Category Archives: HITS

Sarah Milliren Captures the USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup at HITS-on-the-Hudson

©ESI Photography. Sarah Milliren captured this year's prestigious USHJA/Essex Classic Hunterdon Cup at the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championships - East Coast aboard Don Stewart's War Eagle.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 3, 2011) — Sarah Milliren of Sapula, Oklahoma was all smiles when the number 515 – her number – was announced as the winner of Tuesday’s USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup, the jewel of the equitation competition at the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast at HITS Saugerties.

Milliren, trained by Bibby Hill and Don Stewart, rode to victory in the three-round class aboard Stewart’s War Eagle. According to Milliren, her smiles were both of joy and a little bit of shock as Lillie Keenan of New York, New York was pinned second aboard Catherine Cowie’s Vidarco.

“I was so surprised when we won the class – I thought Lillie had it,” said Milliren. “I have never won anything like this before, so it is really exciting.”

She finished the first round with a score of 85 to sit sixth, and then scored an impressive 90 points in the second round, which placed her in third with a total of 175 points going in for the final test.

Milliren posted a score of 89 points in the third-round test of eight fences. Per the specifications of the class, judges Hap Hansen and Russell Frey had riders switch horses, to serve as the deciding factor for the class. Milliren, therefore, rode Scott Stewart’s Vip Z to the blue, originally ridden in the class by Victoria Colvin of Loxchatchee, Florida. Milliren, however, couldn’t deny her original mount the credit he was due.

“[War Eagle] made the course seem simple,” she added. “He was amazing and I could not have asked for a better performance from him.”

Continue reading Sarah Milliren Captures the USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup at HITS-on-the-Hudson

HITS Culpeper July Wrap-Up

Rave reviews for new Grand Prix footing, riders use Culpeper as their stepping-stone to qualify for the Pfizer Million and Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, while sponsors Pfizer Animal Health and Purina Mills enjoy some southern hospitality

© ESI Photography. Kevin Babington and Mark Q on course in the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix.

CULPEPER, VA (July 22, 2011) – HITS Culpeper enjoyed two strong weeks of competition during its July shows – the Showday National and the Cavalier Classic – with higher than expected entries as exhibitors flocked to Culpeper, Virginia from all corners of the country. An action-packed schedule, which included two more qualifiers each for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, along with new Grand Prix footing, made Culpeper a “must show” for many exhibitors looking to punch their ticket to this year’s Grand Finale in September.

The Showday National opened up the two-week series and was the first opportunity riders had to test out the newly resurfaced Grand Prix ring. “I thought the footing was excellent and the horses all jumped well,” said Ramiro Quintana of West Palm Beach, Florida who, aboard November Hill Farm’s Versace, captured the $1,000 Level 6 Morningside Training Farm Jumpers during the Showday National. “With all the improvements that are being made in Culpeper I am sure it will once again be considered one of the top destinations in American show jumping.”

Culpeper catches Pfizer Million fever
During the Showday National, Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania wasted no time at all getting comfortable with the new Grand Prix footing when he rode his own Mark Q to the blue in the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and picked up his second of eight Grand Prix needed to become eligible for the Pfizer Million. Silvio Mazzoni of Leesburg, Virginia was all business on Sunday when he won the $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during the Cavalier Classic aboard his own Remonta Habano, which propelled him into the top 10 of the Pfizer Million Rider Rankings with more than $26,000 in prize money.

Continue reading HITS Culpeper July Wrap-Up

Margie Engle Beats Out 40 Starters to Take the Win in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson IV

© ESI Photography. Margie Engle and Ashland Farms' Lord Spezi on course in Friday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (July 23, 2011) — With competition taking place in 10 different show rings and more than 1,600 horses on the premises, the opening week of the HITS-on-the-Hudson summer series is going like gangbusters, proving that Saugerties, New York is the place to be this summer.

Olympian Margie Engle picked up right where she left off upon her return to HITS-on-the-Hudson when she piloted Ashland Farms’ Lord Spezi to an exciting victory in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Engle and Lord Spezi had a very successful start to their season in Saugerties back in June when they won the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and finished sixth together in the $100,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix during HITS-on-the-Hudson III.

“He [Lord Spezi] had the winter off and we showed together here Week III where we did really well together,” said Engle. “We’re back for the summer and looking to qualify for the [Pfizer] Million. He’s a funny horse, he has a cocky attitude, but in a good way. He knows when he does a good job. Sometimes, after a jump he’ll let out a little buck, showing off like ‘Wow! Look what I did’. He’s not a very big horse, but he has a very big personality.”

Friday’s win did not come easy for Engle as 39 other starters stood in her way at the outset of the class, including fellow Olympians McLain Ward, Peter Leone, Todd Minikus, Kevin Babington and Manuel Torres. International Course Designer Marina Azevedo of Brazil set a challenging course in the roomy Strongid C 2X Stadium that included a double combination early in the track, a water jump mid-way through the route and a triple combination at the second-to-last fence, which proved to be the downfall of many riders on the course.

Continue reading Margie Engle Beats Out 40 Starters to Take the Win in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson IV

Silvio Mazzoni and Remonta Habano Capture the $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, Presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Culpeper Week III

© ESI Photography. Silvio Mazzoni rides to victory aboard his own Remonta Habano in Sunday's $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper.

CULPEPER, VA (July 19, 2011) – Silvio Mazzoni of Leesburg, Virginia and his own Remonta Habano captured their second Grand Prix victory at HITS this year by winning Sunday’s $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Culpeper. The duo also won the blue in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at the Ocala Winter Classic this winter.

Prior to the start of Sunday’s main event, the Topaz Vaulters, an equine gymnastics spectacle, gave a special performance to kick off an afternoon of show jumping. Course designer Jose “Pepe” Gamarra of Ellenton, Florida made the $40,000 class his debut at HITS Commonwealth Park. His first round saw seven horse-and-rider combinations go clear and then return for the jump-off.

“The course was great,” said Mazzoni, who gained momentum for Sunday’s victory after a fourth-place finish in Friday’s $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix with Remonta Habano. “It was a very technical track, which asked a lot of the right questions.”

First to return in the jump-off was Alexa Lowe of Upperville, Virginia aboard Windsor Farm Sales’ Amicello. The team wasted no time in setting the Great American Time to Beat at 45.306 seconds with a clear effort.

Mazzoni followed and easily took the lead with a blistering time of 39.741 seconds.

Continue reading Silvio Mazzoni and Remonta Habano Capture the $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, Presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Culpeper Week III

Patty Stovel Wins the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper Week III aboard Kenya

©ESI Photography. Patty Stovel and Kenya in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper.

CULPEPER, VIRGINIA (July 18, 2011) – Accomplished professional Patty Stovel and Shoal Creek Stables’ Kenya won Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix to highlight a week of tough competition in the hunter rings of the Cavalier Classic at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia.

Stovel of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania and Kenya were the top horse-and-rider team out of the 34 that showed over Saugerties, New York course designer Rian Beals’ first-round track. They also sat atop the 12 pairs that advanced to the second round as they scored a first-place check. More importantly, the talented duo added their names to the list of top contenders for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, which is scheduled to roll into HITS Saugerties in September.

“There were some great horses and riders in this class, and for us to come out on top – proves that we belong,” said Stovel. “I am heading up to Saugerties for the next three weeks, where I plan to show in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix, which will be a huge advantage since the big class will take place right in Saugerties.”

Stovel finished on Sunday with a total score of 175 and led the charge at HITS Culpeper, boasting the top score in both rounds and winning the class by 10 points. Jonelle Mullen Stern, of Warrenton, Virginia, rode Carolyn Williams’ Delorian to a second-place effort and junior rider, Emma Kennedy of Ocala, Florida, took third aboard Donald Stewart’s Van Guard.

Continue reading Patty Stovel Wins the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper Week III aboard Kenya

Entries for the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast Close Today and Marks the Return of the Event to Saugerties

©Lili Weik Photography. Danielle Cooper and Frank Madden enjoy a moment in the winner's circle after Amalfi and Cooper were named the 2009 Grand Champion.

Saugerties, NY (July 13, 2011) – Junior riders will make an anticipated return to Saugerties, New York this summer to compete in the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast. The three-day event will kick off August 1 and entries must be post-marked by today.

Young talent from all corners of the country will meet at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds to compete for almost $50,000 in prize money as well as a chance to earn a wild card spot in the first ever Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, coming to Saugerties this fall. The Champion Rider from each of the four sections of the Junior Hunter Final will be given a Wild Card berth in the inaugural Hunter Prix Final – a chance to compete for a record-breaking $150,000 winner’s purse.

The Championship features competition for Small Juniors 15 and Under, Large Juniors 15 and Under, Small Juniors 16-17, and Large Juniors 16-17 in the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

The Championships will also feature the prestigious USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Equitation Cup Classic. Since its inception, the Hunterdon Cup has grown in importance and has become one of the most coveted titles for junior equitation riders. Equitation classes will consist of the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal, the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class and the WIHS Equitation Classic.

HITS will roll out the red carpet for the championships and will treat these up-and-coming equestrian stars VIP treatment with gourmet catering. Giuseppe Napoli, Executive Chef at the new Diamond Mills Hotel scheduled to open in Saugerties this fall, will spearhead the catering efforts.

Continue reading Entries for the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast Close Today and Marks the Return of the Event to Saugerties

Kevin Babington and Mark Q Capture the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

© ESI Photography. Kevin Babington and Mark Q on course in the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix.

CULPEPER, VA (July 11, 2011) — With all new footing in the Grand Prix ring and beautiful weather, the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia, was well suited to highlight the Showday National. Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, could not have asked for much more, as he captured the first place honors aboard his own Mark Q.

Sunday’s course was designed by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida. Four riders went clean, including standout junior and Grand Prix newcomer Hasbrouck Donovan of Gainesville, Florida. Donovan went third in the order, posting her clear round early aboard her own Delilah. Babington showed sixth in the order and earned the second clear round of the class to secure a jump-off.

“I thought it was a great class,” said Babington. “I really enjoyed this show. Today’s class had a nice turnout, and the new footing was fantastic. We had some rain earlier in the week that gave it a good test and it passed with flying colors.”

Babington, like so many others, has circled the Pfizer Million on his calendar this year. “The Pfizer Million is one of my main goals this year since it’s such a great opportunity to jump for that much prize money. This is a new horse that I didn’t realize would be such a strong contender for the Million but I think we’ll be ready.”

Babington plans to return to HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties to help cement his spot in the Pfizer Million lineup. “I will be in Saugerties for three weeks and will hopefully get six qualifiers in then,” he said. “This was my third one so I should be in good shape after Saugerties.”

Continue reading Kevin Babington and Mark Q Capture the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

Artist Jane Gaston and Lumiere Draw Up a Victory in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

©ESI Photography. Jane Gaston and Lumiere in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (July 11, 2011) — Two of the leaders in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final Rider Rankings dueled it out in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix with amateur rider Jane Gaston and her own Lumiere coming out on top to highlight the Showday National at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia.

Gaston, a well known artist, especially in the equine world, entered Saturday’s class ranked third in the current Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Rider Rankings and continues to prove that she is one of the favorites to win it all in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.

“This horse is just great,” said Gaston of The Plains, Virginia. “He got his start at HITS Culpeper five years ago as a baby and has won both Devoucoux classes so far here this year, so I feel like this is his home.

“But I am looking forward to going to Saugerties! The place is just beautiful. I have been there as a spectator, but I have never shown there,” said Gaston, looking forward to making her debut at HITS-on-the-Hudson this fall.

Gaston has made it clear that qualifying for the Diamond Mills Final is one of her goals this year. “I love the concept of this class. It really levels the playing field because it eliminates things like riders having multiple rides. And yes, I would say we are one of the favorites in the Final – as long as I stay out of his way!”

Continue reading Artist Jane Gaston and Lumiere Draw Up a Victory in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

Pfizer Animal Health Presents the First-Ever Culpeper Horse Owners’ Event on July 8!

© ESI Photography. Aaron Vale and Paparazzi 10 won the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Culpeper in 2010.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (June 22, 2011) — HITS is proud to announce the debut of the first-ever Culpeper Horse Owners’ Event, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, which will take place at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia on July 8, from 4:30pm – 9pm, during Pfizer Animal Health Weekend. Commonwealth Park is located at 13256 Commonwealth Parkway.

Prior to the start of the event, guests will be able to watch the some of the top High-Performance riders in the country compete in the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix, which will take place in the Grand Prix ring on Friday, located directly in front of the HITS Restaurant, where the event will take place.

All show exhibitors, horse owners and horsemen alike from the local and surrounding communities are invited to attend this exciting event, free of charge. The main presentation will be a featured lecture on Strategic Deworming by renowned veterinarian Mark Crisman, DVM, MS, Diplomate, ACVIM, Equine Veterinary Service on behalf of Pfizer Animal Health. Dr. Crisman’s presentation will be followed by a country cook-out featuring all the favorite fixings and a live music performance by the Gold Top County Ramblers. Also, all guests attending the lecture will be eligible to fill out entry forms for some fun give-aways at the end of the evening.

The Culpeper Horse Owners’ Event will be a great opportunity to learn about new innovative strategies to maintaining the overall health and care of your horses. In an effort to promote this inaugural event, the Culpeper Horse Owners’ Association has expressed their deepest support and admiration. “As an organization dedicated to the promotion of the horse industry in Culpeper, we are really excited that HITS and Pfizer Animal Health are putting on the Culpeper Horse Owners’ Event and inviting the surrounding horse community,” said Gardiner Mulford, President of the Culpeper Horse Owners’ Association (CHOA). “What a great opportunity to get to the show, watch exciting show jumping, learn from an expert in the field of equine health and enjoy the company of fellow horsemen and horsewomen while listening to great music at the country cook out.” He continued, “We are delighted that HITS and Pfizer Animal Health have invited the Culpeper community and CHOA to this event. We are looking forward to it!”

Continue reading Pfizer Animal Health Presents the First-Ever Culpeper Horse Owners’ Event on July 8!

Olympians Clinch Grand Prix Wins, Local Families Enjoy HITS-on-the-Hudson, and Devoucoux Hunter Prix Riders Gain Momentum as the Race to Pfizer Million Weekend Continues

© ESI Photography. Patricia Griffith on course with Lexi Maounis' Platinum in Saturday's $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

SAUGERTIES, NY (June 17, 2011) — The HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds in Saugerties, New York were bustling for three weeks straight as entries poured in, barns were at capacity and the weather cooperated for a successful spring show series – a momentum that should transition to HITS Culpeper at Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia July 6-17.

Grand Prix classes welcome Olympic medalists
Olympic riders proved why they have medals in their trophy cases, winning four out of the six Grand Prix classes offered during the three weeks of competition. McLain Ward of Brewster, New York rode to victory three times in the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium, capturing Grand Prix purses of $25,000, $50,000 and $75,000. Margie Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida, lauded as the winningest female rider in the world, started her time in Saugerties off on the right foot by winning the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. She went on to win the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during week II.

Joining the ranks of Ward and Engle was Danielle Torano of Southwest Ranches, Florida, who kicked off the spring Grand Prix circuit with a win in the first $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during week I. Also making his mark on the high-performance world was Hector Florentino of the Dominican Republic, who made his HITS Saugerties debut in style with a win in the $100,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during the final hours of competition in week III.

Continue reading Olympians Clinch Grand Prix Wins, Local Families Enjoy HITS-on-the-Hudson, and Devoucoux Hunter Prix Riders Gain Momentum as the Race to Pfizer Million Weekend Continues