Saugerties, New York (December 1, 2014): HITS, Inc., home of the Triple Crown of Show Jumping, is pleased to announce inclusion of the Furusiyya Federation Équestre Internationale (FEI) Nations Cup™ CSIO-4* during the Ocala Winter Festival, February 10-15, 2015, the fifth week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Throughout the week, international equestrian riders will compete for more than $400,000 in prize money and the chance to represent their country in Barcelona, Spain, at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Finals in September.
“Hosting the 2015 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ is a privilege not only because of the event’s legacy, but the unique opportunities it gives competitors and the much-deserved attention it shines on the sport of show jumping,” said HITS CEO and President Thomas Struzzieri.
The namesake Nations Cup class, boasting a $200,000 prize purse, will take place Friday, February 13, at 1 p.m. The HITS Organizing Committee and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will invite eight nations to participate in Nations Cup competition. The riders representing the United States will be chosen according to the approved Selection Procedures using the Rolex/USEF Rider Ranking List and by US Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
“It is great to have Tom Struzzieri and HITS step up and prioritize this event, because our home Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ is so important in qualifying for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final; I and all the riders are really appreciative,” said Ridland. “It is also great to now have two FEI Nations Cups in this country with more than four times the prize money than we had a just a few years ago; it is a huge step for our country.”
“When Robert and I discussed bringing the Nations Cup to Ocala, we talked about prize money and the representing countries. We agreed that this is the type of purse these competitors want to jump for,” said Struzzieri.
In addition to covering each athlete’s travel and meals, HITS will host the Nations Cup riders’ support staff – all of which is possible through loyal relationships with Marion County hospitality partners.
Hailed as one of show jumping’s most prestigious events, the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ series is comprised of seven regions with 20 qualifiers in as many countries. 40 nations will seek a place at the 2015 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona. In total, 18 teams will qualify for the final.
Instituted in 2013 for the purpose of qualifying teams for a world final, the globe has been divided into seven regions. The seven regions are Europe I, Europe II, North America, South America, Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Spanning five days of competition, Nations Cup Week at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala will host several notable classes in the FEI Jumper Division. Highlights include the $34,000 FEI Jumper Prix Thursday, February 12, the $200,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Friday, February 13, the $34,000 FEI Jumper Classic Saturday, February 14, and the $150,000 FEI Grand Prix Sunday, February 15. A complete schedule is available at HitsShows.com.
“Ocala calls itself the Horse Capital of the World, and I can’t imagine a better town to host the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™,” Struzzieri said. “It is an honor to bring this global event home to Marion County and give true sport horse fans the opportunity to cheer on their country, right from their own backyard.”
HITS will offer an upgraded hospitality experience in the Overlook VIP Club featuring ringside seating, complimentary beer and wine, as well as the culinary art of Executive Chef Giuseppe Napoli of The Tavern at Diamond Mills in Saugerties, New York. VIP tables are expected to sell out and reservations are encouraged. For Overlook VIP Club information and bookings, contact Chelsea Dwinell at Chelsea@HitsShows.com.
“It’s fortuitous the Nations Cup week falls on HITS Desert Circuit off-week, allowing our entire hospitality and culinary team, including Executive Chef Napoli, to be in Ocala,” added Struzzieri. “The world-class VIP experience, paired with lively grandstands of equine enthusiasts and world class showjumping competition, will certainly make for a memorable event.”