Saugerties, NY (August 16, 2008) – The HITS Saugerties Summer Series was "home of the hunters" as the popular circuit featured the the USEF East Coast Junior Hunter National Championships for the fourth consecutive year. HITS also sweetened the pot this year adding the all-new $5,000 Pony Commotion Hunter Classic to the mix, as well as the North East debut of the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions USHJA International Hunter Derby, all in one fabulous week to close out the three-week summer circuit.
Jennifer Waxman rode her mount Red Panda to the Grand Championship at the 2008 East Coast USEF Junior Hunter Championship, while the reserve honors went to North Country, who had Johanna Hyyppa in the irons.
University of Indiana-bound Annie Wang rode her mount Olivander to a special victory in the $5,000 Pony Commotion under the watchful eye of trainer Donna Pace. Hours later, one of trainer Val Reinihan's prize students, Julia Weiss, shocked the hunter world winning the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions USHJA International Hunter Derby aboard Schubert, who is owned by Redfield Farms.
“I really enjoy having the Junior Hunter Finals in Saugerties,” said Reinihan. "It was a great event for some of my kids and we were delighted to be a part of it.”
The most decorated Grand Prix rider in America, Margie Engle, continued her dominance inside the Grand Prix ring at HITS Saugerties winning half of the featured classes during the summer circuit and finished with a total of eight horses in the money during her stay in the Hudson Valley.
Her two young mares, Hidden Creek's Coroya Z and Hidden Creek's Pamina L seem to be maturing quite nicely for the former Olympian as she now has over 180 career Grand Prix wins. Engle was not the only Grand Prix rider with Olympic ties to excel at HITS Saugerties. Former Olympian Todd Minikus rode Presidente to the blue in the $50,000 In the Woods Log Homes Grand Prix and Laura Chapot, daughter of former Gold medalists Frank and Mary Chapot, outlasted the field in the $50,000 Strongid® C 2XTM Grand Prix, presented by Brook Ledge aboard her mount Church Road.
Former Olympian Norman Dello Joio also made a stop at HITS Saugerties this year before heading to Hong Kong to coach some friends in search of Olympic medals. "The jumps in the Grand Prix ring are interesting," he said. "It gives much more variety to the horses. The new footing was very usable and the new decorations are also appreciated." Dello Joio's student Cortie Wetherill and mount Equinox captured the final $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix of the summer.
In all, HITS-on-the-Hudson was host to four Olympic-bound equestrians. Earlier this spring, Olympic Course Designer Flora Baptiston made a stop at HITS Saugerties to decorate courses, while McLain Ward, who was named a member of the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team along with Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden and Will Simpson, was in Saugerties with some of his younger horses before he left for the European Qualifiers. Olympic Course Designer and 2008 FEI Technical Delegate Olaf Petersen was the course designer for the first week of the HITS Summer Series.
"Since HITS Saugerties started, it has been one of my favorite shows, especially since I can work with the fences that we designed in Germany specifically for HITS," said Petersen. "Additionally, this year, the flower decorations are more beautiful then ever before, and the Grand Prix ring looks – despite the rain we had – very colorful and attractive. I enjoy the show, and I enjoy meeting my good friends in Saugerties every year." When asked for a his thoughts about the Olympics, Petersen predicted a great jump-off between Germany and the United States.
Fun in Saugerties!
The social calendar during the HITS Saugerties Summer Circuit was filled with great activities outside of the show ring. During week IV, classic cars rolled into HITS Saugerties for its inaugural HITS-on-the-Hudson Classic Car Showcase and delighted the exhibitors, including Monty Kelly of Stepping Stone Farms.
"Our customers loved it," said Kelly. "It gave them one more thing to do on the show grounds. I thought it was a unique idea and all the cars that lined the berm of the Grand Prix ring made it look extra classy."
HITS-on-the-Hudson IV was packed with excitement as the second-annual HITS Saugerties Equine Art Gala and Exhibitor Mixer also took the stage. Ric Orlando's New World Home Cooking Co. was the perfect site for the wonderful evening of fine art and fine food and featured the work of artists Gretchen Almy, Mary Bridgman, Jean Campbell, Maria D'Angelo, Phyllis Frazier, Jean Haines, Juliet Harrison, Lenny Marks , Deborah O'Sullivan, Karin Ruoff, JoAnne Sullam, Kristen Vetterl and Barbara Widmann.
HITS-on-the-Hudson also featured the second-annual Equestrian Idol competition. More than a dozen acts performed before judges Emil Spadone, Don Stewart and Susie Schoellkopf. When all the votes were tallied, the three veteran trainers crowned Jennifer White the 2008 HITS Equestrian Idol. White, who rides in the adult jumpers with trainer Cynthia Williams of New England Farm performed, "I Will Survive" to win the title and a $50 gift certificate donated by Kocher Tack.
Ronnie Anderson, now the assistant trainer at Don Stewart Stables, has traveled the world and was also enjoying her summer in Saugerties. "I really love it here. The town is charming and the restaurants are great. Saugerties also has some fun places to go shopping at night," said Anderson.
"When it comes to the show, it seems like HITS has made every effort to make this venue special and fun. We have a lot of kids here and, thanks to the variety of the schedule, they are all able to keep pretty busy in the ring during the day. Plus, the restaurant on-site is the best at a horse show that I have seen in the United States. There is a Starbucks on the show grounds and the menu in the restaurant is filled with quality and variety. At the end of the day, it’s nice to go into the bar on the grounds and socialize. "
One more chance!
Exhibitors have one more chance to experience some fine show jumping at HITS Saugerties. After a short break, HITS will return for HITS-on-the-Hudson VII on Wednesday, September 3 with a full week of classes highlighted by the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix on Thursday and the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday. HITS-on-the-Hudson VII will also feature a special end-of-season exhibitor party on Saturday, September 6.
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:© 2008 Lili Weik Photography; Laura Chapot and Church Road on course during the $50,000 STRONGID® C 2X™ Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/saugerties-hudson-valley-08-08.html">Summertime in Saugerties! Exhibitors enjoy three fun-filled weeks in the Hudson Valley</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com