Major Winter Circuits Come Together to Agree ‘No Braiding for Un-Rated Hunter Divisions’ in Response to Recent Economic Conditions
RELEASE: December 8, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Chris Mayone
In recognition of the current economic climate, promoters of all the major winter circuits are examining ways to help exhibitors minimize ancillary expenses in an effort to maximize their opportunities to show and enjoy their winter circuit experiences. While United States Equestrian Federation rules do not mandate braiding, the winter circuit managers from Gulfport, HITS, Jacksonville and the Winter Equestrian Festival have decided to go on record advising all judges that exhibitors who opt not to braid for un-rated classes should not be penalized.
All the promoters agreed that, while a small step, this action may be something that makes it a little bit easier for exhibitors to continue their participation in the shows.
Don Stewart, trainer and owner of Don Stewart Stables in Ocala, FL, and Chairman of the National Junior Hunter Committee, expressed his support for the action. “I think especially in today’s market, it’s imperative that we cut back somewhere and perhaps this is a place to start.”
Lori DeRosa of Newmarket, a prominent trainer on the West Coast, was also positive in response to the steps being taken on behalf of the exhibitors. “I think that’s a great idea. I’ve been trying to move in that direction, and anything you can do to lessen the cost of showing and allow people to continue showing is very helpful.”
As a result of these initial discussions, this group of winter show managers has entered into a dialogue to search for other opportunities to be sensitive to costs in these uneasy economic times.
“Bob Bell, Mark Bellissimo, Joe Dotoli and I felt that we had a responsibility to look for opportunities to help exhibitors reduce some of their expenses, which is why we are coming together for this action and why we’ll continue to identify areas where we can alleviate other show-related expenses,” said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, Inc.
“In talking to many, many trainers and competitors who compete annually in Jacksonville, Gulfport and Atlanta about the idea of somehow reducing the costs of showing horses, braiding seemed to be a common denominator,” said Bob Bell, Show Manager and President of Classic Company, Ltd. “These are unprecedented times, and we must consider all aspects of the sport so that all of our exhibitors can continue showing this winter. Some of our exhibitors may have budget restraints this year, and we hope that reducing braiding costs will help them continue to compete.”
Mark Bellissimo, CEO Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, (ESP) added, "We will be asking all of our hunter officials (Judges) not to penalize any entry in the un-rated divisions of the Winter Equestrian Festival for not being braided. We consulted with a number of top trainers and judges and they all endorsed this action. It is a great opportunity to defray expenses for our exhibitors in these difficult economic times."
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com