Saugerties, NY (June 30, 2008)– Thousands of exhibitors flocked to upstate New York for three exciting weeks of competition in the beautiful Hudson Valley for the HITS Saugerties Spring Circuit from Wednesday, May 28 to Sunday, June 15.
Aside from boasting six Grand Prix classes, the HITS Saugerties Spring Circuit offered more than 250 different classes each week, and approximately a half a million dollars in prize money. "The horse show offers a lot of different divisions for our customers, especially the adult novices," said Monty Kelly of Stepping Stone Farm. "And, even though there are a lot of horses here, there is plenty of room on the show grounds and it doesn't feel like we are on top of each other."
The spring circuit featured many facility enhancements including jumps from Olaf Petersen, similar to what was used at HITS Ocala and brand-new temporary stalls and tents. "I am a big HITS fan. I go to all their shows and a big reason for that is the way they treat my clients and me," said Emil Spadone of Redfield Farm. "The new jumps in the hunter and jumper rings are great and I love the flowers."
"The new tents are the biggest improvement on the show grounds. They're clean and very airy for the horses," said trainer Mark Jungherr.
"It's my favorite horse show of the year!" added Grand Prix rider Shaine Brooks.
Grand Prix Galore
The order-of-go for the Grand Prix classes was like a who's-who of the show jumping world as HITS Saugerties saw some of the top equestrians in the universe pass through the in-gate. Topping the list were former members of the United States Olympic Team McLain Ward, Margie Engle, Nona Garson and Todd Minikus. International Olympians Federico Sztyrle, Kevin Babington and Manuel Torres also competed in the featured classes at HITS-on-the-Hudson.
Kicking things off was Stepping Stone Farm's Amy Momrow of Loudonville, New York and her mount Summer Storm. They stole the show at the first $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix of the season. Then, Hillary Dobbs rolled into town. Fresh off an impressive run at Devon, Dobbs and Corlette cruised to victory in the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix to close out Week I. During Week II, Miranda Fischer and Hot Wheels captured the $25,000 Ariat Grand Pr ix. Fischer trains with accomplished rider Darragh Kerins. As it turned out, Kerins went on to take first place later in the week aboard Night Train during the $50,000 Waldorf=Astoria Collection Grand Prix.
Week III was all about Todd Minikus, as he took home the blue ribbons in both the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix and the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix. First, Minikus and Ultimo Van Der Moude beat out 38 other pairs in the Ariat Grand Prix, then on Father's Day, Minikus and his mount Presidente took first in the star-studded field.
New York City's Isabel Ryan headlines a list of Champions!
The Overall and Reserve Circuit Champions in 68 divisions were awarded during a special Parade of Champions celebration in the Grand Prix ring at HITS-on-the-Hudson to cap off three exciting weeks of competition.
It was New York City's Isabel Ryan who stole the show as she was awarded the Short Stirrup Hunter Circuit Championship and the Short Stirrup Equitation Circuit Championship aboard her mount Dot Com.
Ryan, who rides at Southampton Riding Club under trainer Bobby Ginsberg, will look to use the points she earned this spring en route to being named an Overall Circuit Champion during HITS-on-the-Hudson VII.
For a complete list of circuit champions, click here.
Get out and have some fun!
The social calendar during the HITS Saugerties Spring Circuit was filled with great activities outside of the show ring. During HITS-on-the-Hudson I, exhibitors had fun events to chose from including an exhibitor welcome at local Hot Spot Stella's Station, a special Spa Day, courtesy of River Rock Health Spa and a Fashion Show, sponsored by the trendy Saugerties boutique DIG.
HITS-on-the-Hudson II also featured several fun out-of-ring activities, including a Guitar Hero exhibitor mixer, the popular Taste of HITS-on-the-Hudson, a HITS night at the local Puttin' Plus amusement park and the highlight of the weekend, the Big Brown Belmont Bash party where several hundred competitors gathered at the HITS Bar and Grill to watch the running of the last leg of the Triple Crown at the Belmont Race Track.
The party continued into the third and final week with the Canine Affair dog costume party, sponsored by Purina Mills where almost two dozen dogs dressed up in outrageous outfits. On Saturday, the streets in the village of Saugerties were closed to traffic for the HITS Saugerties Block Party that featured an outdoor concert by the band Powerhouse. Finally, on Sunday it was Purina Mills Kids Day that took the stage to wrap-up an action-packed weekend in the Hudson Valley
See you in the summer!
The HITS Saugerties Summer Series of horse shows is right around the corner with the first of three consecutive weeks of show jumping set to begin on Wednesday, July 23. Between HITS-on-the-Hudson V and HITS-on-the-Hudson VI, HITS Saugerties will once again host the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships for the East Coast on August 5 and 6. Then on Thursday, August 7 HITS will host two new events, the $5,000 Pony Commotion Hunter Classic and the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Prize lists are available online
As always, the HITS Saugerties Summer Circuit will feature two Grand Prix classes each week. On Thursdays, the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix will take center stage and then on Sunday, riders can take aim at the $50,000 Grand Prix, which will be sponsored by Strongid® C 2X and In the Woods Log Homes during the summer. Every Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties is a qualifier for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational, which will take place on Sunday, September 28 at HITS Culpeper.
The HITS Saugerties summer series of horse shows will feature a bunch of fun special events. Highlighting the list of events is the popular Central Equine Relay. The event will take place on Friday, August 8 and will feature teams of three riders competing in a Nation's Cup-style class.
Also on the agenda is the second annual Equine Art Gala & Exhibitor Mixer and an Equestrian Idol competition. For a complete list of special events this summer, click here.
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: © 2008 Lili Weik Photography; Hillary Dobbs and Corlette win the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/hits-saugerties-spring-circuit-07-08.html">HITS Saugerties wraps up a fantastic spring circuit</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com