Saugerties, NY – September 8, 2022 – HITS LLC announced that as planned, founder Tom Struzzieri will be stepping away from his role as Chief Executive Officer at the end of the 2022 season, after more than 40 years at the helm of HITS LLC. Under Struzzieri’s leadership, HITS has become the premier brand known for producing world-class hunter/jumper competitions in the United States. HITS LLC will be led by their world class management team, while the Company actively engages in a search for a new CEO.
Struzzieri will remain a part owner and Director of HITS LLC, and will continue to provide strategic consulting to the Company as well as significant involvement in the launch of the Del Mar, California Showpark in 2023.
Struzzieri commented: “I have been extremely fortunate over the 4 decades of running HITS to have a terrific group of employees who have been by my side through some very hard climbs as we together have grown the company. I remain committed to those people and will be in constant touch as a consultant as we face the next challenges together. On a parallel course, I have also been blessed to have very loyal clients, and because of that loyalty they too can continue to count on me as a liaison to all things HITS related. The future of HITS is bright and I plan on doing what I can behind the scenes to help it shine.”
“It has been a pleasure to witness the industry through Tom’s eyes. He has been, and will continue to be, a guide and advisor to us all,” said Mortimer Singer, Managing Partner of Traub Capital Partners. “Tom has built a great business and we look forward to continuing our work together as partners.”
With six locations in New York, Florida, Vermont, Illinois, Virginia, and now California, HITS will continue its mission of providing top quality competitions for riders at every level, while improving its facilities, technology and overall customer experience. Exhibitors can expect exciting new developments at the beginning of 2023 as the HITS Ocala Winter Show Series kicks off at Post Time Farm, as well as at Del Mar Showpark, where teams are already in place to begin renovations.
As Struzzieri steps away from his role as CEO, he is fulfilling his life-long goal of cycling across the United States, and will be supporting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) with Team Alpha. If you would like to consider making a donation, you can do so here: https://www.alphabikeride.com/team.
The Marshall & Sterling Insurance league recognizes these are extraordinary times. Upon careful consideration and high regard for recommendations from the CDC and local and state health officials, we have decided it is in the best interest of the League and its Member Riders and Shows to suspend all Marshall & Sterling sanctioned events effective immediately through May 3, 2020. For those competitions choosing to run, there will be no accumulation of points towards Marshall & Sterling Year-End Awards or Qualifying during this time.
The health, safety, and well-being of our members and the horse community is of utmost importance to the Marshall & Sterling League. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with the appropriate government officials and health experts and will reinstate League sanctioning when the health concerns are lifted. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to follow these temporary guidelines to keep our members safe and healthy during this period.
We will post updates as needed on our website and the M&S Facebook page. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@HitsShows.com.
If you’re showing at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit this week, be sure to compete in the ALL NEW Marshall & Sterling Team Challenge making its return during Week IX. This multi-round, multi-day team competition for Children’s and Adult Hunter and Jumper Riders is the latest addition to the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League.
Teams of three will compete to be the Champion in three rounds of competition. Teams may consist of any combination of Children’s or Adult Riders. Riders will earn points individually for the Finals, so a team can change from week to week. The Marshall & Sterling Team Challenge Finals will be held at the Marshall & Sterling Indoor Finals at the Great New York State Fair Expo Center in Syracuse, New York, October 23-27, 2019.
Get together with your friends, or make new friends, and enter your team today in the Horse Show Office!
The Children’s/Adult Hunter Team Challenge will consist of three rounds: Classic-Style, Under Saddle, and Handy-Style. Rounds will be scored numerically and scores from each round will be added to determine the total score for each Team.
The Children’s/Adult Jumper Team Challenge will consist of three rounds: a two-round Nations Cup-Style on Day One and a stand-alone Table II Round on Day Two. Faults from each round will be added to determine a final score for the Team.
The Qualifying Period for the 2019 Marshall & Sterling Insurance League National Finals ends on August 25, 2019. Riders must be active Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Members in order for points to count. For more information on the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League, visit HitsShows.com or contact League Director Patti Guerriero.
Performance and generosity were the themes of Week VII at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit as sponsors, riders, and patrons went above and beyond both inside the ring and out. It all began with the celebration of “Purina Week,” thanks to long-time HITS partner Purina Animal Nutrition. Then performances took center stage for both Hunters and Jumpers, highlighted by the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium as ten riders jumped off to determine the winner. But everyone won as generosity took over to benefit Marion Country Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA).
The Ocala Tournament held a special event before the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix this week, bringing light to the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA). Riders from MTRA showed off their skills in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium and hosted their own silent auction to help raise money for the program.
“We would like to thank HITS for the support the support they have given us,” said Dana Waters, member, Board of Directors, MTRA.
Adding to the generosity, all riders in the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix pledged ten percent of their winnings to MTRA. Gail Dady from Caliburn Farms pledged to match the total donated from each rider, making this one of the group’s largest fundraisers to date. And HITS donated their proceeds from the Grand Prix admission to benefit MTRA.
“Horses have given us such wonderful lives,” continued Waters. “It’s so rewarding getting to share them with those who need them.”
Kinser Vale, Sophia Ayers, Addie Edwards, Kendall Dean, and “Timmy Romo” the mini pony helped in raising awareness and donations for MTRA. The group of pony riders went around the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium “trick-or-treating” through the crowd to help raise funds. With the generosity flowing through the crowd that day, the kids and “Timmy” were able to raise an extra $300 to donate to MTRA.
The $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix was the featured class of the week in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium, and with ten riders making their way to the jump off, it was an exciting finale. David Jennings and CADDIE R came out victorious, with a clean round in a time of 40.534.
2nd Place: Scott Keach & CHICCO W (41.521)
3rd Place: Michael Morrissey & SAM 1091 (41.710)
Morgan Ward and DANTURA scored a win to start the week, taking home the blue ribbon in the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome. She narrowly beat the others in the jump-off. With a time of 40.972, she led the way by more than 1 1/2 seconds.
2nd Place: Devin Ryan & CASPAR’S LASINO (42.502)
3rd Place: Lisa Goldman-Smolen & HINDSIGHT (43.269)
Devin Ryan claimed a win for the second week in a row in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. This week he rode CASPSR’S LASINO across the finish with a time of 45.534 to clear the field by more than four seconds.
2nd Place: Peter Petschenig & CRAGGANMORE 3 (49.910)
3rd Place: Andre Thieme & CONTADOR (45.094)
The $10,000 KindredBio Open Prix went to Derek Petersen aboard DIAMANT’S LEGACY. They edged out the competition in the jump-off by almost 3 full seconds in a time of 30.219.
2nd Place: Tracy Magness & INTENZ VAN HD (32.921)
3rd Place: Goldman- Smolen & BENGTSSON VDL (33.982)
Manuel Torres had the winning round in the $10,000 1.35m Classic aboard ANASTASIA with a time of 33.720.
2nd Place: Patricia Stovel & CARIGOR Z (34.517)
3rd Place: Anthony Sauriol & PBM CASCADA (34.540)
The Ocala Premiere closed the books with high scores in the Hunter Prix and back to back wins in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.
The $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Welcome started the week for the Open Jumper division with Bree Rosales taking the victory. She rode VOIGTSDORFS QUONSCHBOB to a blue ribbon finish with a time of 42.443.
2nd Place: Heren Lee & EVERYDAY HERO
3rd Place: Kaitlyn Williams & VEDOR
The fastest time for the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix went to Brian Feigus with a time of 33.973 on CATOKI to grab the blue ribbon.
The $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic on Saturday was won by Sarah Meier. She had the blue ribbon round with a time of 39.030 aboard CHANEL.
2nd Place: Savannah Unger & FABIO TN (40.931)
3rd Place: Grant Seger & DR. J (41.853)
Claire McDonald took home the winning round in the $2,500 Pyranha Junior 1.25m Jumper Classic, capturing the win on LUNA.
Bringing home the blue ribbon in the $2,500 Pyranha A-O/AM 1.25m Jumper Classic was Molly Struve. She crossed the timers in 38.872 aboard AURORA to finish with top honors.
Hayley Waters was the winning rider in the $5,000 Summit Joint Performance Jr/AO/AM 1.35m Jumper Classic. She piloted IDALIE VAN DOPERHEIDE across the timers for a top honors finish.
Sima Morgello rode a great jump-off round to finish first in the $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O/AM 1.45m Jumper Classic. She was aboard ORIENTALES to catch the first place win.
Aaron Vale returned to the Ocala Horse Properties stadium for $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday and wowed the crowd with a repeat performance of last week’s victory. Vale and MAJOR finished with a time of 45.891 for their second Grand Prix win in a row.
When it came to tough competition and impressive victories, the hunters gave the jumpers a run for their money at the Ocala Premier.
The winning score in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix was close to call, but Alexandra Carroll was able to come out on top of the pack. She was aboard CHINCHINO, earning a first round score of 81. And, when combined with her second round score of an 80, gave her the overall winning score of 161.
2nd Place: Kelly Anne Siock & SANTEUR (159.50)
3rd Place: Lena Rea Reeb & CALL ME (157.50)
Robin Swinderman Mitchell earned the top score for the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix this week. Mitchell earned a first round score of 85 and a second round score of 90 to win the class with an overall total of 175. She was aboard CLASSIC to seal the blue ribbon finish.
The HITS Culpeper Summer Series at HITS Commonwealth Park has come and gone for 2018. It was a beautiful week to close out the season in the Heart of Virginia’s Horse Country with great weather, blue ribbons and the Horseware Ireland Grand Circuit Champion awards claimed at the Culpeper Finals.
The featured classes in the Grand Prix Ring kicked off with the $5,000 Open Welcome where Tracy Magness would start her week with a win aboard INTENZ VAN HD. Magness and “Candy” crossed the timers in 35.043, over a full second faster than the second place recipient.
Magness’ victory put an exclamation mark on her season at HITS Culpeper, marking her eighth blue ribbon in a featured Open Jumper class, and securing the Horseware Ireland Grand Circuit Championship in the Open 1.40m Jumpers. Jumping to second place would be Jennifer Brennan aboard MAC, finishing in a four-fault time of 34.024. Third place would be awarded to Cian McDermott, taking the reins aboard NEWCASTLE in a four-fault time of 35.565. Danny Mahon would take home the fourth place award aboard CHOPPER 5, followed by Randy Johnson in fifth aboard his own CAMPARO.
A field of 21 would take to the course Friday afternoon in the $10,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Prix. Top honors would be awarded to Marylisa Leffler aboard LUMINOUS, soaring to the finish in 31.147. Second place would be awarded to Magness and INTENZ VAN HD in a time of 31.276, followed by Johnson and JADE VAN DE START with a time of 32.872 to claim the yellow ribbon. Jason Berry would capture the fourth place ribbon aboard QUANTOS in a time of 33.598. Rounding out the top five in the Prix would be Tamara Morse and RAVENNA ADELHEID Z in a time of 34.135.
Top honors in the $2,000 Marshall & Sterling Children’s and Adult Jumper Classic was Wendy Libert and PAPILLION PEANUT.
Bari Michelle Friedman and CAPITOL II would take home top honors in the $2,500 Pyranha Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur 1.20m Jumper Classic.
Taking home top honors in the $5,000 Summit Joint Performance Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur 1.30m Jumper Classic was Ginny Gale and EVENSONG. Gale and EVENSONG also captured the Horseware Ireland Grand Circuit Championship in the Jr/A-O/Am 1.30m.
Tamara Morse and RAVENNA ADELHEID Z would soar to a blue ribbon finish in the $7,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur 1.40m Jumper Classic. This dynamic duo would also take home the Horseware Ireland Reserve Grand Championship in the Jr/A-O/Am 1.30m Jumpers and Champion in the Jr/A-O/Am 1.40m Jumpers.
The excitement of the featured jumper classes at the HITS Culpeper Finals would continue on Sunday with the $20,000 HITS Open Prix. Taking home top honors, by over a full four seconds, would be Brooke Kemper and CLASSIFIED. Soaring through the timers in a fault-free time of 34.442 would secure the win in the final Open Prix of the HITS Culpeper Summer Series. Riding home with the second place ribbon would be Ashley Foster and DALIANTE M in a time of 39.612. Marylisa Leffler and LUMINOUS would take home the third place ribbon for their jump-off rider, finishing with a four-fault time of 38.340. Taking home the fourth place ribbon would be Magness and INTENZ VAN HD, followed by Laura Gaither and GARDA in fifth.
In the Hunter Rings, riders competed for blue ribbons and points toward the Hunter Prix Finals at the 2019 HITS Championships, in Saugerties, New York. The Devoucoux serves as the qualifying class for the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Finals and similarly the Platinum Performance serves as the qualifying class for the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Finals.
First up in the Main Hunter Ring on Saturday afternoon were those competing in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix. Taking home the blue ribbon and lion’s share of the $1,500 purse was Sara Taylor aboard CARLOTTA. Taylor rode to scores of 88 and 86 for a total of 174 between her two rounds. Riding to second place was Megan Bennett aboard MARGO with scores of 82 and 83 for a two round total of 165. Taking home the third place ribbon was Katie McAfee for her ride aboard CAPPUCCINO with scores of 68 and 70 for a two round total of 138.
Junior and Amateur riders took the stage next for the $1,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Taking home top honors would be Carley Gray aboard her own UNIQUE CAR. Chelsea Director and her own URBAN would follow to be awarded the second place ribbon.
The Constitution Classic also featured the Culpeper Equitation Classic where Junior and Amateur riders have the option to compete at either the 3′ or 3’6″ fence height.
Taking home top honors was Madison Smyth whose trip was described by the judge as “smooth as silk.” As first to go in the class, she put the pressure on the following riders. In second place was Jacqui Needle, followed by Lauren Miller to take home third place.
“It’s not goodbye; it’s see you soon!” is what many people were saying this week during the Ocala Championship, as the final week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit came to a close. Week X proved to be one of the most exciting weeks yet, with high stakes classes for both hunters and jumpers, including the fifth annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.
The week kicked off with the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome and a victory by Michael Hutchinson and RONALDO DE LA POMME with a jump-off time of 35.850. In second was Taylor Land and FALCO V with a jump-off time of 37.973. Devin Ryan came in third aboard FLORIDA with a jump-off time of 38.342. Fourth place was Rachel Schnurr and PRINCE GARBO with a jump-off time of 38.528, while Tracy Magness rounded out the top five aboard INTENZ VAN HD with a jump-off time of 39.045.
On Thursday, the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix took place once again. This week, David Raposa took the top spot aboard ILIONA with a jump-off time of 40.620. Newcomer to the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium, Jamie Barge, took second aboard LUEBBO with a jump-off time of 41.498. Sharn Wordley was third with CASPER in a jump-off time of 41.530 and three time $1 Million Grand Prix winner, Andre Thieme, was fourth aboard ARETINO 13 with a jump-off time of 41.936. Week VII $50,000 HITS Grand Prix winner, Callan Solem, took fifth aboard DAVIDSON with a jump-off time of 42.887.
Friday afternoon, the $10,000 Open Prix took place, with $265,000 Longines Grand Prix winner (Week V), Rowan Willis, taking the win aboard SHARK with a jump-off time of 31.672. In second was Wordley aboard RYE VAL DE MAI with a jump-off time of 32.611, while Lisa Goldman was third aboard her well-known mount CENTURION B with a jump-off time of 34.859. Emanuel Andrade continued to impress, taking fourth aboard JOLI JUMPER with a jump-off time of 34.993 and fifth was Lillie Keenan and CHACCOLETTE with a jump-off time of 35.748.
Friday evening, the HITS Equitation Championships took place, giving young riders a chance to shine in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Madeline Schaefer was awarded first place aboard CORRENDO with a two-round score of 178. Brian Moggre was second aboard MTM GEM with a two-round score of 174. Only one point behind was Sophee Steckbeck and CURT Z with a two-round score of 173. Fourth was awarded to C. Blair Spencer aboard WASSINI with a two-round score of 169. Rounding out the top five was Danny Mahon and CHOPPER 5 with a two-round score of 161.5.
Saturday was an exciting day, with several jumper classics taking place, as well as the $25,000 USHJA International Derby. Starting the day off was the $10,000 KindredBio 1.30m Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classic. Kady Abrahamson took first place aboard BASCO H2 with a jump-off time of 35.372. Moggre was second aboard TOUR EIFFEL with a jump-off time of 36.431. In third was Quinn Larimer and LIMBOY VON WORRENBERG with a jump-off time of 37.020 and Nicole Loochtan was fourth aboard CAIMAN DES SEQUOIAS with a jump-off time of 43.423. Fifth was Darby Toben aboard D’ARTAGNAN with a jump-off time of 45.920.
In the $10,000 1.35 Classic, Hutchinson again took the win aboard RONALDO DE LA POMME with a jump-off time of 41.835. Second was Jennifer Ann Smith and LAISSEZ FAIRE 3E with a jump-off time of 46.715. Wordley, took another top five placing aboard RYE VAL DE MAI, placing third with a four-fault jump-off time of 40.853. Fourth was Ryan aboard FLORIDA with a four-fault jump-off time of 41.209 and Jennifer Brennan was fifth aboard MAC with a four-fault jump-off time of 42.724.
In the $25,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, Callie Smith and Tamara Morse battled it out in the jump-off as the only two clears from the first round. Smith came out on top with one time-fault in the jump-off in 48.575 aboard FLOYD W. Tamara Morse was second aboard RAVENNA ALDEHEID Z with a rail and one time fault in a time of 48.623. Third was Nicole Belissimo and HARLEY DAVID as the fastest of the four-faulters in round-one with a time of 70.268. Just a second behind her was Kady Abrahamson and CHARLINE 28 with a four-fault score in 71.358 and Bryn Sadler was fifth aboard CEZARRO with a four-fault time of 74.420.
Kate Taylor and CHACCA BLUE took the win in the $25,000 Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic with a jump-off time of 31.257. Grace Debney was second aboard BYOLGA with a jump-off time of 31.736. In third was Alyson Gurney and BLACK FRIDAY with a jump-off time of 33.550 and Sherri Jamison took fourth place with MAY’S NEWS in a jump-off time of 34.364. Fifth was Joy Slater aboard OILEAN UNO with a jump-off time of 34.648.
Saturday evening, the second $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby of the circuit took place in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Holly Shepherd was awarded first place after two beautiful rounds and a total score of 370. Shepherd rode her gelding KODACHROME, securing first place and $7,500 in prize money after masterfully maneuvering through both rounds. Samantha Schaefer was second aboard IN THE KNOW with a two-round score of 364. Third place was Hunt Tosh and FLAMINGO-K with a two score of 362.75. ATTENTION PLEASE and David Jennings were fourth with a two-round score of 355.5. Cassandra Kahle rounded out the top five aboard DIADORA with a two-round score of 354.5.
On Sunday, the Horseware Ireland Grand Circuit Champions and Tack Warehouse Second-Half Circuit Champions made their way into the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium for the Parade of Champions and recognition of their season-long achievements. Several Special awards were also presented, including the following:
Kindred Bio Leading Rider: Brian Moggre Laura Pickett Grand Junior Hunter Champion: Rockette, Kaitlyn Williams Farm Credit Tackroom Award: Sapphire Riding Academy, trainer Doug Boyd Absorbine Groom’s Award: Robert Buniowski, groom for Grand Prix Rider Rowan Willis of Australia
Photo: Claudia Villamil aboard QUITE CLOSE VD SMIS.
For the first time, HITS Post Time Farm hosted a Nations Cup style event for both Junior and Children’s riders. Mexico, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the USA were represented and classes for each were held throughout the week with the Nations Cup style event on Saturday. These talented young riders made the competition exciting to watch for both their fellow competitors and spectators.
Thursday marked the start of the Junior and Children’s Classes. In the $1,000 Welcome Classic-Junior, Claudia Villamil, riding for Puerto Rico, took home the first place award aboard QUITE CLOSE VD SMIS with a jump-off time of 30.90. In second place, Faith Davis (USA) followed with DA VINCI and a jump-off time of 38.09. Third place went to Nicole Meyer Robredo (Mexico) aboard CHANEL with a four-fault first-round time of 64.16.
The Welcome Classic – Children’s also took place on Thursday. Daniel Kerins, representing Ireland, came in first aboard ELWOOD with a jump-off time of 30.80. Less than one half of a second behind him was Natalie Pedley (Puerto Rico) and TRUE BLUE MATE, taking home the second place award. In third place was Francis Derwin (Ireland) and STAND BY ME with a jump-off time of 31.81, just one second behind Pedley.
On Friday, the day began in Ocala Horse Properties Stadium with the $5,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix – Junior. Carolina Villanueva Suarez (Mexico) rode to the first place finish aboard ZABEL D with no jumping faults and just two time faults in 90.60. Second place was awarded to Villamil and QUITE CLOSE VD SMIS with a four-fault score in a time of 77.04. Davis and DA VINCI came in third place with a four-fault round-one time of 81.63.
Following the Junior class was the City of Ocala Grand Prix – Children’s. Once again, Kerins came out on top, taking the first place award aboard ELWOOD with a jump-off time of 32.56. Rhys Williams (Ireland) and MALBAY DREAMER were awarded second place with a jump-off time of 34.15. Just behind him, third place went to Pedley aboard TRUE BLUE MATE with a jump-off time of 34.40.
Excitement was at an all time high on Saturday morning, as riders prepared for the Nations Cup style class, which would consist of two rounds and a possible jump-off.
The $5,000 FEI International Invitational Team Competition – Junior had two teams: the Aztecs, consisting of four riders representing Mexico and Chef D’Equipe Stanny van Paesschen, and the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of three riders, two American, and one Puerto Rican, and Chef D’Equipe Diann Langer. In round one, two riders from each team went clear, leaving the Aztecs with four faults and the Stars and Stripes with twelve faults. In round two, both Luciana Gonzalez Guerra aboard CHARLOTTA and Carlos Rodolfo Molina Gordilla aboard TREBON DE LA NUTRIA went clear for the Aztecs, which led them to a Gold Medal finish with a two-round total of eight faults. The Stars and Stripes were awarded the Silver Medal with a two-round score of twenty-eight faults.
The FEI International Invitational Team Competition – Children’s included three teams. The Americas, a team of three, consisted of two American riders, one Puerto Rican rider, and their Chef D’Equipe Diann Langer. Eire consisted of four Irish riders and Chef D’Equipe Michael Blake. The Stars and Stripes Children’s consisted of four American riders and Chef D’Equipe Diann Langer. The course was a challenge for some, but after round one, seven riders had jumped clear rounds, putting Team Americas in the lead.
In round two, all but three riders went clear, creating a three-way tie and jump-off. Natalie Pedley and TRUE BLUE MATE had an incredible jump-off time of 37.88, which gave Americas the Gold Medal. Eire was awarded the Silver Medal with Francis Derwin’s jump-off time of 39.14. Ansgar Holtgers Jr. earned an eight-fault jump-off time of 51.68, earning Team Stars and Stripes Children’s the Bronze Medal.
HITS Culpeper Showday National at Commonwealth Park, Virginia opened on Wednesday, July 5th to kick off two consecutive weeks of Horse Shows.
The venue greeted exhibitors with refreshed footing in the showing rings and schooling areas, and altogether revitalized grounds to compliment the experience that is unique to competing in the heart of Virginia Horse Country.
Showday National has drawn Exhibitors from afar such as Britt McCormick, head trainer at Elmstead Farm in Plano, Texas, who hadn’t been to Culpeper in several years. He noted, “The place looks great. The footing and rings are good, and everything is super.” McCormick has successfully trained horses for over 25 years, and he is a USEF licensed R judge, and USEF licensed R course designer.
The opening day Jumper ring highlight, the $5,000 1.40m Open Welcome, featured an inviting course designed by Sergio Lopez from Colombia, South America. Tracy Magness, the head trainer/rider at Lake View Farm in Hughesville, Maryland, collected the top honors atop IBENZ VAN HD. The pair was one of only two double clear rounds. Magness said that some of the lines posed tricky and technical questions, but not unfair. “I thought it was a good course, and the footing was nice.”
IBENZ VAN HD, also known as CANDY around the barn, is a nine-year-old mare owned by Mr. & Mrs. John Bartko. Magness said she imported the mare in August of last year from Belgium. “I think it takes a year to really get to know a horse totally, but we kind of hit it off right away,” remarked Magness. “I’ve just been learning her, and what works best for her, but she is quite consistent and we’ve had some pretty good placings.” New York-based Debbie McCarthy Connor placed second on ZIM.
Since turning professional in 2001, Magness has won over 30 Grand Prix classes, represented the United States in Europe, and won over $600,000 in Grand Prix earnings alone. She is a 3-time leading Grand Prix Rider in HITS Ocala, and in 2009 she was the leading rider of the United States Grand Prix League.
Patty Foster and her sister Mary Lisa Leffler, of Rolling Acres Show Stables in Brookeville, Maryland, dominated the Green and Performance Hunter Divisions collecting wins with CLASSIC, CHARMING, INCOGNITO, and WHISPER WIND. But even more meaningful than blue ribbons, Foster was delighted to have her sister “back in the ring”. On March 1st, Leffler had broken her leg so badly that it placed her future riding ability in jeopardy. Foster noted, “The doctors put a rod in, and they said it’s amazing how good she looks.”
On Tuesday, Ken Krome arrived in Culpeper where rainstorms had soaked the grounds. “I saw the drain tiles flowing at the edge of the rings and everything looked great,” he noted. After he settled in, all of his horses were schooled in the new footing which deterred the water so well. “The horses were confident jumping, and they’ve all done well for us — everything has been made more comfortable for the horses.”
EGO, ridden by Krome for owner Chelsea Director, earned the tri-color Reserve Championship in the Green Hunter 3’ Division on Opening Day. Krome is quite fond of Ego. “He’s just a cool horse, who is very attentive and really loves what he does. He wants to do everything right,” praised Krome. “Ego is a special horse, and I just really appreciate a horse that wants to do what you want to do and he’s great to work with. He’s fun.”
Krome is the head Trainer/Rider at K2 Show Stables in Brookeville, Maryland. He is credentialed as an FEI-3 rated Course Designer and a USEF “R” rated Judge and Course Designer.
(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Hunter Holloway and Any Given Sunday.
Ocala, FL (March 30, 2017): The Ocala Winter Circuit came to a close last week in Week X at HITS Post Time Farm. The Ocala Winter Circuit will return next year in 2018 with the same schedule. Great American Insurance Group will again sponsor the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix for what will be the fifth consecutive year.
Hunter Holloway Captures Win in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in Ocala
The final week of the 2017 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit drew to an end last weekend as an eager crowd gathered to witness 28 riders and their elegant mounts compete for one of the most prestigious hunter victories, the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
Last week’s hunter event marked the second USHJA Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala this winter season. It was a big class that carries very prestigious honor, and the top placings were stacked with young, talented equestrians.
The top contenders were all competitive and accomplished jumper riders in the junior/amateur-owner divisions as well as several Grand Prix winners – but this day was all about the hunters, and these stellar performances did not disappoint the crowd.
Hunter Holloway of Topeka, Kansas walked away with the blue-ribbon victory aboard Any Given Sunday, owned by Hays Investment Corp. In the Week IV Hunter Derby, Holloway and Any Given Sunday received the second place prize, but this time, they were picked to sit at the top of the leaderboard.
Second place went to Personalized, owned by Further Lane Farm, and ridden by Brian Moggre. Moggre has shown tremendous success in the jumper ring, including a huge win in last year’s $250,000 Black Barn Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Final at the HITS Championship in Saugerties.
Moggre and his beautiful mount stepped up to the plate in Saturday’s derby to walk away with the red ribbon.
Cassandra Kahle, also a seasoned Grand Prix rider, took home third place piloting Baranus, owned by Redfield Farm. Kahle has won several Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS’ Shows and a tremendous amount of ribbons at HITS. The Canadian equestrian also took home fifth place in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final last September in Saugerties.
Tracy Fenney rode MTM Outbid, owned by MTM Farm, to the fourth place spot. Fenney is also a winner of many Grand Prix at HITS Ocala and, like Kahle, took home a ribbon in the top five in the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix last year with third place. Fifth place in last week’s Derby went to Cassius, ridden by Caitlyn Shiels and owned by Don Stewart.
The enchanting stage was set for the field of top-caliber contenders with a lovely course designed by Tim Hott of Cumming, Iowa.
Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, two judging panels 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.
The top twelve returned for the second round of the two-round derby. Holloway and Any Given Sunday entered the second round sitting in third place. They opted for two height options, and earned a total that moved them ahead in the pack for the eventual win thanks to their total of 19 handy bonus points. They earned a high second-round total score of 204, combined with a first-round total score of 175 for a very high overall score of 379.
Moggre and Personalized came into the second round sitting in fourth place tie with the eventual sixth place, Robert Lee and Intrepid. After a first-round score of 172, the pair made a major comeback, opting for two height options to step into second place with their second-round total of 194 for an overall score of 366.
Cassandra Kahle was behind in the pack with a first-round score of 160, they made a major comeback in the second round, opting for all four height options to garner a second-round score of 200, boosting their overall total to 360 for third place.
Fenney’s fourth place ride aboard MTM Outbid was second place coming into the second round after a first-round total of 179. Combined with their second-round score of 167, that gave them an overall total of 346.
Caitlyn Shiels and her fifth place mount, Cassius, earned a first round score of 165 combined with their second-round score of 166; they finished the class with an overall score of 331 for the final spot in the top five.
Adelaide Toensing Tops the Field in HITS Equitation Championship
The lights of the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium gleamed down on competitors for the return of the HITS Equitation Championship. Adelaide Toensing took home the evening’s top honors in Ocala, Florida.
After ten weeks of qualifying opportunities throughout the HITS Ocala Winter Show Circuit, thirty-two juniors took their chance at the technical course, set at 3’6”, designed by Tim Hott of Cumming, Iowa. Competitors were judged by two sets of officials who evaluated their abilities as emerging horsemen and women. The course tested not only their competence in the ring, but also their efforts in the schooling area, as all riders turned in their cell phones and left their trainers in the stands.
A warm-up judge was solely assigned to evaluate how efficiently the riders utilized their time in the warm-up ring and their effectiveness in schooling their horses. Riders banded together as they walked the courses, warmed up and competed all on their own, forming a sense of camaraderie among opponents.
The course included gymnastics, trot fences, oxers, verticals and combinations in the first round, with the second round displaying a more technical, jumper-style course, including an open water element as an option fence.
As the top 12 returned to contend for the blue in the two-round championship, Toensing was feeling confident after sealing the second-highest score of the first round, an 84, to continue into the second round. Toensing earned an 85 in the second round, keeping their scores consistent throughout each challenge. The combined scores produced a winning total of 169.
Coming in behind Toensing for second place was Briley Koerner. She received a 78 in the first round, improving to an 88 in the second round, the highest of the second-round course, to produce a total of 166.
Third in the ribbons was Abigail Lefkowitz with a total score of 163.5 – comprised of her first-round score of 77.5 and improved second-round score of 86.
Todd Minikus Takes the Blue in $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix during Final Week at HITS Ocala
Competition continued during the final week of the Ocala Winter Circuit with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
The order of go was stacked with talent, including Florida equestrian Todd Minikus, who would eventually win the class, young star Lillie Keenan, who rode in the FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala for Team USA, and Irishman Cian O’Connor, who placed third in last weekend’s AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Coachella.
Thirty-three challengers turned out for their shot at the top prize, and nine went clear to advance to the jump-off course set by Werner Deeg of Germany.
Four jumped clear over the shortened course in a race for the win, where it all came down to speed and agility.
Minikus rode Valinski S, owned by Michael Dorman & Wyndmont, Inc., to the win, going sixth in the order in the jump-off. They stopped the clock in a cool, fault-free finish in 33.348, two seconds ahead of the eventual second placer.
Tracy Fenney, a force to be reckoned with in the Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, took home the red ribbon and second place prize aboard MTM Como No, owned by MTM Farm. They passed the timers in 35.637 for the ultimate second place spot on the leaderboard.
Venezuelan equestrian, Emanuel Andrade, is a speedy rider and has laid down numerous quick and competitive rounds in the Grand Prix. Andrade rode for Team Venezuela in the FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala and placed highly all weekend.
Andrade piloted Reus De La Nutria to a 35.983-second finish, just three-tenths of a second behind Fenney for the third place prize.
Fourth in the ribbons was Isabelle LaPierre of Canada and her own Cesha M. LaPierre and Cesha M have been consistent contenders in the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Ocala this season, including a win in the Week IV $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. Their clean time of 37.073 earned them their spot in the top five when the class was finished.
Rounding out the top five was Lillie Keenan riding Be Gentle, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC. They powered through the course but an unfortunate rail would give them four faults as they crossed the finish. Their quick time of 35.365, however, would settle them with the fifth place prize.