HITS Saugerties is "Home for the Hunters" in 2009; HITS Plays Host to 2009 USEF Junior Hunter Championships-East Coast
RELEASE: July 7, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood
The HITS Saugerties Summer Show Series is set to begin this month, and Weeks V and VI of the series are your "Home for the Hunters" this year. HITS Saugerties is proud to host three very special events for hunter competitors, including the 2009 USEF Junior Hunter Championships-East Coast, the $5,000 Pony Commotion Hunter Classic, and the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse
/United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby.
This will be the fifth time that HITS Saugerties has hosted the USEF Junior Hunter Championships-East Coast. The championships will be held on July 27-29 (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday between HITS V & VI) and will offer $50,000 in prize money.
Last year's grand champion was Red Panda, ridden by Jennifer Waxman of Chagrin Falls, OH, and owned by John Ingram. Waxman, who is 17 years old, is still making her summer plans but hopes to be back in Saugerties for this year's championships.
Last year was her third time competing in the championships. "It was really exciting last year," Waxman said. "I really had to win if I wanted to get into indoors, so there was lots of pressure too."
Waxman remembered, "It was a little challenging because we started with the handy hunter class there. The course was tough and careful, and after that I felt pretty confident. It was like we got the hardest thing out of the way and then you go from there."
Waxman and Red Panda have gone on to win numerous championships at some of the biggest shows in the country, but Waxman said it all started to come together last year in Saugerties. "The Junior Hunter Championships were one of biggest things that we won together, and it's when we started to get to know each other. Red Panda is really smart, and now we know each other well."
The championships feature competition for Small Juniors 15 and Under, Large Juniors 15 and Under, Small Juniors 16-17 and Large Juniors 16-17.
The young rider said she enjoyed competing in the grand prix ring and the format of the championships. "I liked showing in the grand prix ring, and that we compete at the beginning of the week," Waxman pointed out. "They make it a pretty big deal, and it's nice when our big class is the highlight. They have nice presentations there as well. I didn't have a lot of horses showing because you only get to show one horse in each division, so your focus is just on two horses."
Also held during the championships is the popular and prestigious Hunterdon Cup, which offers an exciting equitation championship for junior riders. Equitation classes continue with the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal, the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal, and the WIHS Equitation Classic. The Hunterdon Cup Trainer's Award will be presented to the trainer of the winner of the Hunterdon Cup once again this year.
The winner of last year's Hunterdon Cup was Katherine Newman of Wellington, FL. Newman had placed fifth in the class before last year, and she was very excited to win the esteemed event.
Newman, who is now 18 years old and a professional rider, remarked, "It was really fun, and my favorite part was when I got to switch horses, which I had never done before. The top six riders switched horses, and that was something that I was really looking forward to. I didn't know what to expect since I didn't know which horse I would ride. It was hard, but it was fun."
Newman came to Saugerties for the Hunterdon Cup and to compete in the USEF Junior Hunter Championships. "The Hunterdon Cup was a special event," she said. "It was nice that people went to watch the classes, and we were the only thing going on that day. It was really exciting. At that point, it was the biggest equitation class that I had won. It was really cool because it's a special class."
Competing in the grand prix ring was another perk that Newman appreciated. "It was cool to show in the grand pr