SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (May 16, 2008) – The HITS Saugerties Spring Series of horse shows are right around the corner and, as always, will feature the season's most diverse hunter-jumper schedule offered in the country for three consecutive weeks beginning on Wednesday, May 28.
Each week HITS Saugerties features nearly 80 different divisions with more than 250 classes offered to riders of every level from beginner to high-performance. This season HITS is pleased to debut an all-new Local Hunter division. This new 2'6" division is open to horses stabled within a 50-mile radius of the HITS-on-the-Hudson facility in Saugerties, New York.
"The new division provides a unique opportunity for those who live locally to compete against their peers at an A-rated show," said Show Manager Kristen Vale. "This year, more than ever, the Hunters will have plenty of opportunities to show their stuff."
One of the most popular up-and-coming Hunter classes is the $500 Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic. The two-round classic will be offered every week and the fences will be set at 2'6". The Classic is open to Junior and Amateur riders who are not showing in a rated hunter division.
"The new Bit O' Straw Classic is proving to be a popular, well sought-out division at our Marshall & Sterling League member events," said League Representative Patti Guerriero. "With a 2'6" fence height for juniors and amateurs, this is the perfect division for those not quite ready for the 3' hunters. It gives goal-oriented riders a chance to compete year round for a chance to qualify for the National Finals in September."
Also returning to the weekly schedule are the popular Adequan Hunter, M&S Children's Hunter Classic and the M&S Adult Hunter Classic.
"We love showing in the Adequan division," said Glen View's Troy Hendricks. "[With the fences set at 3' 5"], it's great for the horses that are still a little green and serves as a good stepping stone for the horses that are looking to move up."
"The classes [are held] in the Main Hunter ring and that's always fun too," added Hendricks. "It's a great big ring and we love to show off our hunters in there."
The jumper rings at HITS-on-the-Hudson will also be hopping this spring. Grand Prix riders Todd Minikus, McLain Ward, Jeffrey Welles and Margie Engle have each been short-listed for the 2008 Summer Olympics and plan to come to HITS Saugerties this spring.
The fearsome foursome will join some of the top equestrians in the country as they duel it out for the top prize in two Grand Prix classes each week. On Thursday, 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 EMO, Waldorf=Astoria Collection and Purina Mills during the spring shows. 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 in Culpeper, Virginia.
"There is a lot of prize money up for grabs," said Minikus, a regular competitor at HITS Saugerties. "The level of competition in Saugerties will get me ready for the Olympics if I am fortunate enough to qualify."
Some other weekly jumper events featured include the M&S Pony Jumper Classic and the $5,000 Brook Ledge Friday Class. During HITS-on-the-Hudson III, the $10,000 JR/A-O Jumper Low Classic and $25,000 JR/A-O Jumper High Classic will highlight the final day of competition in the spring on Sunday, June 15.
"HITS Saugerties has something for all of my clients," said Knightsbridge trainer Mary Babick. "The horse show allows my higher-level clients to earn points and get our horses qualified for year-end finals, while at the same time our riders who are just starting out can experience a high-level show with great footing!"
Speaking of Footing!
Footing similar to the well-received material that was used during HITS' winter circuits in Ocala and Thermal highlight this season's list of facility enhancements at HITS-on-the-Hudson. In addition, HITS has just completed installing more than 33,000 feet (over six miles) of drainage in many of the rings.
Another significant upgrade for this season is new temporary stabling. HITS will be debuting 800 portable stalls and seven new tents which, combined with gold and silver permanent stabling, gives Saugerties a total of 2,000 available stalls. The new temporary stalls are constructed of wood and steel dividers and are similar to structures used in permanent stabling.
Exhibitors will also enjoy new jumps from Olaf Petersen, which debuted at HITS Ocala this past winter. In addition, HITS Ocala's course decorator, Flora Baptiston, will bring her majestic decorating abilities to the rings at HITS Saugerties, making the courses more elegant.
See you in the Summer
When the spring series of horse shows is complete, HITS Saugerties then takes a short hiatus before returning on July 23 for three more weeks of world-class show jumping. During the summer series of shows, HITS Saugerties will once again host the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships for the East Coast, August 4 - 6. In addition, on Thursday, August 7 HITS will premiere two new events, the $5,000 Pony Commotion Hunter Classic and the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
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
2008 HITS Saugerties Dates
May 28 – June 1
July 30 – August 3
USEF JUNIOR HUNTER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – EAST COAST
NY HORSE & PONY SHOW (VI)
PHOTO: ©Lili Weik Photography; Jenny Fischer clears a jump in the Adequan Hunter Division at HITS Saugerties in 2007.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/hits-saugerties-spring-horse-may-05-08.html">HITS Saugerties Spring Series of Horse Shows Returns on May 28 and features something for Everyone</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com