Category Archives: HITS

Lillie Keenan and Kristen Lutz Dominate 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast at HITS-on-the-Hudson

Lillie Keenan with her overall Grand Champion award with Don Stewart's Confidentialand overall Reserve Grand Champion award with Chansonette Farm LLC's Madison. ESI Photography.

Saugerties, NY — After three rounds of competition, Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, returned to the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson to accept champion awards with not one, but two horses in the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast. Keenan claimed the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Champion award as well as overall Grand Champion on Don Stewart’s Confidential with an overall score of 89.37. She also captured the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under title in the irons of Chansonette Farm LLC’s Madison, to post an overall Reserve Grand Champion score of 87.83.

“These horses were up to the challenge,” said Keenan. “They are a really special pair and winning both champion and reserve was unexpected and exciting.”

Adding to Keenan’s list of accolades, she also rode Madison to win the War Dress Memorial Trophy, awarded to the high score mare of the Championship.

At 14 years old, Keenan, who trains with Andre Dignelli at Heritage Farm, proved that age is irrelevant, beating all riders in both older divisions to take home Reserve Grand and Grand Champion honors. While age may not play an important role in success, Stewart admits that genetics do.

“This is second nature for Lillie,” said Stewart. “She comes from a family of champions, as do these horses.”

Continue reading Lillie Keenan and Kristen Lutz Dominate 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast at HITS-on-the-Hudson

McLain Ward Wins His Fourth Grand Prix of the Season at HITS-on-the-Hudson and Inches Closer to Pfizer Million Rider Rankings

© ESI Photography. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward captures his fourth victory of the season at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Friday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Antares F.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 6, 2011) — For the fourth time this year, McLain Ward led the victory gallop in the Strongid C 2X Stadium beating out 51 starters to take home the blue in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. This time around, Ward’s win came aboard Grant Road Partners LLC’s Antares F.

Ward, of Brewster, New York, is no stranger to winning at HITS-on-the-Hudson. In addition to being the reigning Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix champion, he won the first $50,000 Grand Prix of the season during opening week aboard his own Oh’ D Eole. He followed that with two more wins during Week II, in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Domino, and again two days later aboard Oh’ D Eole in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, both presented by Pfizer Animal Health.

International Course Designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal is in charge of putting riders to the test this week and preparing them for Sunday’s $100,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Sunday’s summer finale promises to be a real game changer for many riders, including Ward, looking to break into the Top 40 Pfizer Million Rider Rankings.

Friday’s line up was packed with High-Performance heavy weights, so it was no surprise to see 15 riders advance to the jump-off. Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey was second to show in the jump-off and quickly went to work making it all the way around the course without any faults in a time of 39.040 seconds to set the Great American Time to Beat aboard Mary Chapot’s Umberto. In the end, Chapot finished the class in third place.

Continue reading McLain Ward Wins His Fourth Grand Prix of the Season at HITS-on-the-Hudson and Inches Closer to Pfizer Million Rider Rankings

HITS-on-the-Hudson V Week in Review

HITS Saugerties sells out as exhibitors flock to the Hudson Valley for the very best in summer showing, Pfizer Million and Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Qualifiers produce new riders for the Rankings, and a fun filled weekend awaits for Week VI

© ESI Photography. Ellen Toon and Invincible on course in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 5, 2011) — Barns were full, rings hosted non-stop action and entries were sold out for Week V at HITS-on-the-Hudson as almost 2,000 horses docked at the show grounds, making HITS Saugerties their summer home. Week V featured two more chances to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and one opportunity for riders to gain points toward the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, both scheduled for the weekend of September 10-11, 2011 at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

Riders race to qualify
Ellen Toon picked up her fifth $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and sealed her place at the top of the current Diamond Mills Rider Rankings with a victory in Saturday’s class aboard her own Invincible. The win gave Toon the hat trick, marking her third Devoucoux blue of the season. Six new riders, including Toon, made their way onto the eligible Diamond Mills Rider Rankings during Week V in Saugerties as only three qualifiers remain before the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final highlights Pfizer Million weekend September 10-11 in Saugerties, New York.

Also winning big this week was High-Performance rider Todd Minikus and Candy Tribble & Windsor Stables’ Sweetheart. They captured their first win together in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and went on to sweep the weekend, riding to victory in Sunday’s $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.

Continue reading HITS-on-the-Hudson V Week in Review

USEF National Junior Hunter Championship Continues

©ESI Photography. Lillie Keenan rode to victory for the second time in Tuesday's $4,000 Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Classic Round aboard Madison.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 3, 2011) – On Tuesday, the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast at HITS-on-the-Hudson welcomed Junior equestrians to the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium for the first phase of competition. Riders vied for individual Champion awards as well as Wild Card Berths in September’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.

Riders in Small Junior 15 and Under, Large Junior 15 and Under, Small Junior 16-17, and Large Junior 16-17 completed the first two phases of the three-phase format on Tuesday. The initial standings were established after the scores from a $4,000 Classic Hunter Round, worth 40% of the overall score, were then coupled with the scores of the $2,000 Under Saddle Phase, worth 20% of the overall score. After the third and final phase, the top ten overall in each section will be pinned, and the champion rider of each section will receive a Wild Card Berths for September’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.

Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under

Lillie Keenan of New York, New York aboard Don Stewart’s Confidential established a strong hold on the top spot of the overall rankings in the Small Juniors 15 and Under, winning both the Classic Round with a score of 88 and the Under Saddle with an impressive 92.

“My goal is to qualify for the [Diamond Mills] $500,000 [Hunter Prix] Final and winning the Wild Card would be great,” said Keenan, who trains with Andre Dignelli at Heritage Farm. “I would love to show Confidential in the Hunter Prix Final. He is so much fun to ride and the class will be a great match for us.”

Continue reading USEF National Junior Hunter Championship Continues

Opening Day of USEF National Junior Hunter Championships – East Coast Crowns Winners in ASPCA Maclay, WIHS Equitation Classic and USEF/Pessoa Medals

©ESI Photography. Kendell Adelberger and Redfield Farm’s Werner took home the top honors in Monday's ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 2, 2011) — This week, HITS-on-the-Hudson is host to some of the best junior riders in the country as it welcomes the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast to the Saugerties show grounds.

Action got underway yesterday with four equitation classes and will continue through Wednesday as Small Juniors 15 and Under, Large Juniors 15 and Under, Small Juniors 16-17, and Large Juniors 16-17 will compete for the National Championship as well as a Wild Card berth in the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson VIII this September.

“The Junior Hunter National Championships have been a highlight of the HITS-on-the-Hudson Summer Series and we are pleased to welcome the event back to Saugerties,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “We felt strongly that this year’s Champions deserve a spot in the Hunter Prix Final and we hope this will help to contribute some additional excitement and attention to the Junior Hunter Finals.”

ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal
Kendell Adelberger of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania kicked off three days of Hunter competition with a win in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal, aboard Redfield Farm’s Werner. Adelberger is trained by Emil Spadone and topped a field of 15 to capture the blue. The group faced a technical course in HITS’ Hunter Stadium and then their equitation was put to the test on the flat.

Continue reading Opening Day of USEF National Junior Hunter Championships – East Coast Crowns Winners in ASPCA Maclay, WIHS Equitation Classic and USEF/Pessoa Medals

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