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John French pilots Rumba and Small Affair to the Rainbow Canyon Ranch High-Score Hunter Award

THERMAL, CA (March 10, 2009)—HITS crowned its winner in the Rainbow Canyon Ranch High-Score Hunter Award when John French rode two horses, Mountain Home Stables' Rumba and Liz Reilly's Small Affair to a tie for the triumph at the HITS Desert Horse Park, in Thermal, California.

The Rainbow Canyon Ranch High-Score Hunter Award for the highest announced score in Hunter 1 and Hunter 2 was presented to Rumba and Small Affair during Sunday's Parade of Champions in the Grand Prix Ring. French had the high scores for the week when he was awarded an 89 aboard Small Affair in the first-year division and Rumba in the second-year division.

French has had quite a circuit in the Desert this year winning countless classes and championships, as well as the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during Desert Circuit III.

"I have had the privilege to ride some great horses this circuit," said French. "I would also like to thank Mary Gatti and Rainbow Canyon Ranch for sponsoring this special award. I am very proud to have won it."

"John is a great friend and he really deserved to win it," said Gatti. "He rides so many horses over the course of the entire circuit and my hat is off to him."

Central Equine Relay & Exhibitor Party rocks the indoor arena

On Friday night, eight teams of three riders each competed in a Nations-Cup Style class when the Central Equine Relay took the stage. The exciting class all came down to the last team of riders, when Cara Eng sealed the deal for the Fox Riders team to win the class.

Eng and Charlotte held the anchor spot for her squad and needed to come home fast and clean to score the blue. That's exactly what she did, stopping the clock in 41.224 as she propelled her team to the victory. Members of the Fox Riders included Jennifer Parker, who posted a clean effort aboard Excalibur 3 in 38.179 and Elena Townsend, who also came home clean in 36.097 aboard Vivaldi.

During the exciting class, ViaGen, hosted a special exhibitor party and provided a very educational demonstration about cloning. ViaGen enables livestock owners to preserve and multiply their best genetics through gene banking and cloning services. Mark Watring was their special guest for the educational demonstration. Watring, who won an Individual Gold Medal in the Pan American Games in 2003 aboard Sapphire, is currently cloning his mount with ViaGen.

"I think it’s the wave of the future," said Watring. "As a life-long horseman, I truly encourage all of my fellow exhibitors to learn more about this procedure."

ViaGen was founded in Austin, Texas, in January 2002 to provide commercial bovine, equine, and porcine gene banking, cloning, and gnomic services. Currently, ViaGen is recognized as the global leader in commercial animal gene banking and cloning services.

Ashlee’s Platinum Performance

On Saturday night, Ashlee Bond and Little Valley Farm's Cadett 7 won the $50,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan, to secure a trip to the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas. The win was the fourth for the duo on the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit and their second triumph in an FEI World Cup Qualifier at HITS Thermal.

After the class, Bond was crowned the Platinum Performance Leading World Cup Qualifier Rider at the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit and will receive a one-year supply of Platinum Performance equestrian supplements.

Also excelling in the jumper ring was the HITS Desert Circuit's all-time leading money winner Richard Spooner who won the $15,000 PCHA Jimmy Williams Jumper Classic, sponsored by BergdorfGoodman.com aboard C&S Partnership's Conquest of Paradiso.

The $15,000 PCHA Jimmy Williams Jumper Classic, sponsored by BergdorfGoodman.com was the crown-jewel of the jumper schedule on Sunday and featured some of the top equestrians on the West Coast riding the next wave of up-and-coming Grand Prix horses. Aside from Spooner, top equestrians such as Bond and Guy Thomas also finished in the money in the highly-contested class.

What’s on Tap

Show-jumping action at the HITS Desert Circuit is underway with Desert Circuit VII and features a full week of divisions and classes, including Friday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix and Sunday's $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

The two Grand Prix classes this week will serve as the final warm-up for the $150,000 Grand Prix of the Desert on Sunday, March 22. Expected to compete in the grand finale of the circuit are Olympians Will Simpson and Jill Henselwood (Canada). Joining them will be Richard Spooner, Ashlee Bond, Rich Fellers and a host of other Grand Prix riders.

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: John French and Rumba.

 

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