Thermal, CA- After a week-long hiatus, the HITS Desert Circuit came back with a bang. Action-packed show jumping competition resumed during Desert Circuit V with the $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome; horses and riders returned from the off-week to contend for the first big victory of the second-half of the circuit.
Desert Circuit V’s $5,000 Brook Ledge Welcome commenced on Wednesday afternoon as riders and horses returned to HITS Desert Horse Park to contend for the blue in the second half of the Desert Circuit. Brazilian course designer, Anderson de Moura Lima, set an inviting, 1.45m course of 13 jumping efforts. That afternoon, it all came down to speed in HITS Grand Prix Stadium—most of the winning rounds stayed in the first half of the order, as the top five put down speedy, clear rounds divided by only fractions of a second.
Eight went clear in the first round to advance to the immediately following jump-off. With many valiant efforts in the books, only six were able to conquer the shortened course and go double-clear under the time allowed of 47 seconds.
First into the HITS Grand Prix Stadium was Brittany Albrecq of Valencia, California, riding Enzo, owned by October Hill Hunters and Jumpers. Albrecq and Enzo had their sights set on a blue-ribbon victory as they put down a clear jump-off round, galloping through the timers in 35.030, setting the tone for the rest of the competitors.
Following Albrecq, was Michelle Parker aboard Cupilor, owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc. The equestrian from San Marcos, California, and her speedy partner Cupilor are no strangers to this arena. They flew passed the markers, in a rapid 32.445 seconds. Parker and Cupilor took three seconds off Albrecq’s time, garnering the lead.
Next to test the course was Susie Hutchison, of Temecula, California, aboard Ziedento, a speedy bay gelding proudly owned by St.Bride’s Farm of Upperville, Virginia. Winners of the Week I $5,000 Brook Ledge Welcome, another victory in Week V was on the horizon for Hutchison and Ziedento. They raced through the finishing markers in a blazing fast time of 32.309 seconds, taking over the short-lived lead from Parker.
Elicia Edgar riding Hitchcock Van Overis, owned by Valleyfield Farm, followed Hutchison. Edgar navigated the jump-off round with precision, crossing the markers in a clear 32.750, just short of Hutchison’s time.
Alberta, Canada, equestrian Jaclyn Duff riding her own Stakkarus, was next in the ring. With four clear, quick rounds in the books, Duff knew she needed to move quickly through the course and leave to rails up if she was to top the leaderboard. Duff and Stakkarus moved confidently through the shortened course, clocking in with a fault-free 32.715-second round, not quite fast enough for the lead, edging out Edgar on the leaderboard.
The last clear round to go into the HITS Grand Prix Stadium was the rider from Northern California, Macella O’Neill aboard Boccaccio, owned by Colleen May of Napa, California. O’Neill and Boccaccio finished the jump-off in 34.246, earning them fifth-place and sealing the victory for Hutchison. Parker and Cupilor earned second-place, Duff earned third and Edgar finished in fourth.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.