Property Improvements and Schedule Enhancements Make 2010 HITS Winter Circuits Even Better
RELEASE: October 29, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood
HITS, Inc., is pleased to announce improvements to their winter circuit facilities and schedule enhancements for their shows in Ocala, FL, and Thermal, CA. The 2010 HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, CA, will have six weeks of competition from January 26 to March 14, while the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will run from January 19 to March 21.
"We are ramping up for another great winter season with some exciting updates and enhancements for our shows in Thermal and Ocala," said Tom Struzzieri, HITS President and CEO. "In Thermal our main focus will be landscaping and dust control, while in Ocala we'll be concentrating on updating the Grand Prix footing to match the product we used in Saugerties this past season, which was very popular with our customers. We will also have updated jumps in both locations, and we are making plans for the increased use of scoreboards at each venue."
Property improvements have been made every year at HITS Thermal, and the 2010 season is no different. More landscaping will be added throughout the facility, including more artificial grass on the berms. Almost 750 new trees will be planted over the next few months, and steps have also been taken to control dust on the property. Black-top material has been added to the parking lots and to most of the roads leading to the show rings.
The indoor arena for World Cup qualifying grand prix events has been a very popular addition at HITS Thermal, and in 2010 a covered schooling ring will also be erected adjacent to the arena. This will enable riders to warm up in similar conditions for the indoor classes.
Enhancements to the schedule at HITS Thermal are another way that HITS is working to improve the show experience for their customers. A $10,000 HITS 3'3" Hunter Derby has been added in a dedicated ring on Weeks I, II, IV, V, and VI. HITS will host the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse
/United States HUnter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby during Week III for the third consecutive year.
HITS Thermal will also host two selection trials for the Zone 10 North American Junior Young Rider Championships with the $3,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner Young Rider Qualifying class and $25,000 California Horsetrader
Junior/Amateur-Owner (A-O) Jumper Classic High during Week VI.
In addition to four World Cup qualifiers, the indoor arena will host the $5,000 HITS Team Championship on Friday, February 5, and the HITS Relay will take place on Friday, February 26.
"Classes in the indoor arena continue to be popular, so in addition to the medal classes we offered last year, we wanted to mix in some new events to give other riders a chance to compete in that setting," added Struzzieri. "This year's schedule will also include a Level 6 jumper and a $1,000 Children's/Adult Jumper Classic to be held in the indoor arena."
As always, the HITS Desert Circuit will feature popular favorites like the $5,000 PCHA Jimmy Williams Classic during Weeks I-V, which will once again be held in the Grand Prix ring on Saturday afternoons, and in Week VI the prize money increases with the $15,000 BerdgorfGoodman.com/PCHA Jimmy Williams Classic. The Junior/A-O Jumper Classics will be offered every week for both Medium and High divisions and the Ronnie R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship returns for its third season at HITS Thermal.
All 16 Grand Prix events are qualifiers for the $1 Million United States Grand Prix League Grand Prix, including four FEI World Cup qualifiers and the Season Finale $300,000 Grand Prix of the Desert on Sunday, March 14. For a complete list of class offerings and the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit schedule, please visit www.HitsShows.com
In preparation for the 2010 Ocala Winter Circuit, HITS will be updating the Grand Prix ring footing at Post Time Farm to match what was used in Saugerties this past summer. New mats will also be installed in Hunter 1 and Hunter 1 schooling rings for improved drainage.
"We outfitted the Grand Prix ring with mats a couple of years ago with great results. The mats will be a nice improvement for the Main Hunter and schooling rings," noted Struzzieri.
In the schedule, a $10,000 Marshall & Sterling 3'3" Hunter Derby has been added in a dedicated ring during Weeks I-IV, while the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse
/USHJA International Hunter Derby will run during Week V.
Another significant difference for 2010 is the separation of the junior and amateur-owner jumper classics. HITS Ocala will now offer a Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic each week, while separating juniors and amateur-owners for both the Medium and High classics during Weeks I-V. Week VI will feature a combined Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic as well as a High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. The schedule is as follows:
- $2,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Low - Weeks I-VI
- $5,000 NAL Junior Jumper Classic Medium - Weeks I-V
- $5,000 NAL Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Medium - Weeks I-V
- $10,000 U-DUMP Junior Jumper Classic High - Weeks I-V
- $10,000 U-DUMP Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic High - Weeks I-V
- $10,000 NAL Junior/A-O Jumper Classic Medium - Week VI
- $25,000 U-DUMP Junior/A-O Jumper Classic High - Week VI
"These clients, historically, drive the sport in Ocala and this year we are really happy to reward them with these new divisions. There's a significant increase in prize money for this audience over what we offered last year, about $50,000 more. Now, riders will be able to jump for great money at their own level and we expect this to be a very popular change," said Struzzieri.
Dana Waters is an amateur jumper rider out of Sparr, FL, and Valencia, PA. She rides with her husband, Chuck Waters, at their Waterworks Farm. The Waters' daughter, Hayley, will make the move up to the Junior Jumpers this winter in Ocala.
Waters has shown at the HITS Ocala Winter circuit since 1992 and looks forward to competing this year with her High division horse Vertigo and Biloxi, who will compete in the Medium division, a new addition to this year's jumper schedule.
"I think the Medium division is a tremendous addition to the schedule," Waters said. "In my experience, there's a pretty big gap between the Lows and the Highs. The High horses are truly a different group of horses. To try to bring a young horse along to be able to move up or just to try it if you're on the cusp is mostly too hard of a leap from the Lows to the Highs. I think that's true at all of the horse shows. For me, it's great because you have an extra stepping stone in there to know where your horses belong."
Waters is happy that the Juniors and Amateurs are separated, but not only for the fact that she won't have to compete against her daughter. "From a competitor's standpoint, it's nice because it spreads the winnings out enough for what people want to do at the end of the year, which is indoors," she explained. "There are lots of great junior riders, even though there are more amateur competitors, especially in the High division. Before, there were eight people who got ribbons that received money which counted towards indoors, and instead of eight out of the 75 riders getting a check, now there will be 16 of them getting a check. It makes a difference when you are planning for the end of the year, at the beginning of the year."
The increase in prize money is another facet that makes competing at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit fulfilling. "It's great to have this kind of prize money for the Amateur Jumpers. The High division horses compete at a very high level and they cost a lot of money," Waters noted. "It's nice to be able to offset your expenses a little if you have a good day. For a lot of amateurs and juniors, they're trying to find a way to break into the Grand Prix (classes) and the $25,000 Junior/Amateur class traditionally has been on par with a lot of $25,000 Grand Prix classes that are held in different places. This gives you the confidence to go and try that later in the year."
All 14 Grand Prix events offered at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit are qualifiers for the $1 Million USGPL Grand Prix, including the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix of Ocala, presented by Great American Insurance Group. For more information on the 2010 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, please visit www.HitsShows.com
The HITS winter show circuits in Thermal and Ocala are sure to be a big draw for riders, owners, and trainers this year with improved facilities and schedules that work for every competitor.
Announcements on special classes, judges, course designers, prize money, and more will be made regularly for all of the HITS Horse Show circuits. To learn of the latest news, please become a fan of HITS' page on Facebook and sign up to receive HITS' Twitter updates.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the $1 Million USGPL Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
To keep on track with the updates or to request a copy of the winter circuit prize lists, please visit www.HitsShows.com