Ocala, Florida (February 8, 2015): Course designer Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida, utilized the entire Ocala Horse Properties Stadium to create a challenging two rounds of hunter competition at HITS Ocala Week IV. Both the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix courses included broken lines, long approaches and rollbacks.
Thirty seven jumped the first round of the Devoucoux with the top 12 returning for a second attempt at the blue ribbon. The combined scores determined the winner with less than a point between the top two horses.
Ocala native David Connors aboard Karmin, a horse he co-owns with Bill Ellis of Four Winds Farm, was the winner with scores of 85 and 87 for a total of 172. Connors’ last minute decision to show in the class proved to be a strategic one, walking out of the ring with a smile and the $2,800 purse.
“This is her first time in the stadium. She was champion earlier in the week in the Green Conformation, after which we took her home and turned her out,” said Ellis. “I asked David yesterday afternoon if he wanted to show Karmin in the Hunter Prix and he said ‘sure’. This morning we braided her up and here we are.”
“I had a blast riding in this ring. It was my first time and a great experience. Karmin was as calm as could be,” added Connors.
Hasbrouck Donovan of Gainesville, Florida, rode her own Cymplify to a competitive first round score of 83.5. Donovan was first to go in round two and lead the class with a high of 88, earning second place overall with a score of 171.5.
Finishing third with scores of 82.5 and 86.5 for a total of 169 was David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio, aboard Lavish, owned by Phyllis Harlow. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina, rode Caroline Russell Howe’s Caramo to fourth with scores of 85.5 and 83.25 for a total of 168.75.
“It’s a fantastic class in the stadium. It lets the good jumpers and the mature horse excel. I love the fact that HITS offers a hunter classic with money each week,” said Chopping.
Lauren Schweppe riding Sandrimo, owned by Meadowood Farm, rounded out the top five with scores of 84 and 84.5.
Devoucoux, maker of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to the phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. Devoucoux offers a wide range of saddles in many colors and sizes and matching accessories. Devoucoux craftsmen are devoted to creating beautiful products that reflect their obsession with quality and lovingly finished work. For more information on Devoucoux, visit devoucoux.com.