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HITS Saugerties Spring and Summer Series Receives Input from Own High Performance Committee

Saugerties, NY - April 1, 2009 - The HITS Saugerties Spring and Summer Show Series wants to provide the best experience for its high performance riders. To enable this, HITS put together its own high performance committee led by two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward. The HITS Saugerties High Performance Committee met recently to discuss the many improvements for the HITS-on-the-Hudson facility, to report on possible changes, and to receive feedback from riders. The HITS Saugerties Spring and Summer shows run from May 20-June 7, July 15-August 2, and August 26-September 13.

The first meeting of the HITS Saugerties High Performance Committee was held by conference call in March and was led by HITS President Tom Struzzieri, HITS Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock, and Committee Chair McLain Ward. They were joined by Margie Engle, Jimmy Torano, Kent Farrington, Laura Chapot, Jill Henselwood, Keean White, and a representative for Nona Garson. Todd Minikus and Emil Spadone are also on the committee, but were unable to participate in the call.

The purpose of the high performance committee is to have riders and trainers in the high performance competitions discuss ways to improve the venue and the horse show for those classes.

The first item on the agenda was the discussion of course designers for the grand prix ring, as well as a report on the jumps and course aesthetics that will be used this year. Flora Baptiston, the 2008 Olympic Games course decorator, will be back this year to fill the ample Grand Prix Ring with beautiful islands and interesting jump decorations.

The footing for the Grand Prix Ring and the Grand Prix Schooling Area will be new this year. The footing will be installed in the next six weeks under the supervision of David Steffee.

Ward mentioned, "I think people were interested in the future plans for the footing in Saugerties, and Tom and his group understood that loud and clear. He's taking great steps with the footing." Ward plans to visit the HITS-on-the-Hudson facility in early May once the footing is in place to evaluate it on behalf of the High Performance Committee.

The prize money offered for this year's grand prix classes is some of the best in the nation. 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 Prixs, 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.

Ward said that the increasing levels and prize money for the Sunday grand prix events is something that will benefit horses and riders. He said, "It gives the young horses or young rider a chance to compete at the beginning, and when you get to the end, the higher caliber horses and riders will compete. Tom has made it possible for horses and riders to learn and improve through each three-week series."

Secure Stabling will be required for grand prix horses at HITS Saugerties. Secure Stabling will be in Barn 14, a permanent barn built a few years ago for the specific purpose of secure stabling. The Secure Stabling Barn has its own large, permanent schooling area with direct access to the Grand Prix Ring via its own in-gate. A schooling supervisor will be appointed to observe all scheduled schooling times, and the secure schooling area will be restricted to only those horses in Secure Stabling. Additional details will be available in the Prize List.

Ward believes that the Secure Stabling and supervised schooling for the grand prix exhibitors will help make the grand prix classes special and keep uniformity in rules and regulations. He said, "I think it's a must to have a controlled, equal playing field to have good sport."

The plan for publishing Grand Prix Ring jump orders and start times for each class was also discussed. These jump orders and start times will be posted the night before at the show grounds and online to help exhibitors plan their day better.

To help exhibitors save money this year, HITS Saugerties has reduced their stall rates and eliminated certain fees. A Gold Permanent weekly stall has been discounted to $300 per week, and additionally, discounts are being offered for those who stay at multiple weeks of shows.

A Semi-Circuit stall, which is for those who stay for two weeks at either the Spring or Summer series will cost $270 for a tent stall, a Silver Permanent stall will cost $400, and a Gold Permanent stall will cost $500. If exhibitors stay for all three weeks of either series, it will cost $270 in the Tent, $500 in Silver Permanent, and $600 in Gold Permanent.

Some class fees will be lowered for 2009, and the jumper nominating fee, which will only apply to the Level 5 Jumpers or higher, has been lowered to $100. There will be no separate nominating fee for the grand prix classes. Giving trainers and riders some flexibility in choice, a horse showing in otherwise non-nominated classes may move up to show in one (1) Level 5 Jumper Class without having to pay the nominating fee. All of the HITS Saugerties High Performance Committee members were very receptive to this reduction in rates and fees.

"It's a remarkable step," Ward acknowledged. "Tom and his group are the first ones to really take action about lowering the cost of competing, and it needs to be supported. We're trying to get the word out to our own community through this committee. It's a great facility and there's no reason why it shouldn't be a great place to show in the summer."

More updates about the HITS Saugerties Spring and Summer Show Series will be announced soon, and the prize list will be available soon as well. Please visit http://www.HitsShows.com for more information.

 

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