OCALA, FL (February 14, 2012) – Not only did Daniel Geitner enter the hunter ring at HITS Ocala this weekend with the biggest horse, he left with the biggest prize. He and Robin Hughes’ Living Color took one giant stride towards September’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final with a win in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Post Time Farm.
Living Color – standing at 18 hands tall – carried Geitner to a high-score of 87 in the first round and duplicated that score in the second round for an overall score of 174. Aside from beating out 57 competitors on Sunday, Geitner also piloted Living Color to a High-Performance Hunter Championship this week at HITS Ocala.
“This course was really nice. Sometimes it’s hard for him [Living Color] to navigate the smaller rings, but he handled it well,” said Geitner, who hails from Aiken, South Carolina. “He is handy for a big horse, has a great temperament and Robin [Hughes] takes it slow with him, so he is ready for just about anything.”
Geitner was joined in the second round by the top eleven pairs where Greg Crolick of Auburn Hills, Michigan boasted the top score of 88 in the irons of Clover Lane Farm, LLC’s Imagine. His overall score of 172.5, however, was not enough to catch Geitner and he finished with the red ribbon. Completing the top three was Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland with a final score of 170.75 aboard Rolling Acres’ Gerona 92.
Rounding out the top five was Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey in fourth, who posted an overall score of 168 on Michelle Barber’s Harvard and defending Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Champion Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland aboard Four Winds Farm’s Naturally with a score of 167.75 to finish fifth.
Geitner plans to make an appearance with Living Color at HITS Culpeper this spring and summer to punch his ticket to the HITS Championship Weekend at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. He hopes to make a debut in the second annual Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final.
“Qualifying for the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final is definitely a goal of mine this year,” said Geitner. “He [Living Color] is competitive, brave and adjustable – just what the class requires. He is a beautiful mover and very light on the ground. I think we could do very well in the Final.”
$1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix
Fifteen year old Emily Caikoski of Califon, New Jersey piloted her own Livin’ Large to a victory in this weekend’s $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala with high hopes of making an appearance in the $250,000 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York this fall.
She and Livin’ Large could not be beat, posting the high-scores in both rounds. She combined an 81 and an 84 to steal first place with an overall score of 165.
“I saw the course and I knew I was going to like it,” said Caikoski. “We had a lot of fun jumping outside the ring and then back in and my trainer, Dana Hart, really helped me to figure out the bending lines and rollbacks on the course.”
As amateur riders set their sights on the inaugural HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Final, Caikoski is determined not to miss any of the action.
“When I heard about the [HITS 3’ Hunter Prix] Final I was so excited,” said Caikoski. “He [Livin’ Large] is a great horse and perfect for the Final. He is not spooky and is only seven, but acts like 12 year old.”
A solid four points behind Caikoski, Adrienne Wodenka of Palm Harbor, Florida and her own All In finished in second with an overall score of 161 and Jacquelyn Maggiore of Winchester, Massachusetts posted a 159 to finish in third aboard her own Contina. Completing the top five was Mindy Coretz of Tulsa, Oklahoma aboard KAC Horses, LLC’s Gretta with a score of 158.5 in fourth and Michelle Shaulinski of Pittsford, New York in the irons of her own Fantabulous in fifth after posting an overall score of 156.5.
To view complete results from the $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix, click here.
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to the phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. The Devoucoux Hunter Prix will be a featured event at all HITS horse shows this season as riders from around the country set out to qualify for the second-annual Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 8-9 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
About Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern
Just 100 miles outside of New York City, nestled in the Village of Saugerties, Diamond Mills is a 30-room luxury hotel featuring stellar accommodations, fine-dining at The Tavern and full-service events at a state-of-the art Special Events Center. Diamond Mills is a proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, an unsurpassed collection of over 520 luxury hotels around the world. Saugerties’ newest luxury hotel is also the proud sponsor of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, which will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson as part of the HITS Championship Weekend. For more information about Diamond Mills or the special VIP packages available to HITS-on-the-Hudson exhibitors, please visit DiamondMillsHotel.com or call 845.247.0700.