Category Archives: Hunter/Equitation

Tracy Fenney and MTM Caepten Dash for the Cash in $25k Ocala/Marion County VCB Grand Prix

Tracy Fenney and MTM Caepten. Photo by: ESI Photography.

Ocala, Fla. – Dec. 4, 2022 – Sunday marked the conclusion of the first week of the HITS Holiday Series, with Tracy Fenney capturing her second big victory of the week with MTM Caepten. After winning Friday’s $10,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, the pair was revved up and ready to go. They bested the seven-horse jump-off during the $25,000 Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau Grand Prix by over a full second to take home the lion’s share of the prize money.

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Morgan Ward and Party Time Celebrate $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix

The HITS Ocala Holiday Series is in full swing at HITS Post Time Farm, with hunters highlighting the action on Saturday during the $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix. Morgan Ward was ready to celebrate after leading the two-round event from start to finish aboard Party Time. Saturday marked Party Time’s hunter prix debut with Ward, and with the new year underway for USEF, she was thrilled to kick off the season with a victory.

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For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Kat Fuqua Rounds Out 2022 with National Honors in Hunters, Jumpers, and Dressage

Fuqua jumping Nate Archibald to a 3rd place finish in the Zone 4 HOTY Medium Jr./Amateur Jumpers (Photo by Sportfot)

Atlanta, GA (December 3, 2022) – It’s rare for an equestrian to be versatile and multi-talented enough to compete in multiple disciplines; even more rare is the skill to place at the top of the sport in multiple disciplines in the same year. But Atlanta, Georgia’s Kat Fuqua has achieved just that in 2022, finishing off her busy show season with multiple accolades at the 72nd Annual South Florida Hunter Jumper Association Charity Show, and adding to an impressive resume of multi-discipline wins. Her 2022 successes include a Reserve Champion finish in the FEI Prix St. Georges at the US Dressage Finals, multiple Grand Champion Junior Hunter wins, a top 3 finish in the Zone 4 Horse of the Year (HOTY) Medium Junior/Amateur Jumpers, and even a Reserve Champion finish at the 2022 Kentucky Maclay Regional Championships. Fifteen-year-old Fuqua was also named a USEF Dressage Emerging Athlete for 2022, was the first young rider to compete in both Jumping and Dressage at the 2021 North American Young Rider Championships (NAYC), and for 2023 aims to make the USEF European Young Rider team in dressage.

With the classical dressage as her foundation, and under the tutelage of Olympic Bronze Medalist Michelle Gibson, Fuqua stepped onto the dressage scene officially in 2021. In 2022, she and Dream Girl, a 14-year-old KWPN mare, rocketed up through the stratosphere to take Reserve Champion at the US Dressage Finals, just a few percentage points off the win in the FEI Prix St. Georges Open division. The mare was also awarded the Lloyd Landkamer Perpetual Trophy, honoring the highest scoring FEI mare. Prior to the US Dressage Finals, Fuqua was named a 2022 USEF Dressage Emerging Athlete, and was ranked 4th in the country for USDF Horse of the Year FEI Intermediaire I Open.

As her inaugural competitive discipline, Fuqua’s 2022 resume in the Hunters is no less stellar. With the elegant bay gelding Grand Remo, Fuqua won Junior Hunter Grand Champion at Devon, Grand Champion at the USEF Jr. Hunter Finals in 2021, Reserve Champion Junior Hunter Youngers at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Reserve Champion Junior Hunter at the Washington International Horse Show, and was chosen as the cover of this summer’s Chronicle of the Horse June issue. Just this past week, they were also the 2022 Best Junior Hunter Champion at the 72nd Annual SFHJA Charity Horse Show. Together with Grand Remo and her other hunter partners, Fuqua has amassed 8 USEF Horse of the Year titles, 2 Grand Champion titles at the National Horse Show, Grand Champion at Harrisburg, 10 WEF Circuit Championships, Grand Champion at Pony Finals, and to date is the highest earning Pony Derby Rider.

With the Junior Hunters in a sweep and Dressage a new-found success, the jumpers were the next target for Fuqua to set her sights on. She began trying her hand in the discipline less than 2 years ago, and in 2022 finished 3rd in the Zone 4 Horse of the Year Medium Jr./Amateur Jumpers with her own Nate Archibald. In 2021 she made history as the first rider to compete in both the Jumpers and Dressage at the North American Young Rider Championships, and was 10th in the National Devon Championship for High Junior Jumpers with her jumper Gargarin. This indoor season she competed in the High and Medium Junior Jumpers at the Washington International Horse Show, finishing 8th in the $5,000 High Jr./AO 1.40m Jumpers with Nate Archibald.

As icing on her triple threat cake, Fuqua also has been a up-and-coming competitor in the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals. In 2022 she finished as Reserve Champion at the Kentucky Maclay Regional Championships and was in the Top 25 at the 2021 USEF Dover Seat Medal Finals in 2021.

Just this past week, Fuqua rounded out her 2022 competition schedule at the 72nd Annual SFHJA Charity Horse Show, claiming multiple accolades with her horses. She won the USET Talent Search with Class Act, owned by Emily Smith, and also took the overall win with Smith’s Quite Cassini in the Washington International Horse Show Equitation. Grand Remo remained worthy of his name with Champion in the Junior Hunters Under 15, Champion in the Jr./AA Classic Hunters, Champion Zone 4 Jr. Hunter, and earned Fuqua the title of Best Jr. Hunter Rider.

“Riding horses is what I truly love, whether it’s in a major competition or just enjoying their company at the farm,” said Fuqua. “This fall I began working with Emily & Ken of Ashland Farms, and love their calm but effective training. My goals are to continue to level up in the Jumper ring and get the Equitation down! My heart for the Hunters will never change, remembering back to big pony trainer and judge Mindy Darst who brought me to my first WEF in 2014 and was one of the founders of the USEF Pony Finals. I’ll never give up being a role model for the new pony kids comping up and my goal is to be a top rider in all of my disciplines.”

Kat Fuqua is becoming a household name in multiple equestrian disciplines, known not only for her versatility as a rider but also for the quality of her rides. She began competing at double AA Hunter/Jumper shows at the age of 6, and at 11 years old won the USEF Pony Finals & Grand Champion. She repeated the honor the following year as a 12-year-old, and added the USEF Marshall & Sterling Pony Medal. Her Junior Grand Hunter Championship wins include the 2022 Devon Jr. Hunter Grand Champion, 2021 USEF Jr. Hunter Finals Grand Champion, 2020 & 2021 National Horse Show Jr. Hunter Grand Champion, and 2021 Pennsylvania National Horse Show Jr. Hunter Grand Champion. In the Equitation, she won 2022 Reserve Champion at the Kentucky Maclay Regional Championships and finished Top 25 at the 2021 USEF Dover Seat Medal Finals.

In 2020 she began actively competing in both dressage and jumping, as well as the hunters. She made history as the first rider to ever compete in both disciplines at the 2021 NAYC, where she received 3 Bronze Medals in dressage and finished 4th overall in the Children’s Jumper Team competition. She earned her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals for USDF Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I in 2021, and was named the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions Junior Champion that year. In 2022 she was named a USEF Dressage Emerging Athlete.

Fuqua is currently a full-time freshman at Holy Innocence Episcopal High School in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. She also is a contributor to Elite Equestrian Magazine, writing her own Kat’s Korner column about her horses and life as an upcoming young equestrian.

“I like to inspire riders but showing how even though being a competitive equestrian is tough and a fail often, I get back up and try again to achieve my goals and dreams,” said Fuqua. “I have a lot of pressure going into 2023, but I spend a lot of time at my home base, Collecting Gaits Farm, personally taking care of my horses when I can to build the bond that I think leads them to work harder for me in the show ring. I feel very lucky that so many people want to help me succeed.”

For more information on Kat Fuqua, visit her website at www.KatFuqua.com.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

Melissa Strawser and Darwin De Mars Master $20,000 HITS Open Prix at Culpeper Finals

Melissa Strawser and Darwin De Mars. Photo by: Alison Hartwell.

Culpeper, Va. – October 2, 2022 – On Sunday, Melissa Strawser celebrated her one-year anniversary with Darwin De Mars in winning style, earning the victory in the $20,000 HITS Open Prix at the Culpeper Finals. Their partnership began at the same competition last year, and together they have become a dominating force – besting Sunday’s three-horse jump-off after also winning Friday’s $10,000 Open Prix to close out the season at HITS Culpeper.

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North Shore Nabs $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Win with Isabella Bertozzi

Hunter competition took center stage on Saturday during the HITS Culpeper Finals at Commonwealth Park. Once again, Isabella Bertozzi claimed the winning title in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, this time aboard her veteran partner North Shore. Although it was Bertozzi’s first Hunt & Go Derby, she stayed smooth under pressure to lead the class from start to finish with her talented mount.

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For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Tom Struzzieri Steps Down as CEO of HITS LLC

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.

For more information, visit HitsShows.com.

Jordan Coyle and Centriko Volo Conquer $100,000 HITS Grand Prix at Saugerties

Jordan Coyle and Centriko Volo. Photo by: ESI Photography.

Saugerties, N.Y. – September 4, 2022 – Returning from his home country of Ireland, Jordan Coyle brought a bit of luck back to the United States with him this week, jumping to victory in the $100,000 HITS Grand Prix during HITS-on-the-Hudson VII with Centriko Volo. Coyle proved that his horses are in top form ahead of the HITS Championship’s $405,300 Grand Prix CSI5*, which will be held Sunday, September 11, by besting the seven-horse jump-off to claim the winning title.

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Hannah Isop and Believe Bring Home $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix

The final event ahead of the $200,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final was held on Saturday during HITS-on-the-Hudson VII ahead of the HITS Championship. Riders gathered at the Outside Course to vie for the win during the $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix, presented by Patti Howard of Compass Real Estate. At the end of the day, it was Hannah Isop and Believe who led the class from start to finish with two impressive scores of 88 to earn the victory.

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For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Evan Coluccio and Christian D’Or Make Dominating Debut in $20k HITS Open Prix in Culpeper

Evan Coluccio and Christian D’Or. Photo by: Alison Hartwell.

Culpeper, Va. – August 21, 2022 – Sometimes, a new partnership comes together right from the start, and on Sunday that proved to be the case for Evan Coluccio with his new mount Christian D’Or. The 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Sea Sporthorses LLC arrived at Coluccio’s farm just 10 days ago, and the $20,000 HITS Open Prix marked their competition debut. They showed their new partnership is a winning one by besting a five-horse jump-off to take home the top prize, kicking off an exciting future together.

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Isabella Bertozzi and Cousteau Best $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Perfect weather greeted riders during the Winston National at HITS Culpeper as they gathered at the Main Hunter Ring to contest the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Junior rider Isabella Bertozzi laid down a flawless handy round aboard Cousteau, jumping up from third place after the first round to capture the winning title and lead the lap of honor during Saturday’s highlight event.

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Daniel Kelly and Galena Gallop to $10,000 HITS Open Welcome Victory

It was a race to the finish in Friday’s $10,000 HITS Open Welcome at HITS Culpeper. Daniel Kelly of Purcellville, Virginia galloped home with the victory aboard Galena as the fastest of three double clears during the day’s highlight event. He was able to edge ahead of Jackson Schurtz and Imago Z by just 1/10th of a second, while Juliana Thorbecke and King’s Treasure Evo placed third with a conservative clear round.

For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

JJ Torano and FPF Favor Crowned Grand Green Pony Hunter Champions at USEF Pony Finals

JJ Torano & FPF Favor.

Lexington, Ky. – August 12, 2022 – Day four of The 2022 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farms, welcomed blue skies, blue ribbons, and even more smiles. The Rolex Arena invited Medium and Large Green Pony Hunters for their final day of competition and the presentation of their respective division champions. At the conclusion of each division, overall scores were tallied, and the Grand Green Pony Hunter Champion was crowned under the Kentucky sunset and accompanied by proud trainers and families.

As the day wrapped up, JJ Torano and FPF Favor not only took the tri-color for the Medium Green Pony Hunters; they also led the way in the victory gallop for the Grand Green Hunter Pony Championship. In the Large Green Pony Hunters, Alexa Elle Lignelli and Higher Love rode away with the championship award, ultimately securing the Grand Green Pony Hunter Reserve Champion tri-color.

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Zone 3 Fist Pumps to Gold in the 2022 Pony Jumper National Championship Team Competition

The sun was shining in The Bluegrass State Friday afternoon as Pony Jumpers took to the Claiborne arena to contest the chance to step on top of the podium in the Pony Jumper Team Competition. At the conclusion of two thrilling days of competition, it was Aundrea Hillyard, Katie Smith, Savannah Smith, and Linen Owens for Zone 3 raising their gold medals high. Joining the Gold Medalists on the podium were Lucy Wendling, Mary Elizabeth Ryan, Ellie Kao, and Reagan Voxman of Zone 10 with the silver. Zone 8’s Ryder Richardson, Haley Honegger, Zahara Henderson, and Isabella Uhrig donned the bronze.

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For more information, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

USEF Pony Finals Makes Thrilling Return to Kentucky Horse Park

Finley Baras and Spring Fling.

Lexington, Ky – August 9, 2022 – Young riders were eager to enter the famed Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park Tuesday morning for the 2022 USEF Pony Finals presented by Honor Hill Farms. The Bluegrass State welcomed bows and braids back for another year of promising young talent to showcase their dedication to the sport through three elements of hunter competition.

Day one of competition kicked off with the Small Green Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle, and Regular Large Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle. At the conclusion of the Regular Large Pony Division, it was Payton Flanders and Best Blonde to top the pack of 153 ponies in the under saddle, while Jole Kosloske and Chic In Time took the blue ribbon in the model. The Small Green Pony Hunters rounded out the competition day with Vivian Golden and Preston besting the field of 43 ponies to win the model, and Finley Baras and Spring Fling winning the under saddle.

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For more information, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Cheers to Horses and Summer – From Where It All Began for the EQUUS Foundation

Ella Kraut aboard Nakia, winner of the $10,000 Fairfield Welcome Jumper Stake @Sarah Latterner Anderson, SEL Photography.

Horse lovers and equestrians showed their support for the EQUUS Foundation and its work to protect America’s horses from peril on Thursday, June 23rd at the Fairfield June Horse Show in Westport, Connecticut for the EQUUS Foundation’s Champagne and Ice Cream Social. Over 160 guests enjoyed complimentary champagne and ice cream sundaes, hosted by Fairfield Equine Associates, while watching the $10,000 Fairfield Welcome Jumper Stake.

“This beautiful horse show, now in its 99th year, is not only in my back yard, literally, but it is where the EQUUS Foundation got its start with a charity luncheon in 2003 to benefit local equine charities,” said EQUUS Foundation Founder and President, Lynn Coakley. “We have grown into a renowned, national equine welfare charity that supports hundreds of equine welfare organizations across the United States that are dedicated to keeping America’s horses safe throughout their lifetimes. We will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary next year.”

It was a perfect, sunny day for a parade and for guests to meet and hear the stories of some of the rescues from EQUUS Foundation Guardian charity, Rising Starr Horse Rescue. The staff and volunteers at Rising Starr turned out in their iconic red shirts to show off Army and Navy, two rescued Miniature horses who have a permanent home at Rising Starr to serve as Rescue and Adoption Ambassadors.

Also featured were Sierra and Panda, who are both seeking loving homes. Sierra is a sound, fancy, 16-year-old, bay, off-track Thoroughbred mare who could excel in many disciplines. Panda is a 12-year-old uniquely marked black and white paint mare rescued from a neglect situation in Louisiana. She is easy going, healthy and stunningly beautiful. Rising Starr Horse Rescue welcomes scheduled visits to meet these adoptable horses and more at their farm in Wilton, Connecticut.

“These horses are here today to represent the thousands of adoptable horses that are available across the country who need new homes and new careers,” said Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP.

“For horses to stay safe, we must give them opportunities to thrive throughout their lives – that’s what the EQUUS Foundation is all about.”

The Rider’s Closet, an EQUUS Foundation program, founded by top international rider and EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar, Georgina Bloomberg, had its iconic donation tack trunk on site to receive donations of gently used and new riding apparel which will be donated to riders in need so that everyone can pursue their equestrian dreams.

The EQUUS Foundation was also thrilled to announce the launch of the EQUUS Foundation charitable partnership with Prixview. Prixview’s Fantasy Games provide an exciting and free on-line opportunity for show jumping fans to follow the competition and project the winning teams.

“We are incredibly excited and proud to be working with the EQUUS Foundation. I personally hope this partnership can connect the fans of our platform and sport with more ways to give back to the animals that make it all possible,” said Lucy Davis, Prixview’s founder.

Players earn cash by picking which horse/rider combination in the matchup will place higher in the class and can also donate all or a portion of their winnings to the EQUUS Foundation. The option to donate was available for the first time for the Fairfield Welcome Jumper Stake on Thursday, June 23, and the Fairfield Grand Prix on Saturday, June 25, and it will continue to be a feature permanently.

The EQUUS Foundation wishes to express its thanks to the Fairfield County Hunt Club for selecting the EQUUS Foundation as the charitable partner of the Fairfield June Horse Show.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

Winning Never Gets Old

Week I of the Aiken Summer Classic wrapped up after a well-attended week at Bruce’s Field.

Aiken’s own Daniel Geitner had a heck of a week at the office, winning the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the $5,000 Marshall & Sterling Classic Hunter Derby, and the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix.

“Winning never gets old,” Geitner laughed.

Geitner wrapped up his successful week with the win in the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix over a course designed by world renown course designer and Olympian, Michel Vaillancourt.

Of the sixteen horse and rider teams entered, only five would advance to the jump off round where the time allowed was set at 48 seconds. Geitner had five horses entered in the class and three qualified for the jump off round.

Geitner and his first ride, November Hill’s Cilia M, turned in a four fault jump off round with a time of 38.347 seconds. Sarah Hubbard of Wellington, Florida in the irons of Hubbard Horses, LLC’s Latino Van De Looise Heide followed in the order and their one jump fault in a time of 34.793 seconds took the lead.

The lead was short lived when James Billington, also of Wellington, rode Samantha Mackenzie’s Halifax Des Rosiers WB, posting the first clear round in the jump off with a time of 39.733 seconds and took the lead.

Geitner followed, this time in the irons of November Hill’s Lotus Van Het Hagehof. The pair turned in a fault free jump off round in a time of 37.00 seconds and set the new time to beat.

Geitner and GFZ Sport Horses, LLC’s Igo Van De Heibos sat in the last to go spot. The pair turned in a fault free round in a time of 37.699 seconds, securing the second-place ribbon and his victory with Lotus Van Het Hagehof.

Geitner commented, “It was plenty, of course. Michel [Vaillancourt] designed it in his usual fashion which made it look and walk like it was a pretty easy course,” commented Geitner. “The most challenging part of the course was the triple combination line and an oxer in the corner. It felt a little downhill to the oxer, even though it wasn’t and then basically standing still to the skinny was the most difficult part,” he said.

“It walked nice but rode difficult. Michel is an absolute master and somehow, he always gets it right. He had a great number with 5 clean and I had 3 of them. I had some young horses to show, and it was great mileage for all of them,” Geitner added.

“Lotus is a 10-year-old and just stepped up this past year to the Grand Prix level. He tries hard, he’s fast, loves to show and the heat, and he is a really game horse. I was lucky that I rode Celia earlier and then was able to watch a couple of other rides and I knew what I had to do with the last two horses,” said Geitner.

Billington and Halifax Des Rosiers placed third overall and Hubbard and Latino Van De Looise Heide earned a fourth place ribbon. Geitner and Cilia Hill earned a fifth-place finish, and he also won a sixth place ribbon with Oak Ledge Farm’s Fazous as the fastest four fault first round in a time of 70.139 seconds.

Quinn Larimer of Mableton, Georgia rode Nestledown Equine Services, LLC’s Olympia Van Het Eikenhof to a seventh-place finish with their four fault first round in a time of 70.299 seconds.

Megan Rosenthal of Charlotte, North Carolina in the irons of Fairy Tale Farms, LLC’s Caliente earned an eighth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 70.995 seconds, and ninth was awarded to Hakini, owned by Ellen Walker and ridden by Adam Sklansky of Birmingham, Alabama.

Larimer returned for a tenth-place ribbon with Nestledown Equine Services, LLC’s Bronson CR for their four fault first round in a time of 74.603 seconds.

Hubbard also placed eleventh with Hubbard Horses International’s Japardie for their four fault first round in a time of 74.269 seconds. Samantha Mackenzie and her own Inajottie WB wrapped up the class with a twelfth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 75.541 seconds.

For more information, please visit horseshowsonline.com.

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