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HITS Desert Circuit Pleased to Announce New Footing in Two Hunter Rings for 2009

Thermal, CA - September 18, 2008 - The HITS Desert Circuit will run for eight weeks of competition in 2009 from January 20 to March 22. A large improvement is planned for the HITS Desert Horse Park with the installation of new footing in the two main hunter rings.

The footing will be the same materials that were used last year for the grand prix ring and indoor arena, which was praised universally by the High Performance and jumper riders. It consists of Geopad felt, which is the perfect blend of footing to provide a superior competition surface and maximize cushion on take-off and landing.

In addition to the new hunter ring footing, a new VIP tent will be added between the two main hunter rings. It will provide breakfast, light snacks, and refreshments as well as the perfect viewing area for hunter enthusiasts. VIP Oasis Club members will have access to both VIP areas with the purchase of a table. In addition, new landscaping will also be added around the hunter rings as well.

"Our Advisory Committee had noted that in 2008 it appeared as though much of the focus was on the Jumpers and not as much on the Hunters," said Tom Struzzieri, HITS President and CEO. "And while that certainly wasn't the intention, we want to make sure that in 2009 that perception is addressed. That's why in addition to the footing updates in the two main Hunter rings, which I'm confident will help to improve riders' experiences, we are also creating a new Hunter VIP area on a new berm between Hunter 1 and 2, as well as landscaping updates to that part of the property. All of these plans are aimed at creating an atmosphere of excellence for all exhibitors."

Top hunter trainer Mary Manfredi of San Francisco, CA, runs her business Davenport West. She has competed at the HITS Indio and now HITS Thermal winter circuits for five years and is a member of the Advisory Committee.

"The hunters that go to Thermal are of the same quality as the jumpers at Thermal. We on the Committee thought those horses deserved to show and work in the same quality footing," Manfredi explained. "The footing in the grand prix ring was awesome last year, and I'm excited that we're going to have the same for the hunters. I think that the horse show is working to make things better and hopefully the Committee helps with that. I think the footing upgrade for the hunter rings will improve the quality of the horse show too."

One of California's most well-known trainers, Karen Healey, also had high praise for the grand prix ring footing and the decision to add it to the hunter rings. "The footing in the jumper ring last year was beyond great. It was perfect, I have to say. I think everybody should be very, very happy with it in the hunter rings," Healey said. "I think that last year they really focused on the jumper areas and it was dramatically improved. They did everything they said they were going to do and more."

She added, "The horses, whether they do hunters, jumpers, or equitation, have enormous workloads. Anything that is going to make their life easier, make them jump better, and give less chance of injury or strain because of good footing is a win-win situation for everyone. The horses go better, they jump better, and they stay fresher."

The 2009 HITS Desert Circuit prize will be available in the fall. If you would like more information on the HITS Desert Circuit or to request a prize list, please visit http://www.hitsshows.com.


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.


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


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


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: Marla Amormino takes to the field aboard Dutch Star as a packed VIP Oasis Club looks on during the 2008 USHJA Hunter Derby Classic at HITS Thermal. In 2009, HITS will introduce the same footing in the two main hunter rings that was used last season in the Grand Prix ring. Photo (C) Matt Hinton. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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