Category Archives: Hunter/Equitation

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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Matt Cyphert and No Secret De La Pomme $40k USHJA International Hunter Derby under the Lights

Matt Cyphert and No Secret De La Pomme ©Natalie Suto Photography for TIEC.

June 10, 20220 – Matt Cyphert (USA) and No Secret De La Pomme came up golden in the $40,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by The Farm House, scoring 382 points over two rounds to be the first to claim an international derby win under the lights in Tryon Stadium. Colin Syquia (PHI) and Front Page, the 2014 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo D’Arsouilles x Cartagena Indias Ecaussinnes) owned by Cynthia Sulzberger, also produced a handy round score of 203 to take reserve on a two-round total of 378 points. Clinching the final podium spot, Kelli Cruciotti-Vanderveen (USA) and Gambler B scored 345 points over two rounds, with the yellow rosette presented to the 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Campbell VDL x Adelwise VDL) owned by Serenity Farm.

Cyphert and the 2013 Belgian Warmblood gelding (RMF Cadeau De Muse x Geneve De Muse) owned by Beth Von Brecht navigated the course set by Skip Bailey (USA) for a score of 179 in the first round, clinching the win despite the fact that “Pom Pom” is brand-new to the discipline, he revealed:

“We’ve had him for about two years now, and we’ve done him in the jumpers with his owner, Beth Von Brecht. I’ve played with him in a couple of Midwest Grand Prixs. But you know, he just has such a good jump and he has the right mind for the Hunters, so we wanted to dabble in it a little bit,” he explained. “About a month ago, we did him in a horse show. He was fantastic: champion in the four-foot division, and good in the derby. I think he’s found a new career!”

Earning the perpetual honor of being the first duo to win an International Hunter Derby under the lights in Tryon Stadium, Cyphert noted that he had to contain his mount’s excitement after the first round and help Pom Pom relax into his new role.

“Since this class normally would have been a Grand Prix, and it would have benefited him to be a little bit awake and alert, we had to sort of work to chill him out, and take a breath. Even after the last jump in the first round, he was so good, and people clapped and he really wanted to get excited about that, but he held it together. I’m just so proud of him. He always tries hard.

“It [riding under the lights] obviously kind of adds to the suspense and the excitement of it all. For us, Derby Finals is on our radar. What a great preparation for a class like that! You had a nice crowd, with legitimate size jumps, and so they really got the same atmosphere that they’re going to have in a couple of months at Derby Finals,” Cyphert shared about the evening class.

Based in Argyle, TX, Cyphert and team make it a point to attend TIEC competition each year, Cyphert emphasized. “We have been coming here for years… I mean, years and years, and we love it. I was kind of laughing with J. P. [Godard] because I’ve won a couple Grands Prix here. I told him how much I liked this ring; it has a little bit of magic for me. Now, in the Hunters as well!”

Cyphert concluded of the venue, “I don’t know what you can’t like about it. I mean, the rings are fantastic, and it’s a well-run show. We love the area, too; there’s just so many things to do between golfing, hiking, restaurants, and more. The customers love it, we love it, J. P. does a great job running it. It’s always on our schedule every year – sometimes different times of the year – but we always make an effort to be here.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Jessica Mendoza and Play Top $50k Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*

Jessica Mendoza and Play.

Devon, Pa. – May 31, 2022 – International show jumping competition kicked off at the 2022 Devon Horse Show Tuesday, May 31, welcoming a field of talented athletes and their mounts to the iconic Dixon Oval for the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*. Out of the 22 starters representing six different nations, just nine navigated clear efforts to advance to the jump off. At the conclusion of the class, it was Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and her very own mount Play who emerged victorious to take home the Devon blue.

Scott Stewart and Nick Haness Take Home Green Hunter Championships

Tuesday morning at the Devon Horse Show welcomed back top professional hunter athletes to the Dixon Oval to vie for championship honors in their respective green hunter divisions. In the Green 3’6” Hunter, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker and Huntland Farms, it was Scott Stewart and Bikoff Equestrian’s Ever After who took home the first tri-color of the day. The pair accumulated a total of 22 points over the two days to secure The James J. Piehler Memorial Challenge Trophy.

Gail Aumiller Claims Single Horse Driving Championship Victory

Monday marked the start of Senior Week at the 2022 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair where professional hunter athletes kicked off competition in the Dixon Oval with the Green Hunter divisions. Leading the way in the Green 3’9” Hunter at the conclusion of the first two over fences classes with a total of 16 entries was Scott Stewart and Nottingham who swept over fences taking home two blue ribbons.

For more information and results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.

Wendy Chapot Nunn and Cashe’ Crowned Adult Amateur Jumper Champions at Devon Horse Show

Wendy Chapot Nunn and Cashe’.

Devon, Pa. – May 30, 2022 – The week’s Adult Amateur Jumper competition at the Devon Horse Show came to a head on Monday evening, featuring the $7,500 NAL Adult Jumper Classic, sponsored by Moraga Farms. 25 horse-and-rider combinations stepped foot in the Dixon Oval, hoping to take home the Devon blue ribbon up for grabs, as well as final points towards the Adult Amateur Jumper Championship and the Lawrence W Schwartz Memorial Perpetual Trophy. When the night wrapped up, it was Wendy Chapot Nunn on Cashe’ who emerged victorious with the division’s tricolor ribbon and their names added to the perpetual trophy.

Rebekah Robinson Wins Single Pair/Pony Championship

Memorial Day at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair concluded with the naming of the Single/Pair Pony Driving championship winner and the recipient of The Joseph M Pierce Challenge Trophy, donated by Holly Ventures. After accumulating 21 points throughout the division, it was Rebekah Robinson with Saltwood Kite, owned by Mr & Mrs. Collin F. McNeil, who walked away with championship honors.

Scott Stewart Leads the Way in Green 3’9″ Hunter Division

Monday marked the start of Senior Week at the 2022 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair where professional hunter athletes kicked off competition in the Dixon Oval with the Green Hunter divisions. Leading the way in the Green 3’9” Hunter at the conclusion of the first two over fences classes with a total of 16 entries were Scott Stewart and Nottingham who swept over fences taking home two blue ribbons.

For more information and results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.