Tag Archives: Ocala

Daniel Coyle and Legacy Dominate Great American $500k Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

Daniel Coyle and Legacy.

Ocala, Fla. – March 27, 2022 – Crowds filled the stands at the HITS Ocala Stadium on Sunday afternoon to watch the world’s top athletes compete in the Great American $500,000 Grand Prix, featuring the biggest show jumping purse in the United States. The day concluded with a thrilling 10-horse jump-off featuring athletes from representing six countries. In the end, it was Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Legacy who out raced the other riders, claiming the biggest check in the country. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Risen earned the second-place prize, while Rowan Willis (AUS) and Billy Guilder placed third.

“I did my first ever five-star Nations Cup here many years ago, so I always have a good feeling about [HITS Ocala],” expressed Coyle. “Today I showed that. It’s an amazing big arena, with nice jumps, prize money and people come. It’s as good as [anywhere in the world]. My other horses weren’t going to plan [in Wellington] so I decided not to use Legacy. Jordan [Coyle] said there’s a very good class in Ocala, so I decided, ‘Perfect; I’ll go there,’ and luckily I won!”

Course designer Marina Azevedo (BRA) built a large and technical track that used the expansive HITS Stadium to challenge horse and rider combinations from start to finish. Rails fell throughout the course, including through a yellow and white oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination with a bending ling to a triple bar and a delicate vertical. Athletes finished over the final line that featured two of the biggest oxers of the course before they galloped to the tall vertical towards the gate.

“It was a very good group,” noted Azevedo. “I was expecting eight clear, but the footing was so good and the horses were jumping so well. This ring is very nice because it’s very level, so we don’t have to go up and down, which is very good for everybody.”

The field of 46 starters was whittled down to just 10 to return for the tiebreaker. The jump-off featured two tight rollbacks, a vertical-oxer double from the original triple combination and a long gallop to the final oxer. Jordan Coyle (IRL) was the second to return and set the Great American time to beat with Ariso, after leaving all the rails intact and breaking the beam in 39.998 seconds.

Jordan’s brother Daniel was next in the ring with Legacy, and after watching his brother’s round he knew exactly what he needed to do to win. Leaving out a stride in the first line and taking a tight roll back to the next vertical, he then headed home, slicing the Great American vertical before racing to the final oxer on the course. He never touched a rail and crossed the finish line in a speedy 38.526 seconds to go straight to the top of the leaderboard.

“I would say I had a big advantage today,” said Daniel. “I was third in the jump off, but already Jordan had as good a round as you probably could have, so that put pressure on me to go as fast as I could. Thankfully that paid off because if he hadn’t done that, I maybe wouldn’t have put as much pressure on myself!”

Vanderveen produced the next clear round with Bull Run’s Risen, attempting to catch Daniel’s time with a very direct approach to the Great American vertical, but she was less than a second shy of top spot, stopping the clock at 39.148 seconds for the second-place position.

“I didn’t get to see [Daniel] go, but I did see his time,” said Vanderveen. “The jump off was really nice with the amount of open running, which works for the big horse that I have, and also a nice left turn and right turn. It’s great to have it on both sides, so I tried to use it to my advantage, and it worked out.”

Willis stepped into the HITS Stadium with Billy Guilder and also had his eye on the top of the leaderboard. He made a smooth and tight rollback after the second fence and galloped quickly to the oxer after the double combination, but his time was not quite good enough to catch the leaders. He left all the rails in their cups, but his time of 39.520 would rank third, just ahead of Jordan. The remaining riders were unable to top the four leaders, and it was Daniel who returned to the ring to lead the lap of honor.

“Going behind [Daniel and Kristen], there wasn’t much left to do, just pray and hope,” admitted Willis. “I managed to beat one Coyle brother, but not the other! I was really happy with my horse. He tried his heart out and went as fast as he possibly could today. It was a great course, always a good competition here, great jumping, and I am looking forward to the next one.”

Daniel and Legacy, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by Ariel Grange, are already looking ahead for 2022, aiming to represent Ireland at the 2022 World Equestrian Games.

“Legacy has been an amazing horse for me and has done all of the divisions,” he noted. “I did European Championships last year with a top ten finish. I’ve only jumped three, maybe four, bigger classes this year. I haven’t been saving her, but I’m trying not to use everything in the start of the year. I’m hoping that she goes to the World Equestrian Games and hopefully she does something there.”

For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Stella Wasserman and Munich Steal the Spotlight to Win HITS Equitation Championship

© HITS LLC.

Ocala, Fla. – March 25, 2022 – The 2022 HITS Equitation Championship took center stage on Friday night at the HITS Ocala Stadium as part of the Ocala Championship Week. Working hard to qualify for this special event, 28 riders showcased their skills over two rounds of competition under the lights in the Stadium. At the end of the night, it was West Coast athlete Stella Wasserman whose top scores earned the winning title with Munich. Fellow Shadow Ridge rider Abigail Gordon placed second aboard Heartbeat Z, while third place went to Madison Ramsey riding Maguro.

Hunter Holloway and Liemba Leap to $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Victory

On Friday afternoon, athletes gathered at the HITS Ocala Stadium for the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix as they prepared for Sunday’s highlight event, the Great American $500,000 Grand Prix. With seven horses qualifying for the jump-off, speed became the name of the game. Hunter Holloway galloped away with the victory aboard Liemba, ahead of West Coast athletes Mark Watring riding Limbossini RC and Elisa Broz with Tinkerbell, who rounded out the top three, respectively.

For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

HITS Ocala Taking Steps to Protect Health and Safety of Participants

While there are no reported cases of coronavirus in the Ocala area, out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our exhibitors, their horses, and HITS employees, we will close this year’s HITS Ocala Winter Circuit at the end of competition on Sunday, March 15.

“Safety and health come first,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “Obviously horses can stay on the property following competition on Sunday. Please reach out to HITS staff if you have any special timing needs. All of us at HITS are greatly disappointed with this news, but are happy to be able to make this announcement in a voluntary manner. Riders planning on showing in the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix should stay tuned for an announcement from HITS regarding a replacement competition of equal importance to this unparalleled class.” Looking ahead, we are pleased that Great American has signed on to sponsor the Ocala Million again in 2021.

Riders who have been competing for 2nd-Half and Overall Grand Circuit Champion Awards will be honored this Sunday prior to the $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix.

Through next week and beyond as needed, HITS Staff will remain on-site at Post Time Farm. Feed and bedding will continue to be available. Rings will be maintained for use by riders on-site. Food service and the Horse Show Office will remain open. Those staying in Campers, GenZHomes, or the on-site Houses and Condos are also welcome to stay.

Beginning Friday, March 13, HITS Post Time Farm will be closed to the general public.

HITS will continue to closely monitor the health situation and stay in daily contact with appropriate officials and health experts in Marion County.

For questions or concerns, please contact the staff at HITS Post Time Farm, 352-620-2275 or info@hitsshows.com.

HITS Ocala Winter Circuit Entries Due January 3

Stalls Are Filling Up Fast

Have you entered for the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in Ocala, Florida? Use our Online Entry system to enter!

Get the Full Prize List online: click here.

January 16-21  |  Ocala January Classic (I)
January 23-28  |  Ocala January Festival (II)
January 30 – February 4  |  Ocala Premiere (III)
February 6-11  |  Ocala Winter Classic (IV)
February 13-18  |  Ocala Winter Festival (V)
February 20-25  |  Ocala Masters (VI)
February 27 – March 4  |  Ocala Tournament (VII)
March 6-11  |  Ocala Winter Finals (VIII)
March 13-18  |  Ocala Winter Celebration (IX)
March 20-25  |  Ocala Championship (X)

Entries must be POSTMARKED by January 3.

The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit offers a number of feature events throughout the circuit, including:

  • FEI Nations Cup CSIO5*, including Children’s and Juniors sections (Week V)
    Featuring the $450,000 Longines FEI Nations Cup and $300,000 Longines Grand Prix
  • FEI CSI3* Division (Week VI)
    Featuring the $100,000 KindredBio Grand Prix
  • $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix (Week IX)
  • Great American $1 Million Grand Prix (Week X)
  • Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classics for 1.25m, 1.35m, 1.45m each week, including the $25,000 U-Dump Jr/A-O/Am Jumper 1.45m Classic (Week X)
  • Two $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies (Week IV and X)
  • World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) (Week VIII)
  • Devoucoux and Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Each Week – qualifiers for the HITS Championship!

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Kate Conover and Peron Win the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala

©ESI Photography. Kate Conover and Peron on course in Sunday's $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

OCALA, FL (March 21, 2012) – Kate Conover of Ocala, Florida and Redfield Farm’s Peron captured the grand finale for hunter riders at HITS Ocala when they scored the top prize in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix to put a bow on the 2012 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.

“It was a challenging course that was set in the grand hunter ring,” said Conover. “There were lots of new jumps out there that we had not seen throughout the circuit and they were a nice touch.”

The two-round classic featured 51 horse-and-rider pairs on a course designed by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida. At the end of the first round, it was Megan Edrick of Ocala, Florida and Liz Hudspeth’s Fairfax in the lead with a first round score of 87. In the second round, Edrick received a 76 for a total of 167 points, which would eventually finish in ninth place.

Continue reading Kate Conover and Peron Win the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala

Sponsored Purina Mills Rider Aaron Vale Wins the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix

©ESI Photography. Aaron Vale and Tibor sail over the Purina Mills sponsored fence on their way to winning the Purina Mills Grand Prix

OCALA, FL (March 12, 2012) – Purina Mills was on hand this weekend at HITS Ocala as the title sponsor of the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The weekend was full of Purina Mills sponsored festivities and Purina sponsored rider Aaron Vale, of Morriston, Florida, put the exclamation point on the weekend when he captured the coveted first place prize in the Grand Prix aboard Bonnie Smith’s Tibor. To put the icing on the cake, he also won a ton of Purina Mills feed through the Purina Mills Rider’s Bonus.

Canada’s Danny Foster of Milton, Ontario designed the course, and saw 33 competitors attempt to conquer it.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve won a big Sunday Grand Prix and I was hoping to do it this circuit, so I was pretty thrilled,” said Vale, who showed two mounts on Sunday and finished in tenth place aboard Honeyland’s Douglason, owned by Doug’s Crew. “I think Danny [Foster] did a fantastic job today giving us a big course to jump. The line to the triple combination gave a lot of difficulties today and the six strides made the horses kind of dive at the jump and take a down. I was able to do seven strides with both of my horses and was able to sneak them through it. The jumps came up quick and there was a lot of riding to do in 88 seconds. There were 14 fences and it was about the same time allowed for a 12 jump course, so it kept you busy.”

Continue reading Sponsored Purina Mills Rider Aaron Vale Wins the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix

Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy Win $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala

Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy took the top honors Saturday night at HITS VI Ocala Winter Finals. Photo By: Hunter Messineo

Ocala, FL – March 12, 2012 – It was an incredible night for the 2012 $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the HITS VI Ocala Winter Finals. Spectators gathered together as the anticipation continued to rise, waiting to see who would take home the victory. In the end, it was SBS Farms’ Jennifer Alfano who executed brilliant rides throughout the two-round event, rising to the top of the leaderboard with four horses. She and her veteran mount Jersey Boy took the top honors and led the victory gallop, proving unbeatable throughout the competition. Alfano also guided Miss Lucy to the second place finish, completing flawless rounds and earning top scores from the judges.

The evening began as riders were tested over a classic hunter course, with the top 12 horse and rider combinations advancing to the handy hunter course. The scores earned in the classic hunter round were combined with the handy hunter round, combining the two round totals for the event’s overall results. The course definitely proved to be no easy feat. It mimicked a picturesque hunt field, testing horse and rider alike as they navigated the course and vied for the top honors and the chance to make it into the esteemed top 12. Jersey Boy took an early lead with the high scores in the first round totaling 187 points from the panel of judges, and Miss Lucy did not fall far behind with her first-round score of 170 points.

Continue reading Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy Win $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala

Michael Hughes Pockets His First Grand Prix Victory in Thursday’s SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

©ESI Photography. Michael Hughes and Drumnacross Farm Ltd.’s Mac Arthur sailed to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

OCALA, FL (March 9, 2012) – Michael Hughes was all smiles at the conclusion of Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Ocala. The sixteen-year-old from Allendale, New Jersey posted the only double clear round of the day to win his first-ever Grand Prix aboard Drumnacross Farm Ltd.’s Mac Arthur.

“My dad [Eammon Hughes] and I picked this horse to be my first Grand Prix horse because of his speed and scope,” said Hughes. The decision paid off this week as Hughes cashed a $7,500 first-place check.

Course Designer Danny Foster of Milton, Ontario challenged 30 horses and riders to 13 obstacles in Thursday’s class, which included a triple combination at fence six, a double at fence nine and a sizable final effort at fence 13.

“I designed the course to make it challenging, but not so big,” said Foster. “It was long, so the horses got a little tired.”

Continue reading Michael Hughes Pockets His First Grand Prix Victory in Thursday’s SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

Emma Sullivan Tops the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic as HITS Wraps Up the Ocala Tournament at Post Time Farm

Emma Sullivan aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s Elder on course in the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic. Photos ©ESI Photography.

OCALA, FL (March 7, 2012) – Emma Sullivan of Lafayette, Louisiana rode to victory under the lights on Saturday in the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper classic at HITS Ocala. She and Thinkslikeahorse’s Elder were the winning pair out of 65 who showed over International Course Designer Jack Robson’s first and second round tracks.

“I was so excited when I won – it was unbelievable! I really love this horse and he has been so much fun to ride,” said Sullivan. “It was a really difficult course and I saw some really fast rounds, so I knew the last turn to fence four had to be tight enough to win. You always risk a rail, but luckily we did it. I’d really like to thank my trainer, Aaron Vale, for everything and letting me ride this great horse, and my parents for being there.”

Robson, of Coronado, California presented 12 obstacles in the first round and repeated six in the jump-off with plenty of challenges in between.

Continue reading Emma Sullivan Tops the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic as HITS Wraps Up the Ocala Tournament at Post Time Farm

Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy Win Reserve Honors at HITS V

Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy won the High Performance Working Hunter Reserve Championship at HITS V Ocala Tournament. Photo By: Aly Sanderford/PMG

Ocala, FL – March 5, 2012 – The HITS V Ocala Tournament saw nothing but success from SBS Farms as Jennifer Alfano scored high ribbons and championship honors aboard horses throughout the hunter divisions. Jersey Boy came out at the top of the field in the High Performance Working Hunter division, taking home the reserve championship honors during his second week showing at HITS Ocala.

The talented duo earned the first and second place ribbons for their efforts over fences, as well as the first place finish for their picturesque handy round. Alfano is gearing up for the $10,000 USHJA International Derby in Ocala, FL, this Saturday, March 10. Shortly after their appearance in Ocala, the team will head to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, for the Winter Equestrian Festival where they will compete as the defending champions of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Continue reading Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy Win Reserve Honors at HITS V