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Improvements at HITS Desert Horse Park Continue for 2009 Desert Circuit

Thermal, CA - June 30, 2008 - Since the close of the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, CA, the management team of the horse show has been working diligently to make improvements and renovations to the facility. It is now seven months before the 2009 winter show season, and HITS is pleased to announce some of the changes that they have made to their successful show facility.

One of the most notable improvements that will be made in 2009 are new tent stalls that HITS has invested in. They are constructed of wood and steel dividers, which are superior to many of the vinyl stalls used today. Exhibitors in Saugerties, New York were the first to experience the new stalls and response was overwhelmingly positive, with many exhibitors noting that the new design allows for more comfort for the horses and better ventilation. The addition of these stalls gives HITS more than 3,000 available stalls at the HITS Desert Horse Park.

A new berm will be added to the property this coming November alongside the entire west end of the property, which will help block wind from the show grounds and the RV area. This will aid in keeping dust down for the rings and stabling areas. Landscaping has been added around the facility, which is another deterrent to wind and dust. HITS hired a desert landscaper, who helped to identify plants that would thrive in the dry desert ground, and new plantings will also help to dress up the front office and other areas throughout the show grounds.

Inside of the rings, HITS will once again feature the beautiful jumps custom designed by Olaf Petersen especially for HITS. The Grand Prix ring will once again feature the oversized jumps, which are perfectly suited for that arena. As for course decorations, HITS has invited 2008 Olympic Course Decorator Flora Baptiston to decorate for the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit. Baptiston spent the winter in Ocala and the spring in Saugerties, before heading off to Hong Kong for the 2008 Olympics.

Many of these improvements have been made through suggestions made by exhibitors and trainers at last year's shows. HITS has a committee that they work with in order to find the most salient ideas to upgrade the facility. The committee will also be tapped for ideas on the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit prize list, which is in the early stages of development.

Working with this committee is Dale Harvey, who is a part of the HITS West Coast Management Team. He is a technical coordinator at the show and has years of experience at producing horse shows in California. 2009 will be Harvey's second year with HITS, and he said he helps "focus on the details that separate a mediocre show from something that's above the rest."

Harvey pointed out that the HITS Desert Horse Park is only three years old, and improvements always need to be made to horse show facilities. "As you develop a facility of that size and caliber, it's a long process that takes many, many years to really be completed, to where you could actually say it's finished," he said.

The HITS Desert Circuit is the biggest horse show on the West Coast of the United States and one of the biggest in North America. They attract many top Grand Prix riders that compete in High-Performance classes, such as the World Cup Qualifiers. "Look at what's happening across the world in terms of equestrian competition, like the Global Champions Tour and the Professional Riders Tour (in Europe). Horse shows are growing around the world," Harvey pointed out. "We're doing everything that we can to keep pace with that, to make sure that we are producing and making those types of events available to our competitors in the United States."

While the Grand Prix classes are a major part of the HITS Desert Circuit, it is not forgotten that many of the competitors are there for smaller and non-professional divisions. "It's important that all of the rings are done with a level of quality and all of the footing is good," Harvey said. "In addition to their own competition, the riders at all levels have an opportunity to see the High-Performance riders right next door to where they are. They can see those riders every week, and I think that's a pretty special opportunity."

More improvements are on the way for the HITS Desert Horse Park, and more exciting announcements will be made throughout the summer leading up to the start of the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit. To find out more about the HITS Desert Circuit, 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

DC III, February 3-8

OFF-WEEK, February 9-15

DC IV, February 17-22

DC V, February 24 - March 1

DC VI, March 3-8

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: New wood and steel portable horse stalls and tents have been installed at the HITS Desert Horse Park for the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit. Photo courtesy of HITS, Inc. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.

 

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