Category Archives: HITS

Horseshows In The Sun

Manuel Torres Conquers the $30,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Manuel Torres and Christofolini H.

Culpeper, VA (August 23, 2016): Riders and horses descended on the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Commonwealth Park for the main event of the Winston National, the $30,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix.

Only one horse and rider could go home with the win, but in this case, one deserving equestrian took home both the first and second prize. There was no slowing down Manuel Torres during the fourth week of competition at HITS Culpeper. Riding out of Waterford, Virginia, Torres garnered the blue and red ribbon in Sunday’s $30,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix after also snagging the victory in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix.

Sunday’s first-place payday came aboard Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro, and second came with Cruising Altitude, owned by Santa Catalina Farm.

Faults were spread evenly throughout the first-round course, with two trips earning one time fault each. Three went clear to advance to the second round jump-off course set by Oscar Soberon of Mexico.

Torres had two to contest the shortened course, entering first with winning mount Christofolini H. They powered through the course, laying down a 45.530 roundtrip that would hold up the victory with a colossal five-second lead.

Debbie McCarthy-Connor of Patterson, New York followed with Zim, owned by Connor and Ebetino Jumpers, LLC. McCarthy-Connor and Zim took home third place in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix and were hunting for the lead over Torres. They clocked in at 53.918 to ultimately secure the yellow ribbon for the weekend once again.

The blue ribbon was already set for Torres, but the winning horse had yet to be determined. He put in a solid, careful round with second-place horse Cruising Altitude, stopping the clock in at 50.557 for the second place prize.

Both fourth and fifth place went back-to-back in the first round, and left all of the rails up to only suffer one penalty on the clock. Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia brought home fourth place piloting Air Force One. Godek moved up the ranks from a twelfth-place ride on Friday, to yield a spot in the top five on Sunday to close out the week.

Rounding out the top five was Alexa Lowe-Wiseman of Upperville Virginia, and Synapse de Blondel, owned by Paillot Equine Consulting, LLC. The equestrian and her mount earned seventh place in Friday’s Grand Prix and also moved up the placings to secure fifth on Sunday.

Elite show jumping competition continues at HITS Culpeper this week with the Constitution Classic, August 24-28, featuring the USHJA Child & Adult Amateur Jumper Championship, the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix and Sunday’s $30,000 HITS Grand Prix.

Cindy McGrath Takes Home the Blue in the $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic

Riders gathered to compete for the top prize in the $10,000 Jr/A-O Jumper High Classic during the fourth week of competition, the Winston National, at HITS Culpeper.

Several put their best foot forward in hopes of bringing home the blue, but the team to beat was Cindy McGrath of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania and Caruso, owned by Wynnwood Farm. McGrath would also garner the final spot in the top five with Quinaro, owned by Mapledale Associates.

Five advanced to the jump-off with two going clear over in contingency for the win. First to re-enter the ring to challenge the shortened course was Sandra Zimmerli of Fairfax Station, Virginia and Calido’s Treasure, owned by Zimmerli Show Jumping, LLC. They clocked in at 44.410, but an unfortunate rail at the third fence of the course would ultimately earn them fourth place.

Next to contend was Toano, Virginia equestrian Malachi Hinton piloting F15. They followed Zimmerli’s round with a valiant effort, leaving all of the rails up, but the unforgiving clock earned them one time fault as they crossed the finish. They would make it out with the third place spot when the class was done.

(C) ESI Photography. Cindy McGrath and Caruso
(C) ESI Photography. Cindy McGrath and Caruso

McGrath and Quinaro followed suit. They galloped through the course, conquering the first two fences, but a rail at the third fence on course, as well as the penultimate fence, earned them eight faults as they passed the timers in 43.340.

Only two remained in the jump-off before the final placings would be set, and the battle would be won by only mere fractions of a second.

Myrto Iliadis of Brooklyn, New York entered next with her own Voila HE. They took each fence by storm, stopping the clock in a cool, clear 43.850 to take the temporary lead.

McGrath entered with her second mount of the jump-off, Caruso, with the final chance at stealing the top spot on the leaderboard. Saving the best for last, McGrath and her mount flew through the course, turning and burning at every chance they had to shave precious time of the clock. They crossed the finish in 43.500, less than three-tenths of a second quicker than Iliadis for the win.

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Manuel Torres and Christofolini H Take the Blue in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix

(C) ESI Photography. Manuel Torres and Christofolini H.

Culpeper, VA (August 20, 2016): Horses and riders turned out for the fourth week of competition at HITS Culpeper this season for a shot at victory in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix.

Manuel Torres, riding out of Waterford, Virginia, claimed the blue ribbon aboard Christofilini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro. Torres has consistently been in the top five in the Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper this season, most recently claiming third in the Week III $30,000 HITS Grand Prix and fifth in that week’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix.

Three advanced over the first round course set by Oscar Soberon of Mexico City to contest the jump-off, and all challengers would go clear over the shortened course in a race against the clock. First to return to the ring for the jump-off was Glenmoore, Pennsylvania equestrian Callan Solem aboard VDL Wizard, owned by Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC.

Solem and her fiery, chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding took to the course no holds barred to lay down a cool, clear trip in 36.223, setting the tone for her competitors.

Following Solem was Debbie McCarthy Connor of Patterson, New York and Zim, owned by Connor and Ebetino Jumpers. Connor and Zim placed fourth in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix during the first week at HITS Culpeper back in April.

Connor and Zim stopped the clock with all of the rails up, but their time of 41.395 would not be quick enough to edge out Solem or compete with Torres’ round. They ultimately took home the third place prize for their efforts.

The final trip to return to the ring for the jump-off was Torres aboard Christofilini H. They powered through the course and laid down a lightning-fast trip. They clocked in with another fault-free trip in 35.368, pushing Solem’s round to second place and grabbing the blue-ribbon victory.

Although she would settle for second, Solem also took home fourth and fifth place, with the fastest of the four-fault rounds. She finished fourth with VDL Torlando, owned by the Torlando Group, and fifth with Davidson, owned by Five Star Partners.

Show jumping continues at HITS Commonwealth Park this Sunday with the $30,000 Purina Grand Prix. HITS will also offer an additional back-to-back week of top-notch competition and prize money August 24-28 featuring two Grand Prix.

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Hunters Close the Curtain on Week III HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Harold Chopping and Most of All.

Culpeper, VA (June 19, 2016): Hunter exhibitors brought their A-Game to the final weekend of shows at HITS Culpeper until they return in August. The $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix served as Virginia’s third qualifying opportunities for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix and the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September.

$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina has been dominating the Grand Prix ring all season at HITS Commonwealth Park as well as top placings in the Hunter ring. This week, Chopping garnered first and second place in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix aboard Most of All, owned by Four Tall Oaks, Inc. and Caramo, owned by Caroline Russell Howe.

Chopping and Most of All went home with third place in last week’s class, and returned this week to earn scores of 86 and 86 for a winning total of 178.

“Most of All is a mare that we had in training just before we went to Florida,” said Chopping. “We’ve been very happy with her performance – she’s gone beautifully in the Classic the last few weeks.”

Chopping’s red-ribbon mount, Caramo, who placed eighth last week, rose up the ranking for second place this week with scores of 84 and 85 for a total of 169.

“Caramo has won several Devoucoux Hunter Prix as well as International Hunter Derbies in his career, he went out there and did his thing, and I was pleased with his scores,” said Chopping of his second place mount. “If I’m in the Top 20 qualified, I’m hoping to take both Most of All and Caramo to the finals at the HITS Championship in September.”

Third place went to Dreamliner, owned and ridden by Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia. They came in just two points behind Chopping with a first-round score of 85 and a second-round score of 82, for a total of 167.

Next in the ribbons was Opulent, ridden by Gavin Moylan and co-owned by Moylan’s wife, Alden. The Middleburg, Virginia equestrian and his mount captured the victory in Week II’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. This week, they earned a 75 in the first round, but laid down an impressive second round trip for a score of 84 and at total of 159 to move into fourth place.

The top five rounded out with Tess Lee of Potomac, Maryland and Tinka’s Lad, with scores of 83 and 75.5 for a total of 158.5.

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Junior and amateur hunter riders lined up for a shot at the winning title in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, but the team to beat proved to be Victoria Clarke and Corleone, owned by Bethany Garrison.

(C) ESI Photography. Victoria Clarke and Corleone
(C) ESI Photography. Victoria Clarke and Corleone

Clarke, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, sealed the victory with a first-round score of 84 combined with a second-round score of 83, for the winning total of 167.

Second in the ribbons went to Kate Phillips of Montpelier, Virginia aboard Chino, owned by Derek Reed. Their scores of 75 in the first round and 68 in the second gave them a total of 143 for their efforts.

Sgt. Pepper took home third place with owner and rider Connie McRill of Woodbine, Maryland. McRill and her mount brought home second place in last week’s class. This week, they earned scores of 78 and 63, respectively, for a total of 141.

Coming in behind McRill was Katelyn Dugan of Baltimore, Maryland and Sir Winston. The final pair in the top five was Devan Graham, also of Chevy Chase, Maryland, piloting Dear Heart, owned by Andrea Woodner.

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Maryann Charles Garners the Blue in the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Maryann Charles and FVF Sailor Man.

Culpeper, VA (July 19, 2016): As the third week of competition at HITS Culpeper came to an end, riders descended on the Grand Prix ring at HITS Commonwealth Park to vie for a victory in the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix.

Maryann Charles of Southern Pines, North Carolina and FVF Sailor Man, owned by Fox View Farm, have been knocking on the door all season at HITS Culpeper. They have brought home two third place ribbons in the Week II and Week III $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix combined, as well as third in last Sunday’s $30,000 HITS Grand Prix. This Sunday, that knock blew the door down as they captured the coveted blue ribbon and the biggest slice of the prize purse.

Eight advanced to challenge the jump-off over the course set by Bernardo Cabral of Lisbon, Portugal with five producing clear jump-off rounds in a race to the top of the leaderboard.

First to challenge the shortened course was Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina and Contefino 6, owned by Caroline Russell Howe and Lisa Tolnitch. Chopping has consistently been in the top placings at HITS Culpeper since Week I in April, in addition to winning Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix with another mount. They laid down a speedy, clear trip to set the tone for the class in 38.999. The round would eventually earn them fourth place.

Following Chopping was Manuel Torres riding out of Waterford, Virginia and Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro. Torres rode the powerhouse bay gelding through the timers in 38.846, just fractions of a second quicker than Chopping to move up in the rankings. They would ultimately earn the third place prize.

Another clear jump-off round appeared for the crowd with Kevin McCarthy and Analyze This, owned by Kimberly Jakubowski. The North Salem, New York equestrian conquered each fence, and clocked in fault-free in 43.474 – which would eventually give him and his mount the final spot in the top five for their efforts.

Hometown rider Brook Kemper of Culpeper, Virginia entered the ring next aboard Classified. Kemper and classified have been moving up the placings this season at HITS Culpeper, with a sixth place finish in Week I’s $30,000 HITS Grand Prix, and fourth place finish in Week III’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix. They put down a dynamite round in 37.719, shaving a full second off of the leading time. The round would come close to the victory for the eventual second place prize.

Thaisa Erwin followed Kemper with Matilda. A heart-breaking rail at the last fence would keep them out of the top five, but would earn them seventh in the ribbons.

The victors, Maryann Charles and FVF Sailor Man were next to contend. They took to the shortened course with speed and precision, clocking in fault-free with a lightning-fast round in 36.736 for the win.

Two more contenders were left in the order after Charles’ leading round. Mary Lisa Leffler and Carlot, owned by Rolling Acres, put down a valiant effort, but a refusal at the second fence would ultimately earn them eighth place in 53.583.

Harold Chopping and Basje, winners of Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix, were the final pair to test the jump-off. The crowd cheered as they went in no-holds-barred across the course. They flew towards the timers with a win on the horizon, but a heart-breaking rail at the last fence would keep them from the victory. They clocked in at 34.280 with four faults for sixth.

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Hunters Bring Their A-Game after Returning to HITS Culpeper Summer Series

(C) ESI Photography. Gavin Moylan and Opulent.

Culpeper, VA (July 11, 2016): Competition continued at HITS Commonwealth Park during the Showday National, the first of the two-week July series at HITS Culpeper with the second qualifying opportunities for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix and $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix  to be held at the HITS Championship in September.  The $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix took the stage in the Main Hunter Ring on Saturday afternoon.

$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

Riders and horses pulled out all the stops for a chance at the winning title, but it was Gavin Moylan of Middleburg, Virginia who stole the show in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix aboard Opulent, co-owned with Moylan’s wife, Alden.

“We just purchased Opulent with our last group of sale horses imported from Europe, and this was his very first week of showing in the United States — he really exceeded my expectations; it was wonderful,” said Moylan joyfully. “Our plan for him is to continue what we’re doing and possibly show in the same classes this upcoming week.”

Moylan and Opulent snagged the highest score in both rounds of the two-round classic with a consistent 87, totaling 174 for the blue ribbon.

Following in the ribbons for second place was Southern Pines, North Carolina equestrian Harold Chopping and Cambridge Inn, owned by Elizabeth Cozart. Having won the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix during the Commonwealth National at Culpeper in April, Chopping and Cambridge Inn were hunting for another title. They scored consistently in both rounds with a pair of 86s, totaling 172 just behind Moylan.

Chopping also took home third place piloting Most of All, owned by Four Tall Oaks, Inc. They earned a first-round score of 86.5, combined with a second-round score of 85 for a total of 171.5, just a half-point behind his own score.

Louisa, Virginia equestrian Jill Wilson and Odds Are, owned by Twin Oaks Farm, LLC, came in fourth place with scores of 84 and 83, respectively, for a total of 167.

The top five rounded out with Nina Butler, of Mechanicsville, Virginia, and MTM Bazinga. They earned a first-round score of 82 and a second-round score of 74 for a total of 156 for their efforts.

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix

Junior and Amateur riders turned out to compete in the second qualifying opportunity to show in the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September.

(C) ESI Photography. Kathryn Luke and Brazos
(C) ESI Photography. Kathryn Luke and Brazos

The rider to rise above was Kathryn Luke, of Arlington, Virginia, and Brazos. The equestrian and her bay Hanoverian gelding earned a first-round score of 84, combined with an 83 in the second round for a winning total of 167.

Sgt. Pepper captured the second place spot with owner and rider Connie McRill of Woodbine, Maryland. They earned scores of 83 and 82, respectively, to earn a total of 165 for their efforts.

Third in the ribbons was Shannan Gossman, of Mitchells, Virginia, and Castanio, owned by Turning Pointe Ventures, LLC. Gossman and Castanio secured a win in this class during Culpeper Week I in April. They earned a 77 in the first round, improving to an 86 in the second for a total of 163.

Leesburg, Virginia equestrian Makayla Benjamin took home the fourth place prize with Dorado, owned by Sweet Briar College. They earned a first-round score of 85, a second-round score of 70 and a total of 155 for their efforts.

The top five concluded with Valentina and owner and rider Amelia Lucas of Columbia, Maryland. They earned a 75 in the first round, improving to a 76 in the second round for a total of 151.

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Leslie Burr Howard Claims the Win in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix

(C) ESI Photography. Leslie Burr Howard and Up and Blue Chapelle.

Saugerties, NY (May 30, 2016): The grand finale of an exciting first week at HITS-on-the-Hudson commenced with the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix.

A talented field of exhibitors tested the course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil, but only two would advance to the jump-off to compete for the blue. The victor would prove to be Leslie Burr Howard of Darien, Connecticut and Up and Blue Chappelle, owned by Peter and Gabriel Guerra Howard.

“The course designer, Marina, has been doing a great job this week,” said Howard. “This course was laid out thoughtfully; today wasn’t too big but it was tricky enough, especially for this amount of prize money, which is great to jump for. All the classes have been super – it’s not too big, not too little, and it’s planned well in where the jumps were placed.”

Sarah Segal of Flemington, New Jersey was first to challenge the first round of jumping efforts with Ubris, owned by Chartwell. A rail at the vertical immediately following the mid-course triple combination kept them out of the jump-off, but as the fastest pair with four faults in 77.209, they ultimately landed in third place.

Three trips passed before Wellington, Florida equestrian Jimmy Torano piloted Daydream, co-owned with Danielle Torano, to the first fault-free trip of the first-round, proving the course could be conquered.

Following Torano’s first round, several valiant rides took their chance at the course, including fourth place Matthew Williams of Fort Lauderdale, Florida aboard Cuchica, owned by Wyndmont, Inc. Williams clocked in with four faults in 78.840.

Christine McCrea of East Windsor, Connecticut also made the top five piloting Wannick WH, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, Inc. They passed the timers with four faults in 79.025 just behind Williams for the fifth place prize.

It looked as though Torano had it in the bag with a clear round, until Howard took her turn at the course. The crowd cheered with excitement when they clocked in clear, providing the class with a jump-off.

It was down to Torano and Howard, both seasoned competitors with a plethora of grand prix wins and titles under their belts. Howard, an Olympic Gold and Silver medalist, and Torano, with two prestigious rides in the 1999 and 2000 FEI World Cup Final, would battle it out for the win.

Torano returned first, navigating the course efficiently as he and Daydream crossed the timers in 41.43.

Howard followed suit, knowing she and her mount needed to be clear and just a hair faster to take home the $22,500 winner’s share.

“My plan at first was just to watch Jimmy and if he was super-fast, I was not going to jump-off and just settle for second because she is young,” said Howard of her plan with Up and Blue Chapelle. “He was careful but not too quick – she was great.”

It was certainly a rewarding choice. Howard and her mount blazed through the timers fault-free in 39.884 to capture the win.

“She is a super mare,” said Howard after her victory. “She is very powerful and is settling into her prime. This was a great win.”

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Harold Chopping Goes 1-2 in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix

(C) ESI Photography. Harold Chopping and Basje.

Culpeper, VA (April 25, 2016): Harold Chopping, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, made a statement to kick off the HITS Culpeper Summer Series, finishing first and second in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix held on Friday.

Chopping claimed the blue with Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington, and finished a close second with Contefino 6, owned by Caroline Russell Howe.

Five returned for the jump-off in a battle against the clock, with Chopping returning both first and last in the order. Chopping returned first aboard the eight-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding, Contefino 6.

“Contefino has been doing the 1.40m and 1.45m, and this is his first top three placing in a class of this caliber,” said Chopping. “My plan with him in the jump-off was to stay on the most efficient track within his abilities. I didn’t want to push too much; I just wanted to be efficient with him.”

They took to the shortened course of eight jumping efforts designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil, clocking in with a fault-free round in 42.926 seconds. With a speedy round that set the tone for the jump-off, the remaining field of competitors knew that Chopping was the one to chase.

Next to contest the shortened course was Ali Ramsay of Victoria, British Columbia, piloting her own Hermelien VD Hooghoeve. They put down a clear, quick round in a valiant effort to steal the lead from Chopping, but their time of 43.086, just fractions behind, would ultimately earn them the third place spot.

Ocala, Florida equestrian Ian Silitch followed Ramsay with Cordovo, owned by Gaston Family Investments LLC. Silitch and Cordovo zoomed through the course at a full-out gallop, but an unfortunate rail at the second fence, followed by a rail at A of the mid-course combination would ultimately land them with the fifth place prize as they finished in 42.107.

Each trip had yet to edge out Chopping for the top spot. Debbie McCarthy Connor and Zim, owned by Connor & Ebetino Jumpers, LLC, entered with the last opportunity to steal away with the win. Opting for a more careful track, they clocked in fault-free in 49.768.

Chopping’s name was set at the top of the leaderboard as he entered with his second mount, Basje. The seasoned Dutch Warmblood gelding powered through the course, claiming the blue ribbon with each step of his massive stride. They put down a cool, clear round, coming in at 42.159 just behind his own time.

“I was not necessarily trying to catch up to my first time; Basje is quite experienced and he covers the ground quickly with his long stride, so it just happens to be that he came in little faster,” said Chopping of his winning mount. “He moves away from the jumps nicely; I just stay out of his way and let him do his thing.”

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2015 at HITS Ocala Garnered 620,000 Int’l TV Viewers

(C) ESI Photography. Georgina Bloomberg aboard Juvina.

Saugerties, NY (April 19, 2016): In 2015, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit hosted the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2015 event for the first time in the heart of horse country at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida.

The debut of the internationally acclaimed team event, a qualifier for the FEI Nations Cup™ Finals in Europe, drew an impressive amount of attention, shining a spotlight on the sport of show jumping in the western hemisphere, and fulfilling an integral part of HITS, Inc.’s mission of expanding and improving the sport in North America.

The event in Ocala hosted the only 2015 FEI Nations Cup™ qualifier in the North and Central America and Caribbean division, comprised of Canada, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States. The event paved the way for other North and Central American countries in the division to host FEI Nations Cup™ events on their soil, like the qualifier in Valle de Bravo, Mexico this year.

According to the official Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2015 season report, created by Repucom and commissioned by the FEI, not only did the 2015 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ in Ocala capture top honors in the audience department in its own division, but of all the 2015 qualifiers hosted in FEI’s Europe Division 2, which included qualifiers held in Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Poland and Hungary, FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala achieved the second highest cumulative audience of these events: 620,000 TV viewers from across the globe.

FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala was internationally highlighted on 14 TV channels, in Australia, France, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pan Europe, Portugal, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Additional coverage of the FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala included 53 hours of broadcast time on 56 different programs.

2015 hosted 16 FEI Nations Cup™ qualifiers across the globe: five in the FEI Europe Division 2, 10 in FEI Europe Division 1 and one in the North American and Caribbean Division: Ocala, Florida. Qualifiers in FEI Europe Division 2 included Lummen, Belgium; Linz-Ebelsberg, Austria; Lisbon, Portugal; Sopot, Poland; and Budapest, Hungary. FEI Europe Division 1 qualifiers in 2015 included Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; La Baule, France; Rome, Italy; St. Gallen, Switzerland; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Falsterbo, Sweden; Bratislava, Slovakia; Hickstead, Belgium; Dublin, Ireland; and Gijon, Spain.

According to the FEI’s 2015 report, the United States produced a cumulative audience of 3.87 million, which is the total amount of people that witnessed coverage from the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, all qualifiers included, on U.S. specific channels. Out of the 16 FEI Nations Cup™ qualifiers held in 2015 across the world, over half a million viewers in the United States came from the qualifier in Ocala.

The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2015 returned to HITS Ocala in February 2016 for the second time, filling the grandstand and grass berm in Ocala Horse Properties Stadium to capacity with an additional international live stream on FEI TV. The 2016 data is not yet calculated, but with a healthy figure in 2015, the future is looking bright for HITS, Inc. and the spread of these globally high-caliber events across North America.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Hunters Go Big in the Final Week of the Ocala Winter Circuit

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Aaron Vale and Dress Balou.

Ocala, FL (March 29, 2016): Riders vied for the top spot and a slice of the prize purse in the 2016 Ocala Winter Circuit’s last qualifying opportunities for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix and the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Finals at the HITS Championship in September in Saugerties, New York.

Aaron Vale and Dress Balou score another big win in the $25,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

Devoucoux has sponsored a Hunter Prix nearly every week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit and Week X’s Devoucoux Hunter Prix featured a $25,000 prize purse held in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida scored a trifecta by collecting first, second and third place finishes, adding to his already impressive resume. He earned the win on Don Stewart’s Dress Balou, a two time winner of the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final at HITS Saugerties, for which the Devoucoux Hunter Prix are qualifiers.

Thirty-nine competitors had the opportunity to compete over the first round course of twelve fences designed by Tim Hott from Cumming, Iowa.

“The course was a traditional hunter course in a big ring, where the jumps were spread out with some long bending lines, and just a few lines with related distances,” said Vale in regard to the course. “There was a lot of additional greenery, which was nice to impress the horses a bit this late in the circuit.”

The top twelve riders returned for a second round with scores ranging from 80.5 to 89 from their first rounds carrying over to their second.

Vale and Dress Balou, owned by Don Stewart, had the high score of 89 from the first round and returned as the final competitor in the second round. They improved upon their first round, scoring a 92 for a total of 181 for the win.

“Dress Balou is seven this year, and he has shown a few times this season,” said Vale of his winning horse. “He won the [$10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix in Week IV] and I don’t think we’ve shown him since then. He really suits these big arenas where he can just pick up a rhythm and he jumps really well.”

Vale also had the second highest score in round one aboard Madewell, owned by the Aberdeen Ventures. His score of 87 in the first round and 89 in the second round, combined for a total of 176 to take second place.

“My assistant showed Madewell last year in the pre-greens, and I took over the ride this season and have been doing him in the Hunter Prix,” said Vale.  “He has had a couple weeks where he was really good in the first round then had an unlucky rail or something in the second, so this is a really impressive ribbon to be just behind Dress Balou, the two time Finals winner.”

Vale garnered the third place prize with Spalding, owned by Don Stewart and Brooke Ventos.

“I’ve never sat on him before this class, Don just threw me up on him,” said Vale of Spalding. In a testament to Vale’s skill, his first round score with his new mount of 84.5 combined with a second round score of 86 gave him a total of 170.5 to take third place.

Harold Chopping from Southern Pines, North Carolina, riding Caramo, owned by Caroline Russell Howe, scored an 86 in round one, but Caramo uncharacteristically spooked in round 2 and his score of 81.5 dropped him to sixth place overall with a total score of 167.5.

Cassandre Kahle of Langley, British Columbia, riding Diario for Redfield Farm, improved upon her first round score of 82.5 with an 87 in the second round to move into fourth place overall with a 169.5.

Skyler Fields and Echo win the $5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix

Skyler Fields of Wellesly, Massachusetts put in two consistent rounds with her horse Echo to win the $5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix over courses designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico. Twelve returned for the second round with scores ranging from 75 to 88, but the second round proved to be the deciding factor as placings shuffled based on second round scores.

(C) ESI Photography. Skyler Fields and Echo
(C) ESI Photography. Skyler Fields and Echo

Fields returned for the second round in the temporary fourth position with an 84.5, but her consistency in the second round earned her an 85.5 for an overall total of 170 for the win. Fields also qualified her second horse, earning seventh place with Cornet’s Finale with a two round total of 158.

“I left out a stride with my other horse in the second round so I wanted to be sure I didn’t do that with Echo. We are trying to qualify for the Finals in Saugerties and have been placing in the top three consistently, but today was the last week and I really wanted to win.”

Raegan Landrum from Winter Park, Florida, riding Contano, returned in fifth position with an 84, improving to an 85 in the second round to earn second place with an overall total of 169, just a point behind Fields.

Allison Joyce from Medway, Massachusetts, riding Chestnut Hill, owned by Marissa Dolan, came back in third place with an 85 and scored an 83 for in the second round to stay third overall with a 168 total score.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Ocala Week IX Sunday Jumper Round-Up

(C) ESI Photography. Brian Moggre and MTM Flutterby on their way to a $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O Jumper Classic win.

Ocala, FL (March 24, 2016): The countdown to the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Post Time Farm on March 27 is on, but there was plenty excitement, not to mention big money opportunities in store for jumper exhibitors during Week IX of the Ocala Winter Circuit.

$100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix

The crowds turned out to see a field of 43 exhibitors compete for $100,000 in prize money sponsored by Sullivan GMC Trucks at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala on Sunday. In the final Sunday Grand Prix before this weekend’s Great American Million, everyone brought their A-game as many riders had multiple rides to try to claim the victory.

HITS Ocala’s “hometown hero” Aaron Vale had four rides, Amanda Flint had two, and Hayley Waters had two. Kevin Babington, Michael Hughes and Kristen Van Der Veen also came to battle for the blue.

Mathew Williams from Wellington, Florida, riding Valinski S, owned by Michael Dorman and Wyndmont, Inc., scored their first Grand Prix victory together with a double clear round in 43.744.

“He’s been in the top five in his last eight Grand Prix; [Valinski S] jumps so well and tries so hard. He was third in the World Cup in Vegas and has had top ribbons, and he’s very consistent,” said Williams. “We are planning on competing in the Great American Million next week.

Williams was one of seven riders to jump clean first rounds over a 1.55 meter course of 16 efforts designed by Marina Azevedo of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Williams continued, “I love jumping Marina’s courses. It was tough enough and technical enough, with just the right amount of clears. It was just the right course for this amount of prize money.”

The jump-off course started with a line down the outside, which could be done in six or seven strides. It included two rollback turns and continued to a combination with a gallop to the last vertical in seven or eight strides.

First to return for the jump-off was Kristen Van Der Veen of St. Charles, Illinois on Bull Run’s Holy Smokes. They had two unfortunate rails, finishing in a time of 41.194 with eight faults to finish sixth.

Next to go was Aaron Vale from Williston, Florida riding Bonzini S, owned by Thinkslikeahorse. Generally considered tough to beat in the jump-off, he took to the course with speed and power, but a rail at 12A of the combination, and a heart-breaker at the last fence earned them eight faults as they clocked in at 40.099.  Faster than Van Der Veen, they eventually earned the fifth place prize.

Juan Manuel Gallego of Morriston, Florida, followed Vale riding his Goulash van De Broy Z. They jumped clear in a time of 44.922 to take the lead and set the Great American Time to Beat.

Brandy Holloway, another consistent performer this circuit with multiple ribbons to her credit, jumped next with Lucky Strike. The Topeka, Kansas native had a rail at 12A, and with a time of 42.059 she eventually finished fourth.

Bryn Sadler of Sante Fe, New Mexico and her veteran Bon Giorno followed with a clear round. They did seven strides up the first line and rode carefully to the finish fault-free in 46.401, putting them in temporary second.

Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania showed next on Mark Q. They went for the win, but after a rail mid-course, they would not recover, with two additional rails to finish seventh of 40.907.

Last but certainly not least to contest the shortened course was Williams and Valinski S. “This is the first time I haven’t gone first in the jump-off, so I actually had a plan. I planned the six up the first line and everything came up just the way I wanted it to,” said Williams. They crossed the timers clear in 43.744 to take over first place.

“I did one more across the middle, but I knew if I left the jumps up I would still be in front because I turned so tight to the last line. I’m so lucky to have a horse like that and to have two people that trust me and help me on the ground, Michael Dorman and Ronnie Beard.”

$7,500 U-Dump High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic

Brian Moggre aboard MTM Flutterby rode to a win in the $7,500 U Dump Junior/ Amateur-Owner Jumper 1.45m Classic for the third time this season at HITS Ocala. At only fourteen years of age, Moggre rides like a highly seasoned competitor, and paired with MTM Flutterby, he is a formidable opponent.

Sunday’s competitors tackled Marina Azevedo’s 16-effort course set at 1.45 meters. First to go in the jump-off was Olivia Dorey from Sudbury, Massachusetts riding Barsa. The shortened course consisted of two rollback turns, one to a Liverpool and one to a double combination. The course finished with a final oxer at either 7 or 8 strides out. Dorey had rails at both fences in the combination for a score of eight faults in a quick time of 40.183

Next up was Acanto 7 with Kate Mulligan from Frenchtown, New Jersey. The big bay had a rail down at fence three, then unexpectedly stopped at the final fence, unseating Mulligan, and putting them in third place.

Moggre from Flower Mound, Texas was the final rider to test the jump-off. “Obviously I wanted to go double clean but if I did have two rails I still wanted to be fast, so I cut inside to fence three so I could be quick and efficient,” he said. They flew past the timers in 40.218 for the win.

“My plan was to do seven in the final line, like the first rider, but I added the step because [MTM Flutterby] is more comfortable with it and she was more likely to jump it clean.”

Moggre plans to up the ante in the final week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit with Week X’s $25,000 Marshall and Sterling/Team Barber Child-Adult Jumper Classic.

“Next week I will do both of my horses in the $25,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner 1.45m Classic, and hopefully that will go just as well as today,” said Moggre.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com