HITS Desert Circuit to Host Three Qualifying Events for European Youngster Cup’s New Super Final

Thermal, CA - HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce that the 2011 Desert Circuit in Thermal, California will host three qualifying events for the 2011 European Youngster Cup Jumper Series’ new Super Final, which will be held in Leipzig, Germany during the FEI World Cup Finals this coming April.

The European Youngster Cup, also known as the EY-Cup, is a series for ambitious, top young riders born after January 1, 1985 that culminates in a Finals held each December in Germany. This is the first time that riders will have the opportunity to compete at a Super Final during FEI World Cup Finals and the first time that the United States will host qualifiers for the event.

The United States Equestrian Federation has just finalized the qualifying specifications for this highly-popular international show jumping event and has selected HITS Thermal to produce one of the four qualified North American riders that will be eligible to compete at the EY-Cup Super Final.

"We are thrilled that HITS is offering these qualifiers for the EY-Cup Super Final in Leipzig,” said Lizzy Chesson, Director, Show Jumping High Performance Programs at USEF. “It is a great opportunity for our young show jumpers to be able to qualify to compete internationally against top riders of an equal age. For the Show Jumping High Performance Program this is a valuable step in helping to build our future international jumping riders."

The HITS Desert Circuit will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and will kick off the season on Tuesday, January 25 with the first of six weeks of AA-rated hunter/jumper competition. The three EY-Cup Qualifying classes at Thermal will be held during DC III, February 8-13, DC IV, February 22-27, and DC VI, March 8-13.

“We are honored that the USEF has selected Thermal as a host for this important young jumper rider series,” said Tom Struzzieri, HITS President & CEO. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the United States, and we are thrilled to assist with identifying the best and brightest young equestrians to represent our country at the EY-Cup Super Final. The West Coast has a deep pool of talented riders and I know that the qualified rider who emerges from Thermal will make us all proud.”

The first EY Cup Qualifier will be held as a night class on Thursday, February 10 and will take place in the indoor arena after the $30,000 HITS FEI Welcome Classic. The next opportunity to qualify will come on Sunday, February 27 in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The final qualifier will be held on Sunday, March 13 with the $25,000 California Horsetrader Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic High.

In 2009, seventeen-year-old California native and HITS Desert Circuit exhibitor Lucy Davis captured show-jumping glory when she won the EY-Cup Final at the CSI Frankfurt in Germany. Propelled by a successful season in Thermal and a second-place finish at the 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships, presented by Gotham North, Davis was the sole American rider to take on the Europeans after the top three riders at NAJYRC received invitations. Riding True Love, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Old Oak Farm, Davis jumped clear in the preliminary round, with the eighth fastest time, and then had one fence down in the next round – but her score was good enough to make the final – which featured the top 16 after the first two rounds. Davis and True Love then returned to the ring on Sunday to be crowned champion with the only clear round!

Returning to the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit, Davis captured the $25,000 California Horsetrader Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic High, which will be the final qualifying opportunity at HITS Thermal this year. Riding her EY-Cup partner, True Love, the pair beat out 53 other starters to capture the blue ribbon and first-place prize money. Davis also finished third aboard another Old Oak Farm mount, Nemo 119.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for young riders and we're thankful that HITS is hosting these qualifiers," said Trainer Mary Manfredi. "We are very excited and plan to participate in these classes with our riders."

Specifications for the EY-Cup Qualifiers:
Riders may be Professional or Amateur, and must be born after January 1, 1985. Riders may not have competed on a Nations Cup Team at a CSIO 3* or higher, or in a Grand Prix at a CSI 5* or in a Grand Prix at CSI-W 4* or higher. Riders will be asked to identify themselves as a Youngster Cup Competitor prior to each Qualifier so that their points are tracked.

A rider may ride as many horses in the Qualifying Classes as he/she wishes and is qualified to ride, according to USEF and the horse show Rules and Specifications. Riders competing in the Qualifying Classes with more than one horse must designate which horse will be their “Youngster Cup” horse before the class. A rider will ride their Youngster Cup horse first and only earn points on their Youngster Cup horse.

Riders will be ranked according to a point-based system that will calculate results based on the number of faults per round. The highest scoring rider during the Series will qualify to compete in the Finals in Leipzig, Germany. For complete Qualifying Specifications, please click here or visit HitsShows.com/thermal.

About the EY-Cup
Since the founding of the European Youngster Cup in 2003, the number of participants has increased steadily each year. The EY-Cup also draws the attention of show organizers, because it so easily allows a spotlight to shine on the next generation of the show jumping world. In Frankfurt, participants from Austria, Egypt, Spain, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the United States will all compete for the win in the 2010 EY-Cup Finals which will be held December 12-19, 2010. In addition to this prestigious event, Frankfurt is also offering another, unique opportunity. The Super Finals of the EY-Cup will be held in conjunction with the 2011 FEI World Cup Finals in Leipzig, from April 27 to May 1, with the best participants from Europe and the United States competing. For more information please visit: EYCup.eu.

The 2011 HITS Desert Circuit prize list has been mailed and is available on-line at HitsShows.com. For more information or to request a prize list, please visit HitsShows.com or call 845.246.8833.  

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 took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural $500,000 HITS 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10 -11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

Photo: Lucy Davis and True Love on course in the $25,000 California Horsetrader Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic High at the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit. In 2011, the $25,000 California Horsetrader Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic High will serve as a EY-Cup Qualifier on Sunday, March 13.  ©Flying Horse Photography.