SAUGERTIES, NY (October 1, 2001)-Horse Shows In the Sun (HITS), producer of six world class hunter/jumper horse show circuits nationwide, has announced the purchase of a new site in Ocala, Florida, for the five-week HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. The new facility, formerly Post Time Training Center, is a 300+ acre property located two miles west of the current facility on Highway 27. HITS crews will prepare the new show grounds to be ready for the 2002 Ocala Winter Circuit which will run from February 6 to March 10.
The Post Time Training Center was originally built for thoroughbred racehorses. The 300+ acres are professionally landscaped and feature gated entrances, 52 miles of four-board fencing, 26 permanent barns that house 500 stalls, numerous paddocks, bridle paths, and additional buildings for the horse show office, restaurant, and on-site school.
Horse Shows In The Sun has presented the Ocala Winter Circuit Horse Shows in Ocala/Marion County, the heart of Florida's horse country, for two decades. For many of those years, the Golden Hills International Show grounds were home to the shows. In 1995, HITS purchased the facility, but recently sold it. "While our site at Golden Hills served the horse shows well for many years, we had maximized the usable space and were limited by the layout," said Tom Struzzieri, president and owner of HITS. "I felt it was time for a show grounds that had greater acreage so that we could provide our exhibitors and their horses with more space and more options, and some of the amenities we offer at our other sites such as Indio."
The HITS Ocala hunter/jumper horse show circuit has continued to grow over the years in numbers of exhibitors as well as prize money awarded. In 2001, more than 2,000 horses and 4,500 horsemen competed at HITS Ocala each week. Total prize money awarded at the five-week circuit was $750,000.
The economic impact of HITS Ocala on the surrounding community is estimated at $30 million, which reflects exhibitor spending on food, lodging, living expenses, and entertainment during the circuit.