Ocala, FL - Show jumping competition kicked off today at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in Ocala, Florida under sunny skies with the first of two Pre-Circuit Weeks of competition. This season in Ocala is particularly special, as the circuit is celebrating its 30th Anniversary of hosting hunter/jumper competition in the Sunshine State.
While the first two weeks of competition are often used as a warm-up for the six-week circuit of AA-rated competition which begins on February 8, riders will have plenty of exciting classes to choose from over the next 10 days. Highlighting the schedule each week are the $500 Marshall & Sterling Children's/Adult Hunter Classic, $5,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, and the $15,000 Friday Open Mini Prix, while the main events will be the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and the annual $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Children's/Adult Jumper Championship.
Each Devoucoux Hunter Prix offered at HITS Ocala this season will be a qualifier for the all-new Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final and every Grand Prix will be a qualifier for the 2011 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. Both of these incredible events will take place the weekend of September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
The $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Children's/Adult Jumper Championship is a unique, four-leg event that will span both weeks of the Pre-Circuit and award riders $2,500 for the first leg, $4,000 for the second leg, $4,000 for the third leg, and $5,000 for the fourth leg. There's also an additional $5,000 Bonus that will be awarded to the top eight competitors who have accumulated the most points throughout the four legs of competition.
The 500-acre HITS Post Time Farm facility is an equestrian haven for horsemen where Short Stirrup riders earn their first blue ribbons and High-Performance athletes give awe-inspiring performances. HITS Ocala, like all of HITS circuits, is known for its vastly inclusive schedule that enables trainers to accommodate the diverse needs of their entire barn without sacrificing comfort, competition, or opportunity.
"It's always nice to bring the whole barn down to Ocala for the winter," said David Perlman of Riverstone Farm in Garrison, New York. "Everything here is looking really great, as usual! There are so many rings and areas to ride, which is so good for the horses. The Pre-Circuit is nice and calm, and with the classes held over the next two weeks, the horses should be fit and ready for the rated circuit."
HITS Post Time Farm is coming to life as the barns begin to fill and exhibitors settle into their all-familiar routines. The Pre-Circuit entries are a mix of new faces, as well as longtime patrons Patty Stovel, Aaron Vale and Laura Linback, just to name a few.
Speaking of Ocala regulars, Maryland's Tracy Magness found herself back in the winner's circle. Magness and Mr. & Mrs. John Bartko's Tarco Van Ter Moude kicked-off the first day of show jumping with a big win in the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. The pair has been a dominant force to reckon with each winter in the Grand Prix ring and now have plenty of momentum heading into Sunday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
As preparations gear up for the rated circuit, exhibitors will soon be able to sit back and enjoy The Overlook Club, HITS Ocala's latest VIP upgrade. Once completed, the all-new facility will include a fully equipped kitchen, semi-permanent sides for improved climate control, and a solid-surface floor. Situated between the Grand Prix and Main Hunter Rings, The Overlook Club will offer beautiful VIP seating for tables of eight, breakfast and lunch service from Wednesdays through Saturdays and a scrumptious, specialty catered luncheon on each Grand Prix Sunday by one of HITS Ocala's VIP Restaurant Partners. The Overlook Club is set to open on Wednesday, February 9. For more information on The Overlook Club, please see a horse show secretary or call 352.620.2275.
If you don't have a seat in The Overlook Club and can't make it to the show grounds for the Grand Prix, not to worry Galopando TV has you covered. This season you can now watch every Grand Prix at HITS on Galopando TV at www.galopandotv.com, either live during the event for a small fee, or after the event for no charge. At any time throughout the year, viewers can watch select competitions from HITS Ocala.
For more information on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, 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 Diamond Mills $500,000 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 www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
Photo: Tracy Magness and Tarco Van Ter Moude take home the win in the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. © ESI Photography.