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HITS Thermal West Coast Advisory Committee gathers for post-season wrap up

THERMAL, CA (April 18, 2008)—As a follow up to the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California, HITS Management and members of the newly formed West Coast Advisory Committee gathered via conference call earlier this week to recap the circuit and begin discussing plans and priorities for the 2009 season.

The Committee was formed in early March to assist Management with the future stages of the development for the new HITS Desert Horse Park. Members were carefully selected and represent a well-respected cross section of the equine community from various areas on the West Coast including, Rich Fellers (Willsonville, Oregon), Mary Manfredi (San Francisco, California), Rudy Leone (Sacramento, California), Lori DeRosa (San Diego, California), Joe Thorpe (Glendora, California), Tracy Baer (Huntington Beach, California) and Joie Gatlin (San Juan Capistrano, California). Within the group, both hunter and jumpers are represented ensuring that both disciplines receive attention and input.

"I am excited for the future of the Thermal horse show," said Tracy Baer. "We, as trainers, are fortunate to have such a motivated management team that allows us to be involved in the development of the facility. The committee members all had excellent ideas and it was interesting to listen to what each of them had to say."

Discussions centered around the reaction to improvements made for the 2008 season, including footing and the numerous aesthetic enhancements. Comments were also shared from each participant on what they believed to be the most important items to be considered for the 2009 season and beyond. The feedback was varied and included focus on additional landscaping and aesthetic changes throughout the property, as well as entry closing dates and schedules, more shaded seating at the rings, add/scratch policies, gates on rings, dividing the space in the larger schooling areas and ring grooming equipment, just to name a few.

"I'm pleased with the participation and honesty of this eclectic group of exhibitors," said Tom Struzzieri, HITS President and CEO. "I was especially glad to find that each of them put so much effort into their feedback, proactively reaching out to the broader equine community to get additional input. That's just what we were hoping this committee would do, represent the West Coast customer base."

In addition to Struzzieri, other members of the West Coast Management Team participated in the call, including Dale Harvey, Technical Coordinator and High Performance Liaison, Fred Bauer, Vice President West Coast Operations, and Brian Morris, Manager of the HITS Desert Circuit. The team shared some of the broad initial plans for 2009, including the potential to bring on a desert landscaping expert to assist with the next stages of property development.

"I was encouraged by the group's response and interest in this project," said Harvey. "I'm confident that the momentum and contributions will continue to grow stronger in the months to come as we prepare for another great circuit in Thermal."

"It was a good introductory meeting," said Joie Gatlin. "We covered a lot of topics of concern and made quite a few suggestions. Hopefully the committee will be viewed as a proactive group helping to continue to improve our winter Desert Circuit."

Over the course of the off-season, HITS will continue its presence and outreach on the West Coast, as Bauer will be meeting face-to-face with trainers to personally follow up on the circuit.

"It's important to us that each trainer feels engaged in the circuit," said Bauer. "These individual meetings will also help to contribute to the topics and ideas addressed by the Committee and HITS Management."

HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com


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