Tag Archives: HITS

Hunters Take the Stage during Week IV at HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Louisa Brackett and King Bee.

Culpeper, VA (August 22, 2016): Hunter riders gathered at HITS Commonwealth Park for a prestigious hunter victory in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. The classes served as Virginia’s fourth 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
The blue ribbon went home with Louisa Brackett of Grayslake, Illinois aboard King Bee. They scored an 83 in the first round, and an 82 in the second round, garnering the win with a total score of 165. The victory at HITS Culpeper marks Brackett’s first $5,000 Devoucoux win.

Ocala, Florida equestrian Rachael Bebb was second in the ribbons. She and Lion, owned by Sarah Jo Scott, brought in a first-round score of 77. In the second round of the classic, Bebb and Lion received a 79.5, totaling 156.5 for their efforts.

Third place was awarded to Odds Are, owned by Twin Oaks Farm, LLC, and ridden by Jill Wilson of Louisa, Virginia. They received a first-round score of 78, followed by a second-round score of 77 for a total of 155.

Shannan Gossman of Mitchells, Virginia took fourth with Castanio, owned by Turning Pointe Ventures, LLC, with scores of 75 and 79 respectively for a total of 154. Gossman has showed in the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix this season, placing consistently in the top five. This week, the equestrian leveled up to join the competition in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix.

Rounding out the top five was Kate Phillips of Montpelier, Virginia and Chino, owned by Derek Reed. They brought in a first-round score of 75.5, and received a second-round score of 78 for a total of 153.5, claiming fifth place for their efforts. Philips and Chino also competed in the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper and moved up to compete in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix.

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania equestrian Sara Ladley stole away with the blue-ribbon victory in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix during Week IV at HITS Culpeper. Ladley rode her own Skara Glen’s Intense to a first-round score of 79, improving to an 84 in the second round for a total of 163.

Second in the ribbons was Victoria Walton of Hampstead, Maryland and Iberia, owned by Patricia Walton. Walton and her bay mount were awarded consistent scores of 80 in both rounds to total 160.

The yellow ribbon went to Peyton Ruddy of Midlothian, Virginia and her mount Clair de Lune. They brought in third place with a score of 73 in the first round, with a major improvement to a score of 83 in the second round — they totaled 156 for their efforts.

Kirsten Good of Washington, DC was fourth piloting Chenin Noir. They earned a 72 in the first round, followed by a 71 in the second for a total of 143.

The top five closed out with Virginia Frediani of Richmond, Virginia aboard Silvio. They earned a 68 in the first round, improving to a 74 in the second round to total 142, just behind Ruddy, for fifth place.

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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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HITS Million Saugerties and American Gold Cup Offer FEI-Level Competition

(C) ESI Photography. Beezie Madden and Simon claim the CP $1 Million Grand Prix FEI CSI-5* on September 6, 2015 at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

The Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix FEI CSI 5* and will take place on Sunday, September 11 the HITS Championship, the grand finale of the HITS Saugerties show series. The Saugerties Million, first introduced in 2009 and held in 2010, will debut its seventh consecutive year of the historic, FEI-sanctioned class at HITS-on-the-Hudson in 2016.

HITS Saugerties will also host a show the week prior to the Saugerties Million from August 31 – September 4. HITS-on-the-Hudson Week VII will feature two Grand Prix, the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

New York will also play host to another popular show jumping event in the fall, The American Gold Cup, which is celebrating its fifth year of competition this year at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York. The historic show will take place September 14-18, featuring the $216,000 CSI 4* Longines FEI World Cup on Sunday, September 18.

The American Gold Cup and the HITS Championship will be held back to back in September, and are conveniently located just an hour away from each other. High Performance riders are encouraged to take advantage of both events to participate in two of the highest quality competitions of the season.

HITS President and CEO Thomas Struzzieri said, “With two premium events, the American Gold Cup and the Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix, so close in both proximity and scheduling, high performance riders will benefit from the convenience that HITS-on-the-Hudson and Old Salem Farm provide.”

Management from both events will be communicating with one another to ensure a smooth transition between the two venues for horses and riders, and can help with any special requests. Both HITS and Morrissey Management will be diligent in their efforts to support competitors at both events.

“We are planning a great show at this year’s American Gold Cup, as well as working closely with HITS to create a seamless transition between our two events,” continued American Gold Cup Manager Michael Morrissey. “This is a unique opportunity for riders to participate in two top-notch events within a short drive of each other. We are looking forward to working together with the HITS team.”

Struzzieri added, “HITS and Old Salem will be working together to assist riders in making their plans, including coordinating quarantine if necessary, as well as communicating arrival arrangements with Old Salem management to make the transition from Saugerties to North Salem as smooth as possible.”

For further information on the HITS Championship or for tickets to this year’s Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix CSI-5*, visit the HITS Horse Shows website or call the HITS corporate office at 845.246.8833.

For further information or for tickets to this year’s American Gold Cup, visit the American Gold Cup website at www.theamericangoldcup.com.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
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Written by: Allyson Lagiovane, Phelps Media Group
Adapted by: HITS Horse Shows Staff

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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Harold Chopping Conquers the Field in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper III

(C) ESI Photography. Harold Chopping and Basje.

Culpeper, VA (July 17, 2016):  Riders and horses turned out for Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix as a weekend of excitement kicked off at the Cavalier Classic, the third week of HITS Culpeper.

Coming home with the victory was Southern Pines, North Carolina equestrian Harold Chopping aboard Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington. This win makes Chopping and Basje’s third blue ribbon in the Grand Prix ring at HITS Commonwealth Park this year.

“He’s a very talented horse, and is also very careful,” said Chopping of his winning mount, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

Six advanced to the jump-off over the course set by Bernardo Cabral of Lisbon, Portugal. The jump-off course consisted of a tight opening line with a roll back to an oxer, followed by a slice to a vertical and a mid-course combination.

“The course was very well done, and I thought it wasn’t too challenging but suited all of the horses quite well,” said Chopping. “It was technical in some spots, and was just right for the field of horses competing.”

First to contend the shortened course was Manuel Torres riding out of Waterford, Virginia and Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro. They started off strong, but after a couple of rails early in the course, Torres opted to retire and save his mount for another day. They would finish the class with sixth place. Torres would also capture the final spot of the top five with Cruising Altitude, owned by Santa Catalina Farm with a jump-off score of 41.110

Following Torres were the victors themselves, Chopping and Basje. They laid down a powerful, clear round in 34.897, where the lead would remain.

“I thought the first horse, Manuel’s horse, was going to be a big contender and really be the aggressive round to follow,” said Chopping of his jump-off plan. “After he wasn’t in the contingency, I didn’t want to leave the door open – I wanted to be clear and quick, but also be careful.”

Culpeper, Virginia’s own Brooke Kemper and Classified were next to challenge the jump-off. All was well as she chased down Chopping for the top spot, but an unfortunate rail at the fence preluding the combination, would keep them off the top of the leaderboard. They crossed the timers in 40.646 for the eventual fourth place.

Maryann Charles, also of Southern Pines, and FVF Sailor man, owned by Fox View Farm, were next to advance. Charles and her mount had two third place finishes at Culpeper Week II in both the Brook Ledge Grand Prix and Sunday’s $30,000 HITS Grand Prix. A rail at the first fence thwarted their chances of the win, but their speedy time of 35.872 sealed the yellow ribbon for their efforts.

Next to contend was Matthias Hollberg, winner of last week’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix. In a twist, Chopping placed second to Hollberg in this class last week. The equestrian riding out of Middleburg, Virginia and Aletta, owned by Olympic Dreams, LLC, put down a clear trip, but their time of 43.046 was not enough to edge out Chopping. They would ultimately capture the second place spot.

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Gavin Moylan Cashes Out in the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Gavin Moylan and Pernod.

Culpeper, VA (July 12, 2016): As the curtain closed on Showday National at HITS Culpeper on Sunday, riders returned to the Grand Prix ring to contend for the top prize in the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix.

Hot off a win in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, Gavin Moylan returned to the jumper ring and topped the Grand Prix field to stake claims on the blue ribbon once again. The Middleburg, Virginia equestrian’s victory came aboard Pernod, owned by Alpha Omega Farm of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“Thank you to HITS for sponsoring this class; it was special to win a Grand Prix at Culpeper,” said Moylan. “I’ve competed here more than any other venue in my professional career and it’s close to home. To win both of these classes this weekend was great.”

Moylan also nodded special thanks to Bart and Abby Frye of Alpha Omega Farm for their support, as well as his wife, Alden.

Only two would jump clear over the course set by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida. Moylan was joined in contest over the shortened course by Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina and Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington; in an interesting twist, Chopping won both the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix in Culpeper Week I in April, and placed second to Moylan this week in both classes.

“The course definitely presented a challenge and I wasn’t too surprised that there were only two clean,” said Moylan. “The last line was tricky for all of the horses — it was a difficult triple combination, followed by a technical 5-stride to an oxer at the end.”

The jump-off was down to Moylan and Chopping, both with a prestigious collection of blue ribbons in both the hunter and jumper rings at HITS Culpeper.

Chopping and Basje were first to challenge the jump-off, taking the course with precision and speed within the time allowed of 51 seconds. They flew through the timers fault-free in 44.454 to set the tone.

Moylan was next to test the jump-off course, knowing he would have to be quick and clear to edge Chopping’s well-executed round to second.

“Pernod has been doing the Grand Prix for over a year. He’s a bigger horse but is very fast for his size,” said Moylan. “He finished sixth in Friday’s [Brook Ledge] Grand Prix and he’s been knocking on the door all summer long to win one.”

They zipped through the course, conquering each fence. Moylan’s trusted mount handled the difficult line well, crossing the timers in a cool, clear 44.193, just enough to pick up the winner’s share of the prize purse.

“This horse has a great heart and is a happy, kind horse every day,” said Moylan of his winning mount, Pernod. “I am really glad for him that he was able to win.”

Many contenders were just a rail shy of advancing to the jump-off. Third place finisher Maryann Charles, also of Southern Pines, and FVF Sailor Man, owned by Fox View Farm, finished with the quickest four-fault score in the first round, adding another top-five finish to their resume after placing third in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix.

Fourth place went to Matthias Hollberg, winner of Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix aboard another mount, and Aletta, owned by Olympic Dreams, LLC. Hollberg, of Middleburg, Virginia, was thwarted by the difficult triple combination in the home stretch, earning a four-fault score as they crossed the finish.

The top five rounded out with Kevin McCarthy of North Salem, New York and Analyze This, owned by Kimberly Jakubowski. The difficult triple combination in the last line proved to be the dividing line for McCarthy as well, crossing the timers with one rail.

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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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Matthias Hollberg Takes Home the Blue in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix

(C) ESI Photography. Matthias Hollberg and Czechmate.

Culpeper, VA (July 9, 2016): Show jumping returned to HITS Commonwealth Park during the Showday National, the first of the two-week July series at HITS Culpeper. The weekend kicked off with Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge and riders lined up to take their shot at the title.

Seven advanced to the jump-off over the course set by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida, but the team to beat proved to be Matthias Hollberg of Middleburg, Virginia aboard Czechmate, owned by Courtney Ramsey.

“I want to say thank you to Brook Ledge for sponsoring this class and thanks to Courtney Ramsey, for letting me ride this great horse,” said Hollberg.

The first of seven to contest the shortened course was the victor, Hollberg, this time aboard Aletta, owned by Olympic Dreams, LLC.

“The first-round course was a nice track and all of the horses seemed to jump great; the jump-off had a very difficult turn back to a combination that proved to be a challenge for many – [Aletta and I] were first to try the combination in the jump-off, and it was difficult.”

That challenging mid-course combination resulted in an eventual eight-fault score for Hollberg and Aletta as they crossed the timers in 47.489, enough to land them the fifth place prize.

Following Hollberg was Ocala, Florida equestrian Ian Silitch piloting Cordovo, owned by Gaston Family Investments. They took to the course at a slower pace hoping for a clean round, but had an unfortunate rail at the second fence, followed by a rail at the A element of the combination. They crossed the finish in 62.908, earning time faults in addition to eight jumping faults, ultimately placing them seventh.

Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina returned for the jump-off next with Contefino 6, owned by Caroline Russell Howe and Lisa Tolnitch. Having won both Grand Prix at Culpeper Week I in April, Chopping was hoping to continue his streak.  While their four-fault trip in 50.102 would give them the temporary lead, their score would ultimately place them second.

Next to test the jump-off was Maryann Charles of Southern Pines, North Carolina and FVF Sailor Man, owned by Fox View Farm. They too made it through the course with four faults, a result of a rail at the second fence, crossing the finish in 50.943, just fractions behind Chopping. The round would ultimately earn them the third place prize.

A clear round had yet to be seen, until Hollberg and his winning mount Czechmate challenged the shortened course.

“The tough turn before the combination was trouble with my first horse, so my goal was to make sure to get straight into the combination and go at a medium speed through the course.”

Hollberg piloted Czechmate through the course, conquering the combination according to his plan, to finish fault-free in 51.631, just within the time allowed to rise to the top of the leaderboard.

Also of Middleburg, Virginia, Gavin Moylan took a chance at capturing the title with Pernod, owned by Alpha Omega Farm. A fast pace, but with trouble at the outset of the course, as well as rails at both elements of the combination, ultimately earned them sixth place with a time of 47.933.

The last rider to advance to the jump-off was Kevin McCarthy of North Salem, New York aboard Analyze This, owned by Kimberly Jakubowski. It looked as though a clear round was on the horizon as they took each fence without fault, but their time of 55.156 earned them four time faults, eventually landing them the fourth place prize.

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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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