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Second-Half success! HITS Thermal wraps up Desert Circuit IV

THERMAL, CA (February 24, 2009)—The second half of the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit kicked off last week with Desert Circuit IV, drawing rave reviews from exhibitors as it concluded the first of five consecutive weeks of show jumping at HITS Desert Horse Park, in Thermal, California.

Trainer Jeff Katz of Los Angeles, California, has been making the trip to the Desert Circuit every year for more than a decade. "The one thing that I have noticed this year is that everyone has been so helpful," said Katz. "Everyone in the office and at the back gate has been so polite and has really bent over backwards to help out."

"I love how there is so much room to ride on the show grounds," said exhibitor Mary Slouka. "The facility is so much bigger than the old show grounds in Indio and I love that I can find a quiet place to ride no matter how busy the show gets."

Slouka rides with John Bragg and has had a successful run in the Desert this winter. Riding her main mount Cunningham, she captured three SmartPak Mid-Circuit Championships.

Leading Lady

Ashlee Bond and Little Valley Farm's Cadett 7 captured the blue in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on Thursday and the $50,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan on Saturday night to conclude a great week.

Bond is just 23 and is in the lead for the Catena Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider Award. The leading female Grand Prix rider on the HITS Desert Circuit will receive a timepiece from Catena, USA, with 29 hand-cut diamonds on the bezel and a white mother-of-pearl dial with 12 diamonds on the dial of the watch.

The presentation of this prestigious award will take place at the conclusion of Desert Circuit VIII on Sunday, March 22

United States Equestrian Team raises more than $28,000

On Friday night, the USET raised more than $28,000 during its fundraiser that was held in the indoor arena. Guests of honor were Team USA Chef d' Equipe George Morris and Olympic Gold Medalist Will Simpson.

The evening included a fabulous dinner, Calcutta, live auction of USET memorabilia, a $5,000 Six-Bar competition and the $1,000 Modified Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, all under the lights in the spacious indoor arena at HITS Desert Horse Park.

The crown-jewel of the silent auction was a USET Tack Trunk that was used by some of the top equestrians in the country during the 1960's and 1970's. The trunk was autographed by Morris and Simpson. Josie Cassens placed the winning bid on this unique item.

Jill Humphrey won the $5,000 Six-Bar class aboard Leone Equestrian's Cape Fear, and the blue in the $1,000 Modified Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic went to Jacqueline Colborne who piloted Marilyn Dawson-Dixon's Peninsula Chinkara to the win.

"We are thrilled with the support that we received from the West Coast," said Bonnie Jenkins, Executive Director of USET. "Everyone pulled together for a great cause."

Show-jumping action at the HITS Desert Circuit is underway with Desert Circuit V and features the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday and the $5,000 Children's/Adult Hunter Classic.

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: ©Flying Horse Photography

Photo Caption: Ashlee Bond is on course during the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on Thursday.


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