio Olympic Games Team Silver medalist Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Rothchild, Sagamore Farms’ 2001 Warmblood gelding, performed their job brilliantly, producing a clear round. Keenan (New York, N.Y.) and Super Sox, Chansonette Farm LLC.’s 2006 Hanoverian gelding, followed second in the order. The triple combination proved difficult for the pair, having rails down at the “B” and “C” elements. Hough (Wellington, Fla.), a 2000 Sydney Olympian, and Cornet 39, Willow Grace Farms’ 2004 Oldenburg gelding, snagged 12 faults with rails down at fence 10 and at the “A” and “C” elements of the triple combination. Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Breitling LS’, Abigail Wexner’s 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion, faultless round allowed the U.S. to drop Hough and Cornet 39’s score.
Tied for second place with Mexico going into the second round, the U.S. Team kept faults at a minimum to earn top points in the division. Ward and Rothchild nearly produced a double-clear, but brushed a rail at element “C” at the triple combination for four faults. Keenan and Super Sox and Hough and Cornet 39 improved upon their first round performances with four faults each.
The top two teams in the North America Division will qualify for the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in Barcelona, Spain in October.
By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department
Ocala, Fla. – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team returns to action this week, taking on seven countries in the FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO4* Ocala on Friday, February 17. U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will lead the team of Lauren Hough and Cornet 39, Lillie Keenan and Super Sox, Beezie Madden and Breitling LS, and McLain Ward and Rothchild as they look to get off to a strong start in the North America standings. Ali Wolff and Casall will serve as the reserve combination. The U.S. has drawn seventh in the order and will compete in the following order:
McLain Ward with Rothchild: 2016 Rio Olympic Games Team Silver medalist Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) returns to CSIO4* HITS Ocala with his 2015 Pan American Games Gold medalist partner, Rothchild, Sagamore Farms’ 2001 Warmblood gelding. The combination helped lead the team to a Gold medal during last year’s competition. Their most recent grand prix victory came during the $380,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5* at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival in February.
Lillie Keenan with Super Sox: Keenan (New York, N.Y.) and Super Sox, Chansonette Farm LLC.’s 2006 Hanoverian gelding, will get their competition year in full swing at CSIO4* HITS Ocala. Most recently, the 2016 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final Team Bronze medalists placed second at the CSI3* Grand Prix of Opglabbeek in November.
Lauren Hough with Cornet 39: Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and Cornet 39, Willow Grace Farms’ 2004 Oldenburg gelding, picked up nine top-10 finishes in 2016, including the $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI4* in March. They were members of last year’s Gold medal-winning team at CSIO4* HITS Ocala.
Beezie Madden with Breitling LS: 2016 Rio Olympic Games Team Silver medalist Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) will ride Breitling LS, Abigail Wexner’s 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion. The combination was part of last year’s Gold Medal-winning Team at CSIO4* HITS Ocala. They recently tied for first place in qualifier for the $35,000 SOVARO Qualifier for the Wellington Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League at the CSI3*-W Palm Beach Masters.
Ali Wolff with Casall: Wolff (New Albany, Ohio) and Casall, Blacklick Bend Farm’s 2005 Holsteiner gelding, arrive at CSIO4* HITS Ocala after a productive 2016. The combination earned eight top-10 finishes. Most notably, they placed second in the $86,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI3* at Angelstone in August.
Watch the live stream of the FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO4* Ocala on FEI TV on Friday, February 17, at 2 p.m. ET.
By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department
(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Isabelle Lapierre and Cesha M.
Ocala, FL (February 14, 2017): Week IV at HITS Post Time Farm included plenty of excitement and riders and horses of all ages, levels and states gathered to compete. The week culminated with the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday.
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix
Canadian equestrian Isabelle Lapierre took home the blue-ribbon title in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix in Ocala riding her own mare, Cesha M. Interestingly, Lapierre and Cesha M took home the exact same title last year during Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit – first place in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.
Lapierre and Cesha M returned to stake claim to their title in a lightning-fast jump-off round, where they took the top spot on the leaderboard with a three-second lead. The pair was third in the order of the nine-horse jump-off, and their fault-free time of 40.763 held up through the rest of the field.
Many of the contenders in Sunday’s Grand Prix have been competing against each other for the entirety of the Ocala Winter Circuit, and the order of go was stacked with talent – it was a class of veteran Grand Prix riders no doubt, with some fresh faces in the top 12 as well.
Scott Keach was the seventh in the order to challenge the abbreviated course piloting Chicco W, owned by Edith Rameika. The Australian equestrian and his mount sped through the course, stopping the clock in 43.065 for the eventual second-place finish.
The last contestant in the jump-off was Kim Farlinger aboard Caprice Van De Brouwershoeve, owned by Kim Farlinger Stables, Ltd. They chased Lapierre’s leading time and zoomed through the course, taking each fence by storm and leaving the rails up. They finished in 43.074, only one-hundredth of a second behind Keach’s round, settling them into third place.
Devin Ryan took home the fourth place prize with Cooper as the quickest four-fault jump-off round in 39.122. Rounding out the top five was Mattias Tromp piloting Avon, owned by Swede Ventures, LLC. They too would be foiled by a single rail to finish the course with four faults in 40.497.
Hayley Waters Wins the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
Local rider Hayley Waters took home both first and third place in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix during Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit, marking her second Grand Prix victory at HITS Ocala this season.
The twenty-year-old equestrian took home the prestigious placings in contention for the win among a field of seasoned Grand Prix riders, including Aaron Vale, Tracy Fenney and many more. Not to squander Waters’ fire, the young talent has seen the victory circle in many Grand Prix at HITS Ocala and HITS Saugerties, including a blue-ribbon in the $250,000 Jr/A-O Jumper Classic at the HITS Championship in 2015.
Waters took home the first $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix win this year during Week I at HITS Ocala, and there seems to be no sign of slowing her down. Week IV’s victory came aboard Dorella, owned by Seth Vallhonrat. The third-place prize was with Qurint, owned by Chuck and Dana Waters.
In a four-horse jump-off, there were no clear rounds to be seen. Waters would have the only round with all of the rails intact with two time faults, clocking in with a time of 46.560.
Second-place Devin Ryan and Cooper were the quickest of the four-fault rides with a time of 37.718. Following Ryan in the placings was Waters’ and Qurint. They too would finish with only one rail in a time of 40.029.
Scott Keach was the final rider to place of the jump-off rounds, in fourth, with Chicco W, owned by Edith Rameika. Rounding out the top five was Lisa Goldman riding Sovereign, owned by Barbara Disko. They were the quickest of the four-faulters in the first round to secure fifth place.
$1,500 Platinum Performance
Junior and Amateur riders were able to show in the big Ocala Horse Properties Stadium at HITS Post Time Farm for the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix during Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit.
Holly French would be the rider to beat aboard Chestnut Hill, owned by Marissa Dolan. The two captured the highest scores in both rounds, a consistent 82 for a grand total of 164 and the winning title.
Second in the ribbons went to Leigh Gallagher riding Eternity, owned by Tibri, LLC. They were awarded a first-round score of 81, followed by an 80 in the second round to total 161.
MacKensie Bowles and Bittersweet Symphony were third among their peers, garnering an 80.5 in the first round, combined with their second-round score of 77 for a total of 157.5.
Fourth place went home with Annie Walsh and Erosmith. Walsh and Erosmith moved up the ranking from a fifth-place finish last week. They earned scores of 77 and 79, respectively, for a total of 156.
Rounding out the top five was Rachel Griffin and Jasmin De Bornival 2, owned by Nelson Pessoa. The pair was awarded a score of 77 in the first round and a score of 79 in the second round.
(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Patricia Griffith and Clearline Z.
Ocala, FL (February 12, 2017): The first of two $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies at HITS Post Time Farm commenced on Saturday during Week IV of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. As the sun set and the lights in Ocala Horse Properties Stadium came to life, the crowd watched in anticipation to witness who could master the course with finesse and the highest caliber of precision.
Preluding the FEI Nation’s Cup Jumping CSIO4* week at HITS Ocala, a big hunter week, including a USHJA Pony Hunger Derby, unfolded and the stage was set – Tim Hott of Cumming, Iowa designed a beautiful course of 13 fences for the 47 who gathered from the East Coast and beyond to contest the two-round derby.
The winner would be Patricia Griffith of New York, New York riding Clearline Z. Griffith would also capture the fifth-place prize riding Charisma, owned by Heritage Farm, Inc. Griffith additionally stole away with the win in the 2016 $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final at the HITS Championship last September.
Hunter Holloway of Topeka, Kansas would also walk away with two ribbons in the top five placings, second and fourth. The second-place prize would come aboard Any Given Sunday, owned by Hays Investment Corp. Fourth place was earned piloting The Governor, also owned by Hays Investment Corp.
Two panels of judges including Scott Fitton, Streett Moore, Kathleen Rice and Sissy Wickes critiqued each rider’s craft.
Unique to the Derby format, in addition to the base score, each judging panel awarded an Option Bonus Score consisting of one additional point for every higher height option fence jumped. As 12 returned for the second round, judges awarded a base score, Option Bonus Score and a Handy Bonus Score, assessing the handiness of the round.
Kristy Herrera and Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan, finished the first round on top with a score of 185.5, but a talented list of contenders ready to rally for blue still filled the second-round Order. They would ultimately settle for sixth place with a second round score of 169 for an overall total of 354.5.
Patricia Griffith entered second in the order with fifth-place ride, Charisma. Opting for all four height options and getting a handy bonus score of 15, they received the highest total of the second round to boost them up in the standings with a 190.5. Their first round score, 165, added to the mix gave them an overall total of 355.5.
Sixth in the order to return, Holloway and Any Given Sunday were meticulous in their pursuit of a win, coming back seventh after the first round, they opted for three height options and received a combined total of 13 Handy Bonus Points. It was quite the comeback, but not enough to garner the lead. A first-round score of 171.5 combined with a second-round score of 197 totaled 368.5 would give them the red ribbon.
Two trips later, Holloway would return with her second mount, The Governor. They earned a second-round score of 186.5, which combined with their first-round score of 173.5, gave them a total of 360 for the eventual fourth-place.
Griffith and Clearline Z entered the second round ninth in the order and in the current fourth place. They opted for all four height options and received 15 handy bonus points, giving them a high second-round total of 203. Combined with their first round total of 177, they topped the field for the eventual win with an overall total of 380.
Westminster, Maryland equestrian Samantha Schaefer was the final contestant of the eventual top five to return to the second round. She piloted In The Know, owned by Madeline Schaefer, to the second highest score of a 188.5, added to their first round total of 179 that gave them a 367.5 for the ultimate third-place prize.
The $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will make several more visits to HITS this year including once more at the Ocala Winter Circuit during Week X, Coachella Desert Circuit in Week VIII, two at HITS Saugerties (Week IV & VI) and HITS Chicago (Week III & II). The extra opportunity for a prestigious hunter victory and top-level prize money has hunters in high pursuit of a Derby victory.
Maddie Tosh and Flashback Win $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby
Junior riders turned out for the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. The Pony Hunter Derby took place during Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit and exhibitors were chomping at the bit to compete.
The team to beat was Maddie Tosh of Milton, Georgia and Flashback, owned by Madeline Schaefer. They finished the first round with a score of 84, earning a 76 in the second round for a total of 160.
Not only would Tosh win first place, but she would take home third place as well, taking the yellow ribbon with Cozy Up – their scores of 75 and 77 gave them a total of 152.
Second in the ribbons went to Avery Zwim, riding out of Tampa, Florida, piloting Rapunzel. The pair came in with a total score just one point behind Tosh’s winning score, a 159, combined by their scores of 78 and 81, respectively.
The final five would round out with Sophia Ayers of Reddick, Florida, who took home both fourth and fifth place prizes. Ayers piloted Prima Ballerina to fourth place with a first round score of 63, improving to an 84 in the second round for a total of 147.
Her fifth place ribbon with Bianca came after being awarded a score of 80 in the first round and 60 in the second for a total of 146.
Ocala, FL (February 8, 2017): Horses and riders descended on HITS Post Time Farm for a shot at winning the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix or the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. It was the third week of competition at HITS Ocala and riders were hungry to place atop the best of the best.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Hunt Tosh of Alpharetta, Georgia grabbed his second win in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix of the 2017 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Last week, Tosh won the class aboard Gotham, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, in addition to a third place prize with Wiser, owned by Ceil and Kenny Wheeler.
This week, Tosh claimed the victory with Casanova, another winning ride owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. They won the class with scores of 86 and 89 for a total of 175. Tosh would claim another ribbon with Wiser, this week in sixth place.
Second in the ribbons went to Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey riding Loxley, owned by Finale Partners, LLC. They were awarded a first-round score of 87 and a second-round score of 85 for a total of 172. Steege also took home fifth place with Zidane, owned by Susan Darragh.
Aiken, South Carolina equestrian Daniel Geitner brought home the third-place prize riding Sky Pilot, owned by Allison Wolfe Mills. The judges gave the pair scores of 84 and 85, respectively, for a total of 169.
Fourth place was Caitlyn Shiels of Hampshire, Illinois riding Cassius, owned by Don Stewart. They earned scores of 84 and to secure a total of 167.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
A supremely talented crop of riders turned out to challenge the course and prove who the ultimate in hunter style was.
Melissa Marshall of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania won aboard her own mount, Valiant. The pair received eighth place in the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix during Week II and they jumped their way up the standings to claim the blue ribbon victory in Week III.
Marshall and Valiant took the lead in the first round with a score of 83; combined by a second-round score of 79, they brought the win home with a total of 162.
The second-place prize belonged to Lauren Lindner of Warren, New Jersey and Quantonius, owned by Nicole Peterson. They earned a 79 in the first round, improving to an 81 in the second round to total 160.
Williston, Florida equestrian Samantha Perlman piloted Willow Bay, owned by Ann Cohen Farm, to the fourth place ribbon. The earned a total of 159, combined by scores of 80 and 79, settling them just behind Lindner.
Fifth place belonged to Grafite, owned and ridden by Madison Pan-kita. Their scores of 80 and 77.5 earned them a total of 157.5 to round out the top five.