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HITS Desert Circuit Focuses on Providing First-Rate Competition for All Levels of Riders

Thermal, CA - August 6, 2008 - The HITS Desert Circuit features eight weeks of competition at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, CA. In 2009, these shows will run from January 20 to March 22. While the HITS Desert Circuit has a large emphasis on High Performance sport, the majority of their schedule contains divisions that span the entire range of riding levels.

Once again, this year's HITS Desert Circuit will offer classes for the beginning rider, with popular favorites like the Children's Pony Hunters, Maiden Equitation and Novice Adult Hunters. Beginning jumper riders can compete in lower divisions, and there are young jumper classes for horses. The list of divisions expand as the expertise level raises, which includes Pony Hunters and Jumpers, Children's and Adult Hunters and Jumpers, and Junior and Amateur-Owner Hunters and Jumpers. Junior and Amateur riders will have the opportunity to compete in the Bit O' Straw 2'6" Hunter Classic each week. For professional riders, they can start their horses in Baby Green Hunter divisions and continue through the Regular Working Hunters.

There are also classes at HITS Desert Circuit that give riders a jump start on qualifying for special final competitions in the fall, including the Marshall and Sterling Finals and the North American League Finals.

Dorthe Olsen is an Adult Amateur rider from Camas, WA. She was born and raised in Denmark and moved to the United States in 1983. Olsen did not start riding until 2001, but she is now an eager participant. She competes at the HITS Desert Circuit with her trainers, Jeff and Shelley Campf of Oz, Inc. During the 2008 season, Olsen won the circuit championship in the Maiden Equitation division and competes in the Novice Adult Hunters on her horse Accolade.

"For me, going to Thermal is the biggest event of the year as far as riding goes!" Olsen exclaimed. "I love the layout and the permanent stalls, which is where we are stabled. The stalls are full of light. The horses can hang their heads out, and they just seem very happy and content. I really like the way the rings are laid out. It all makes sense and is easy to get to. I really like the whole show facility."

Olsen also appreciates the great weather that Thermal has in the winter. "For us in the Pacific Northwest, it is a show we all look forward to. The opportunity to get away from the cold weather and go show eight weeks in a row among some of the best riders in the country is something we all dream about," she said. "For me it feels like an eight-week vacation."

With the huge range of riders that compete at the HITS Desert Circuit, Olsen has the opportunity to see equestrians at the top level of the sport. "It's been a super experience for me to compete there and meet all these famous riders. I love watching all of those classes. I've gotten to meet a lot of people that I normally would never meet," she pointed out. "Thermal has been a really positive experience for me."

Madison Cameron of Portland, OR, began riding at the age of nine. In the five years since, she has moved up the ranks from the Short Stirrup division to the Junior Hunters at the HITS Desert Circuit. Cameron is also a student of the Campfs.

"I think it's developed a lot since it was first built," Cameron said of the facility. "I think that it's a great facility, and I think it's going to keep growing. It's a phenomenal experience to show there because it's so different from home. The shows in Oregon are smaller because we have less people that ride. People from all over the country come to Thermal, (so) the competition is incredible."

At the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit, Cameron and her horse Teacher's Pet showed for the first time at the 3'6" level. Cameron won in the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters and in the Equitation 14-15 division. But, the highlight of her winter experience came when Cameron showed in the USHJA International Hunter Derby.

After her success at the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit, Cameron took what she learned and applied it. "All of her experiences at Thermal gave her so much confidence," said Lyn Cameron, Madison's mother. "Showing at Thermal definitely gives Maddy an edge when she comes home. The competition is so good, the courses are challenging and it is a great boost to her self-confidence."

Cameron also enjoys the opportunity to see the High Performance side of the sport. "It's an amazing experience to be there and see Richard Spooner doing the grand prix and then be able to compete against him in the International Hunter Derby. Just seeing all those amazing riders and being there with them is cool," she said.

At the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit, Cameron will be back to compete in the junior hunters and equitation, and she hopes to show again in the USHJA International Hunter Derby.

HITS Thermal not only offers the most divisions, classes and prize money west of the Mississippi, the circuit is also dedicated to recognizing the efforts and achievements of riders at every level. Each year, hundreds of Circuit Awards are earned by exhibitors from all over North America and beyond for their outstanding accomplishments at the HITS Desert Circuit. In fact, Circuit Champs are crowned three times during the HITS Desert Circuit - Mid, Second-Half and the Antares Sellier France Overall Circuit Awards - providing riders numerous opportunities to be rewarded for their successes.

In addition, HITS Thermal is sanctioned by the following organizations: USEF, PCHA, FEI, Marshall & Sterling League, NMHJA, OCHSA, OHJA, WSHJA and WCHR. New for the 2009 season, HITS Thermal will also be sanctioned by the San Fernando Valley Horse Show Association (SFVHA).

If you are looking for a winter horse show circuit with a variety of class levels, multiple show rings with excellent footing, great stabling, and the chance to gain valuable competition experience, then the HITS Desert Circuit is an ideal choice. For more information or to request a prize list, please visit http://www.hitsshows.com.



HITS DESERT CIRCUIT FAST FACTS

EVENT: HITS Desert Circuit

WHEN: Tuesday through Sunday, January 20-March 22, 2009

DC I, January 20-25

DC II, January 27 - February 1, CSI-W

DC III, February 3-8, CSI-W

OFF-WEEK, February 9-15

DC IV, February 17-22, CSI-W

DC V, February 24 - March 1

DC VI, March 3-8, CSI-W

DC VII, March 10-15

DC VIII, March 17-22

WHAT: Eight-week hunter/jumper horse show circuit produced by HITS, Inc.

WHERE: HITS Desert Horse Park, 85-555 Airport Blvd., Thermal, CA 92274. The HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California is located just southeast of Palm Springs and is close to many of the area's finest restaurants, spas, hotels and world-class golf courses.

HOURS: 8 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m.

DIRECTIONS:

From points West: From I-10 E. Keep RIGHT to take CA-86 Spur S toward Brawley / El Centro. 6.5 miles. Turn RIGHT onto Airport Blvd. 2.2 miles. End at 85-555 Airport Blvd.

From points East: From I-10 W. Take the Dillon Rd exit toward CA-86S Expressway / Coachella. 0.2 miles. Turn LEFT onto Dillon Rd. 0.7 miles. Turn LEFT to take the CA-86S-Expressway S ramp. 0.2 miles, Merge onto CA-86 Spur S. 5.2 miles Turn RIGHT onto Airport Blvd. 2.2 miles. End at 85-555 Airport Blvd.

PARKING: Parking is free.

ADMISSION: No admission charge Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday admission is $5 per person, children under 12 are free.

SHOW GROUNDS: 13 all-weather hunter, jumper and equitation rings located on 239 acres.

CLASSES: Approximately 250 classes take place each week including multiple Grand Prix classes throughout the week.

ATTENDANCE: Approximately 3,500 horses and 10,500 horsemen are on the grounds, and more than 25,000 spectators attend during the eight-week event.

PRIZE MONEY: More than $2 million

VIP SEATING: The Oasis Club Pavilion is at the Grand Prix ring for VIP seating, and a new VIP area will be added to the berm between the Main Hunter ring and Hunter 1. VIP parking is also available.

FOOD: Prepared and served by HITS food service personnel, a complete and diverse menu of food and beverages is available at three locations on the show grounds every show day.

SHOPPING: The Desert Marketplace located near the Grand Prix arena features dozens of shops offering quality equestrian gear, apparel, jewelry, videos and more.

ECONOMIC IMPACT: Based on an independent study commissioned by HITS from Sport Management Research Institute of Weston, Florida, the total economic impact produced by the Thermal Desert Circuit equates to $121,734,061 per year.

IN BRIEF: 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.

ON-SITE SCHOOL: For information on HITS' School Station please contact Mary Cunning 802.318.6924or mycunning@msn.com or schoolstation@msn.com

HITS DESERT HORSE PARK:

Important - use this contact information only during the horse show.

HITS Desert Horse Park

85-555 Airport Blvd.

Thermal, CA 92274

Phone: 760.399.9200

HITS, INC.

319 Main St.

Saugerties, NY 12477

Phone: 845.246.8833

Fax: 845.246.6371

E-mail: info@HitsShows.com

Web site: http://www.HitsShows.com





Photo Credit: Dorthe Olsen and her mount Accolade at HITS Thermal (top) and Madison Cameron aboard her small junior hunter mount Kingston, competing at HITS Thermal in 2008 (bottom). Photo (C) 2008 Flying Horse Photography. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.

 

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