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A Hit on the Hudson! HITS Saugerties is off to a jumping start

SAUGERTIES, NY (May 26, 2009)—The 2009 HITS Saugerties Series of Horse Shows kicked off last week at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York and drew glowing reviews in every area, from the footing to the flowers, as exhibitors enjoyed a full week of world-class show jumping in the historic Hudson Valley.

"The footing in the Grand Prix Ring is excellent,” said two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner McLain Ward. “The riders are really excited about all of the improvements made here this year.”

“The horses are jumping great on the new footing in the Hunter Rings,” said Ralph Caristo. “When people come to Saugerties this spring and summer they are going to be pleased."

The rings and jumps feature beautiful decorations designed by Flora Baptiston. Baptiston was the course decorator for the 2008 Summer Olympics and has brought her unique touch to HITS-on-the-Hudson.

Stepping up to the Plate

Led by Amy Momrow, exhibitors from Stepping Stone Farm had quite the week. Momrow captured the Championship in both the Low Hunter and Pre-Green Hunter Divisions aboard Deborah Brenner's Star Quest's Serenade. In the Baby Green Hunters, she piloted Monty Kelly's Wolfgang to a Championship.

In the Jumper Rings, long-time Stepping Stone Farm client Danielle Diachuk rode Tu Si Pazzo to the blue in the $10,000 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic and Hannah Maloy rode Shaine Brooks' Main Course to the top prize in the $5,000 Junior Jumper Low Classic.

In other action, Carol Stillwell threw a one-two punch in the $500 Bit O'Straw Hunter Classic. The New Jersey native was first aboard Nadia and second riding Billy Elliot.

"It was really gratifying for Carol to have a personal reward of winning because she spends so much of her time worrying about others," said trainer Bill Ellis, of Four Winds Farm. "Nadia is a recent purchase for Carol and she shows in the First-Year Green Division with David Connors."

Golden Performance

Two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner McLain Ward captured the blue aboard Sagamore Farm's Phillipa in the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix to conclude the week for High-Performance Riders. The Grand Prix victory was the second of the week for Ward and Phillipa as they won Friday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix.

The Grand Prix classes featured four present and past members of the United States Olympic Team. The star-studded fields boasted Ward, Chris Kappler, Margie Engle and Leslie Burr Howard.

All Grand Prix events at HITS Saugerties this summer are qualifiers for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix held on Sunday, September 27 at HITS Culpeper in Culpeper, Virginia. The top 30 rider/horse pairs, who are members of the Marshall & Sterling League will earn a spot in this prestigious annual Grand Prix. The first week of Grand Prix action at HITS Saugerties helped Ward, Engle, Kappler and Burr Howard break into this year's Top 30 USPGL Rankings, where super star Tracy Magness still holds a comfortable lead at the top.

HITS-on-the-Hudson Classic Car Showcase Highlights Out-of-Ring Activities for HITS-on-the-Hudson I

Exhibitors at HITS Saugerties got a special treat on Saturday when classic cars rolled into the show grounds for the second-annual HITS-on-the-Hudson Classic Car Showcase. Cars were on display from mid-morning until the end of competition in the Grand Prix Ring. Kevin Hinchey of Saugerties, New York took home the HITS Horse Power Champion Trophy thanks to his impeccable 1966 Chevy Chevelle SS, while Ernie and Erika Steubesand's 1962 Lotus Super 7 earned the HITS Horse Power Reserve Champion ribbon. The Steubesands are from Rhinebeck, New York and were return participants from last year's event.

HITS-on-the-Hudson Annual Circuit Award chase is underway

Each year, HITS Saugerties crowns its spring and summer Circuit Champions. Exhibitors are off and jumping on their way to earning those precious points for Circuit Champions. Spring Champions will be awarded a special bridle bag courtesy of SmartPak and will have the opportunity to participate in the Parade of Champions which will take place on Sunday, June 7 prior to the $125,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix as part of the Spring Finale Weekend at HITS Saugerties, which will aslo feature the annual Purina Mills Kids Day and Canine Costume Party. To check out the spring circuit standings, click here.

Show jumping at HITS Saugerties will continue on Wednesday, May 27 with HITS-on-the-Hudson II. Highlighting the week for High-Performance Riders will be the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on Friday and the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday.

For exhibitors still looking to make lodging plans, HITS Official Hotel Partners still have availability. Please click here to view the hotels.

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.

Photo Credit: ©Lisa Engel for HITS, Inc.

Photo Caption: Ernie and Ericka Steubesand and their granddaughter, Danielle Amidon, of Rhinebeck, New York earned the second-place prize in Saturday's classic car show. Tony Hitchcock of HITS presents them with the Reserve Champion ribbon.


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