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HITS welcomes exhibitors from all over the world for the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit

THERMAL, CA (January 20, 2009)—Exhibitors who made their way to the desert for the start of the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit will be treated to a perfect week of Southern California weather and an exciting week of equestrian competition starting today at the HITS Desert Horse Park, in Thermal, California.

All of the show rings will be action-packed for the next eight weeks as junior, amateur and professional riders start off a new year of competition. Some will be riding new mounts purchased in the fall, while others will be showing seasoned veterans. Some are hoping for a Grand Prix victory, while others are gunning for a blue ribbon in the pony hunters. Regardless of the goal, HITS Thermal is the perfect place to gain valuable experience and to compete among and against some of the country’s top horses and riders.

Riders have high standards to uphold as they set out for another year on the circuit. Professional rider John French, of Waldenbrook Farm, returns to HITS Thermal with high hopes after being the 2008 HITS Grand Circuit Champion in four hunter divisions and the big winner in the second $10,000 USHJA Hunter Derby aboard Tache Rouge.

French has arrived at the HITS Desert Horse Park with 27 horses and will be staying for the entire circuit. He will have little time to rest between showing Moreno, Cruise and Winter in the first-year hunters and four additional horses in the second-year division.

“The First-Year Green Hunter is the most exciting and highly competitive division,” said French. “I am also looking forward to the Hunter Derby in the Grand Prix ring. It is a great ring to ride in and we have some great horses here.”

Riders have come from far and wide to compete on the stunning show grounds of the HITS Desert Horse Park. Canadian competitors have left the harsh winter weather behind to compete in the California sunshine for the next few months.

Some of these riders include show jumping veterans Georgann Gregory, who runs Blenheim Stables in Vancouver, British Columbia and Liz Ashton from Victoria, British Columbia. Many have also commuted from various parts of Washington and Oregon in order to reap the benefits that the HITS Desert Circuit has to offer.

Jeff and Shelley Campf run Oz Incorporated in Canby, Oregon and have made the journey to the desert with 13 horses. “I think all 13 horses will be competitive. We have three bonafide Grand Prix horses, including London that Jeff will ride.” said Shelley Campf.

London is just eight years old and has competed in two World Cup classes and has shown a lot of promise. Another rider from Oz Incorporated to watch is Jackie Fleckenstein. She will be showing Jet Set and has already had great success with this mount.

“I love coming to Thermal because they are always upgrading the facility and everyone is so welcoming and friendly,” added Shelley Campf.

Show jumping at HITS Thermal kicks off on Tuesday, January 20 with Desert Circuit I and will feature a full slate of classes during the week, including the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix and the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix on Sunday, January 25.

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: © C. Mayone for HITS, Inc.; Hunter rider John French joked and said he was preparing for the Hunter Derby as he hacked around in the Grand Prix ring at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California during the season's opening week.


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