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HITS Saugerties Brings World-Class Course Designers for Top Show Jumping Events

Saugerties, NY - May 19, 2009 - With two grand prix events each week, HITS Saugerties provides some of the greatest show jumping competition in America. To facilitate that, HITS, Inc. has hired some of the best course designers in the world for this year's shows.

The HITS Saugerties Spring Horse Show Series begins this Wednesday, May 20. The first week runs through Sunday, May 24, and is followed by Week II on May 27-31 and Week III on June 3-7. The shows are held at the beautiful HITS-on-the-Hudson facility and will host many of the top show jumpers in the nation.

Starting out the HITS Saugerties circuit will be renowned course designer Olaf Petersen, Sr. of Germany. He will design during weeks one and five of this year's Saugerties shows.

Petersen is one of the most accomplished course designers in the world, in addition to being an international judge and President of the Jumping Committee of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). He was the course designer at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the top technical delegate at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, an official supplier of services to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, and was a course designer at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Most recently, Petersen was the FEI Technical Delegate for the 2008 Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong.

Florencio Hernandez is an FEI-rated course designer from Mexico. He will design courses during week two and has designed before for HITS at the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, CA. He has assisted course designers in such prestigious competitions as three Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the World Cup Finals, and the Central American Games.

Hernandez is looking forward to designing in Saugerties. He said, "I think HITS produces very good horse shows in different places. They all have good location, rings, jumps, staff, and sponsors. I enjoy working with the HITS staff, and their competitions are very important for horse sport."

Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, an FEI-rated course designer and veterinarian, will be setting the courses during week three and will have the honor of setting the course for the $125,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix on Sunday, June 7 to close out the spring shows. Jorge is new to HITS Saugerties, but is a much-praised designer and has set at HITS Desert Circuit and HITS Ocala Winter Circuit before.

Jorge has built at such prestigious events as Spruce Meadows for the past six years, the North American Young Riders Championships, and World Cup qualifiers in Canada, England, Finland, and the United States. Jorge's biggest work has happened in the past three years, starting with the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in 2005 and 2007 and the Pan American Games in Brazil last year.

Also new to HITS Saugerties this season is Bernardo Cabral of Portugal. Cabral designed at the HITS Desert Circuit this winter, and he will be at week six of HITS Saugerties challenging riders in the $125,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix on Sunday, August 2, to close out the summer shows.

Danny Foster of Canada is a recognized face at HITS Saugerties. He was the first ever course designer at the HITS-on-the-Hudson facility and will be designing this year during week four. A former competitor, Danny was an integral member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team, bringing home an individual gold medal and leading his team to the silver at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba. As a course designer, Danny holds his "I" status with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and designs courses at many of North America's top show jumping events.

Bringing in some of the best course designers in the world is imperative for HITS, Inc. With more than $1 Million in prize money being distributed this year to the Open Jumper division, HITS is committed to making the Saugerties shows the summer destination for show jumpers.

"Course Designers are a critical part of our annual planning," said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, Inc. "We wanted to mix in some new faces this season to add some variety and really challenge the exhibitors. We are focused on improving our high-performance product this year and with talent like Petersen, Hernandez, Jorge, Cabral, and Foster, we are sure to be in for some great courses and, I'm sure, some surprises."

The Open Jumper Division will consist of four Open Jumper classes each week, including a $10,000 Open Welcome, $5,000 Open Speed, and two Grand Prix events, held each Friday and Sunday. The Friday class will offer $25,000 each week, while the Sunday class will offer increasing prize money of $50,000, $75,000 and $125,000 during each three-week series.

The HITS Spring and Summer Show Series prize list is available online. Entries for the summer competition (starting with Week IV) are due on June 17, so please visit http://www.HitsShows.com for more information and to reserve your spot today.

Prize List Information:

Prize List: http://www.hitsshows.com/pdf/nyprizelist_09.pdf

Schedule: http://www.hitsshows.com/pdf/NYSchedule_09.pdf

Online Feed & Bedding Order: http://www.hitsshows.com/saugerties/nyfeedorder.php

Photo Credit: Olaf Petersen, Sr. will course design during weeks one and five at the 2009 HITS Saugerties shows. Petersen also specifically designed and supplied many of the new, specialty jumps used in Saugerties. Photo 2008 D. Kadlic for HITS, Inc. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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